What Programming Language Should I Learn First?

I just wanted to write a quick post about my opinion of which programming language new developers should learn first. This question is so common. If you are a new developer, you might be trying to figure this question out right now. For some, this question can turn into a hurdle that they’re never able to jump over. It can be a critical question.

Trust me when I say you aren’t alone. You will see this question asked and answered a lot. In fact, if you do a Google search for what programming language should i learn first? you will get over 7,500,000 results.

Screen shot of Google search result

Obviously there’s an unreadable amount of resources on this topic already. I’m sure I’m not saying anything that anyone else hasn’t said before, but I wanted to add my own opinion here on my blog. Maybe it can help someone that hasn’t seen this information or advice anywhere else.

Choose a language based off of your goals

When it comes to choosing a programming language to learn, I think figuring out a goal and choosing a language based off of that goal is the best way to go. For example, if you are new to programming you may just want to learn for fun, or you might be trying to build something specific for a startup, or maybe you just want to get a good job as a developer. All of these are different goals that will probably lead you to choosing different languages and frameworks to learn based on other variables that may factor in your decision as well.

Learning for fun

If you want to learn for fun, dig a little further and ask yourself what exactly do you think is fun? What would be the most fun thing to create and which language would fit best for that? With learning for fun as a goal, you could probably just end up picking whatever language and platform you wanted, but I would start with thinking of a project that you think would be fun to create and go from there. If you don’t have any ideas for any projects you can always take courses and follow tutorials online that can help you learn programming languages and concepts as well as help you come up with ideas for projects.

Creating a project

If you want to learn how to program so you can build something specific, you can think along the same lines as learning for fun. Ask yourself, what do you want to build and what is the best programming language and/or framework to build it with? More questions can arise from this such as what devices and operating systems will this project be for and need to work on? Will it be a desktop, web, or mobile application? Once those questions are answered, you can research and find a language or learning path that will help you build your project or idea.

Getting a job

If you’re learning to program because you just want to get a job as a developer, then the main thing you may want to consider is your location. Are you planning on moving somewhere specific? Do you want to stay where you live already? If so, it will be your best option to research the area and find out what the most popular programming languages and tools are that companies in the area are using.

You may live in, near, or move to a city with a big tech industry that has a wide amount of options. Or you may be in an area that only has jobs for C++ or Java developers.

You can use job posting sites like Indeed to search for developer jobs and specific languages in your area and see which searches give you the most results and listings. You may also have options to attend meet ups and talk with developers in your area. If you find that you live in an area where a language like JavaScript is the most popular language being used, then it would be an obvious choice to focus on learning JavaScript.

In closing, my main point is to figure out your goals and go from there. Ask questions and research. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or what is the latest and greatest language that’s being used. Figure out one primary goal, get started, and don’t stop until you reach your goal. Ignore everything else.

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