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How to Pick a Programming Language

June 13th, 2017

A programming language is a special language developers and engineers use to develop software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions for computers to execute. There are various types of programming languages to choose from so it may be frustrating to figure out which one is right for you.

Question yourself

When you are picking a programming language you should ask yourself the following question: am I learning programming to just learn programming or am I learning it to apply the knowledge somewhere else to develop some type of software? If you are just learning programming any popular language should be able to teach you the fundamentals such as operators, variables, for loops, and while loops. On the other hand if you are learning to apply the knowledge somewhere else then it’s a good idea to do research and be selective in what language you choose. Below are some examples.

  • Android Devices: Java, C++, Kotlin
  • iOS Devices: Swift and Objective C
  • Game Development: C#
  • Enterprise Software: Java
  • Web Development: HTML, CSS, Javascript, Angular, Ruby, PHP, and more

Choose a style

If you’ve already done programming before and thinking about learning a different language then pick a language that is completely different. A common thing to do when learning languages is to switch from a statically typed to a dynamically typed language or vice versa. For instance, you can learn about C++ and Python or Java and Ruby. Once you’ve mastered both types of language then it is recommended to learn object-oriented programming fundamentals. After that you can move on functional programming concepts. After all this you should have couple different types of languages and two practical paradigms under your belt.

Foundation over latest & greatest languages

When researching to learn programming languages it can be tempting to learn the latest and greatest language released. For instance when this article was written in 2017 the latest and greatest language would be Kotlin which was recently created by Google for android and iOS devices. It's important to keep in mind that learning programming basics first is better because it can outlast the latest and greatest languages. A strong foundation leaves you with a long term gain because every few years the latest and great language changes; however the foundation never changes. The foundation can be gained from more basic languages that have been around for a long time. After you have a strong foundation it can easier to move on to the next latest and greatest language. Below are some examples of beginner languages.

  • Javascript
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Java
  • C/C++

Read our other Novus blog

If you haven’t already you may want to read over our other blog called on top 3 ways to learn computer science.