With so many programming languages to choose from, how do you decide which ones to start learning? This is a decision that overwhelms those who are new to programming. Your decision will depend on a couple of factors:
- What problems you’d like to solve or projects you’d like to build with code.
- Which technologies / programming languages the companies you’d like to work for are using.
- Which programming languages are popular where you live.
Before we get to the kind of work you’d like to do as a web developer or software engineer, we are going to address the last two items in the list above. When you choose a path for yourself, it is important to understand:
Technology is Regional
It is, therefore, is important to conduct research to determine which programming languages are popular where you want to work. If your intent is to freelance online, then the decision for which programming language you’ll start with will not carry as much weight since you’ll be able to apply to a number of projects.
We will now consider several popular programming languages, the kinds of projects and tasks they are commonly used for, and the U.S. cities where they are used.
You can start learning Java if you’re interested in developing software or Android apps. These are advanced topics, however, so you’ll start with the basics and gradually build your way up to working on larger projects. Java is also used in web development, but you will need to learn some HTML and CSS as well. There are several good integrated development enviornments for Java, including Net Beans and Eclipse. They have advanced features that can help you run tests and gain an understanding of how the code is executed.
Java is an incredibly popular programming language, so if you are well-versed in Java and can solve open-ended algorithm problems, you will be able to work almost anywhere.
C is a more specialized skill set, but knowing C will serve you well if you wish to work as a biomedical engineer or as a cyber security professional.
A general-purpose programming language, Python can be used for front-end or back-end development. Some companies that use Python include Dropbox, Quora, Google, etc. Python has become an incredibly popular programming language, but since not all companies use it, you will need to do some research to ensure that your skills will be in demand where you live.
Other Programming Languages to Consider:
These are not the only programming languages you can start with. Others include:
- PHP: a back-end programming language that runs on a server. If you want to be a freelance WordPress developer, then PHP is a great language to learn.
- Ruby: popular with start-ups (but losing some popularity as of 2017)
- C++: versatile enough to build software, video editors, games, and more
- C#: allows you to build applications on the Microsoft .NET framework
No matter which programming language you start with, be sure to do your research. You don’t want to spend 2-3 years learning Ruby on Rails, only to find it’s not a popular programming language where you live and would like to work. It is also important to stick with one programming language, at least when you’re starting out. In a future post, we will explore some excellent sources where you can learn a new language. It is important to invest in a quality program, book or course to ensure you’re learning the important aspects of the language.
If you are having trouble getting started, please feel free to leave a comment. I am happy to help you get started and make sure you are on a path to become a successful developer!