Choosing the right Programming Language for You

Once you figure out why you want to code, you can more easily pinpoint which programming language you would like to tackle first. While there is no single valid programming language to learn, some languages are more user-friendly than others. HTML and CSS are considered the easiest entry points in the coding world, but they are only really useful for developing basic websites.

For more interactive websites requiring payment systems or databases, you’ll need to know Javascript, PHP, SQL, and Python to make all the components sing. Mobile app makers use Swift or C to make iOS apps, and Java or Kotlin for Android apps. Video game developers will turn to Unity, or even C#, to bring their game concepts to life.

Above all else, just get started learning something to ease yourself into the whole system. Once you become comfortable with one programming language, you’ll be able to pick up the next one that much faster.

If you're looking to go beyond one specific project or specialty, though, or want to learn a bunch of languages, it's best to start with learning the basic concepts of programming and how to "think like a coder." That way, no matter what your first programming language, you can apply those skills towards learning a new one.

Most of the "mainstream" programming languages like C, Java, C#, Perl, Ruby, and Python, can do the same tasks, or close as the others. 

Java: A Practical Language to Learn

Java is the second most popular programming language, and it's the language taught in Stanford's renowned. Java enforces solid Object Oriented principles (OOP) that are used in modern languages including C++, Perl, Python, and PHP. Once you've learned Java, you can learn other OOP languages pretty easily.

Java has the advantage of a long history of usage. It's been taught for decades, and it's widely used for many purposes, including Android app development, so it's a very practical language to learn. You won't get machine-level control, as you would with C, but you'll be able to access/manipulate the most important computer parts like the filesystem, graphics, and sound for any fairly sophisticated and modern program that can run on any operating system.

Python: Fun and Light to Learn

Many people recommend Python as the best beginner language because of its simplicity yet great capacities. The code is easy to read and enforces good programming style, without being overly strict about grammar.

JavaScript: Straight to Building Websites

JavaScript requires the least amount of set up to get started with since it's already built into web browsers. You can start with JavaScript because it has a relatively forgiving syntax (you can code loosely in JavaScript), you see immediate results from your code, and you don't need a lot of tools. If you want to make cool interactive things for the web, JavaScript is a must-have skill.

Various programming choices to consider:

Back-end/Server-side Programmer: Usually uses either: Python, Ruby, PHP, Java or .Net. Has database knowledge. Possibly has some sysadmin knowledge.

Front-end/Client-side Programmer: HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Possibly has design skill.

Mobile Programmer: Objective-C or Java (for Android). HTML/CSS for mobile websites. Potentially has server-side knowledge.

3D Programmer/Game Programmer: C/C++, OpenGL, Animation. Possibly has good artistic skills.

High-Performance Programmer: C/C++, Java. May have a background in mathematics or quantitative analysis.

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