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Kirill Yurovskiy: Picking Your First Programming Language


So you’ve decided to learn to code – welcome to the world of programming! Get ready to join the ranks of the ones and zeros, the digerati who shape the digital world around us. But where to start? With hundreds of programming languages out there, picking your first can feel more daunting than trying to decipher the Matrix code itself.

Never fear, we’re here to guide you through making this crucial choice. After all, your first programming language is like a cosmic anchor – where you plant your flag will shape your trajectory through the vast universe of code. Make the wrong choice, and you could find yourself lost in an infinite loop of frustration. But pick wisely, and you’ll be scripting your way across the digital frontier in no time.

Let’s break it down into a few key factors to consider when choosing your first language.

Factor #1: Your Goals

Why exactly are you looking to code in the first place? Wanting to build websites and web apps? Hoping to create games or mobile apps? Or just looking to dip your toes into the waters of coding for fun? Your overarching goals should be the North Star guiding your language choice.

If website and web development are your passion, then front-end languages like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS should top your list. These are the building blocks of the internet as we know it. For aspiring app developers, languages like Java, Swift (for iOS), or Kotlin (for Android) are smart choices that will have you coding addictive apps faster than you can say “just one more level.”

But if you’re not set on any particular coding path yet and just want to get your feet wet, then Python could be your perfect starting point. This general-purpose language is renowned for its simplicity and readable code, making it popular for beginners. Plus, you can use Python for everything from web development to data analysis to scripting.

Factor #2: Your Learning Style

How do you prefer to learn – through theoretical concepts first or by just diving into the practical application? If you’re the type who likes to understand all the fundamentals before writing one line of code, then a language with a strong emphasis on programming principles and computer science theory like Java or C++ could be up your alley.

On the flip side, if you’re more of a learn-by-doing type who wants to start building stuff immediately, then look towards languages that ease you into real-world coding quickly. Python fits that bill with its clean syntax that’s designed to be easy to read and write. Or you could go with Ruby, the language behind the popular Ruby on Rails framework for web apps – its simplicity and usefulness make it very newbie-friendly. You can learn more about Python at this site.

Factor #3: Your Support System

Learning to code can be one colossal mind bend, even for those with ample brainpower. That’s why it’s crucial to pick a language with a strong, supportive community around it – virtual sages and gurus who can guide you when you inevitably get stuck in a hair-pulling loop.

Thankfully, the most popular and in-demand languages tend to have the largest and most active communities behind them. For JavaScript, Python, Java and C++, you’ll find treasure troves of resources like tutorials, Q&A forums, local meetup groups and more to lean on. But even lesser-known but still loved languages like Ruby, Swift and Kotlin have devoted communities ready to lend a helping hand.

Another factor in your support system? A great coding environment and tools. Python’s IDLE, Visual Studio Code for JavaScript, Java’s NetBeans, and Xcode for Swift development are just some examples of robust IDEs (integrated development environments) that can help streamline your coding flow with things like debugging, syntax highlighting, and more.

Factor #4: Market Demand

Let’s be real – chances are high that at some point you’ll want to turn your coding skills into an income stream, whether through freelancing, landing a tech job, or entrepreneurship. So looking at current and projected market demand for various languages can be a smart move when choosing your first.

JavaScript, the OG of the web, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – according to Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey, it remains one of the most popular and utilized languages. Java also continues to have massive industry demand for its applications in mobile development, enterprise software, and more.

Python, with its versatility in data science, scripting, and back-end web services, is another rock solid choice. Its simplicity and flexibility have made it one of the fastest-growing programming languages for the past several years, according to the TIOBE Index.

While more niche, languages like Swift (for iOS development) and Kotlin (for Android) are also wise choices if you dream of creating the next great mobile app. Both are in high demand as Apple and Google’s preferred languages.

Factor #5: Versatility

For some, picking just one programming language to master is about as realistic as learning a single language to communicate across planet Earth. If you’ve got visions of being a multilingual coding polyglot down the line, then choosing a first language that can apply to many domains and use cases makes sense.

Here’s where flexible, general-purpose languages like Python, Java, C++, C#, and JavaScript shine. With these skill sets in your coding arsenal, you can tackle everything from back-end web services and apps to data science and machine learning models to scripting and automation tools to game development.

And thanks to their multi-paradigm nature supporting different programming styles like procedural, object-oriented and functional programming, many of these languages can make it easier to transition to learning subsequent languages down the road.

Bringing It All Together

Ultimately, there’s no one “perfect” language to start with – the right choice depends on weighing all the factors we covered and figuring out which fits your specific goals and learning preferences best.

If we had to recommend a few “best” options for most beginners based on versatility, community support, and market demand, JavaScript, Python and Java would top the list. But if you’ve got a laser focus on mobile apps, Swift for iOS or Kotlin for Android could be more viable first languages.

No matter which path you choose, the most important things are to immerse yourself fully, be patient as you work through the struggles (they’ll come!), and don’t be afraid to pivot if your first language doesn’t stick. The coding world is your oyster – it’s yours to explore and shape.

So get out there and start coding! The future is being written in many different languages and it needs passionate new programmers to craft it. Whether you become the next Linus Torvalds or the pioneer of technology we can’t even conceive of yet, it all starts with that first language. Happy coding!