Choosing your first programming language feels a bit like navigating a labyrinth with 9,000 passageways. Yep, that’s the staggering number of coding languages out there, as reported by the Online Historical Encyclopaedia of Programming Languages. Even if you narrow it down to the 265 languages analyzed by the TIOBE index, it’s still an incredible figure. Perhaps you could whittle that down further to a more digestible top 30, as per the PyPl Ranking? Better, but still it’s like being surrounded by a buffet of choices.
While popularity ratings may rise and fall faster than viral Internet trends, you must ask yourself an important question: “What do I want to do?” Are you drawn to the world of web development, want to create mobile apps, or more inclined towards crafting desktop software? How about delving into the realms of space-age software? Or maybe you fancy diving into the thrilling worlds of AI, data analysis, or game development?
Your choice of programming language should align with your aspirations and the complexity level you’re ready to tackle. Here’s my advice: Blend a healthy dose of self-reflection, research, and self-assessment into your decision-making process. That is, take a methodical approach.
Create for yourself an evaluation survey that will let you answer some of the important questions that go into choosing your first language. What exactly is your goal for learning to program? Is it simply a casual hobby, a way to bust boredom, or a career aspiration?
Rank these factors by importance. If you expect programming to be a crucial part of your job, rate it a 5. If it’s just a neat party trick, maybe a 1 or 2. Investigate which languages are commonly used in your target industries (for example, data analysis doesn’t tend to employ the C language, but Python may be a popular choice for that task).
Consider the factors that are important for you, and include them in your analysis. What are your learning needs and how much time are you able to spend on learning? Include everything that makes sense for you and rate it.
In the end, you’ll come up with a handy survey tool that will guide you on your coding adventure. The language with the highest score will likely be your perfect first choice. Here’s a possible breakdown:
So all you need to do is gather all these factors (or whichever ones are important to you), crunch the numbers, and unveil the winner. The language with the highest score could be your best first step in the world of programming.
Now that you’re familiar with the methodical approach, I’ve prepared an example of what your survey can look like.
(Keep in mind that the scores I’ve assigned are subjective and should be regarded as flexible guidelines rather than rigid rules. The scores are based on my personal experience and knowledge of the industry. It’s crucial that you take into account your own individual circumstances and goals when considering these scores. Even if you find yourself walking the same path as others, always remember that your programming journey is uniquely yours.)
Now, sum up your scores for each language and determine the winner.
Python is frequently praised for being among the easiest languages to learn, because of its comprehensible syntax. It’s an extremely flexible language used for a variety of things, including machine learning, AI, and – of course – back-end web development. It’s a great option for novices with an interest in these topics and lays a solid foundation for studying more difficult languages in the future. Because of Python’s large user base, you have many libraries and frameworks at your fingertips to avoid having to create everything from scratch. Its popular frameworks like Django and Flask will make development a breeze. The easy learning curve makes it possible to begin constructing simple applications faster than with other languages, which can give you the drive to keep studying.
Don’t forget, though, that learning to code isn’t just about picking up a language–it’s mostly about learning how to solve problems, a skill that transfers across any language. So whichever language you choose as your starting point, with persistence and a willingness to tackle challenges head-on, you’re sure to succeed. Programming is a journey, not a destination, they say. Every step you take in learning a new language is a step toward becoming a more proficient problem solver. So, choose your path and start coding!
Read more about LPI’s Web Development Essentials.