Choosing “The Right” Programming Language

Photo by MemeGenerator, edited by me

There are a lot of things aspiring developers need to consider before starting on their venture into a lifelong journey of programming. And the most asked question is... what programming language is the best to start with? Or, what language will get me the dream job I want?

And the answer is, there is no best language. There are certain languages that are more popular and/or beginner friendly, such as Python. This language is a very popular language and has been on a continuous rise. There are so many factors when choosing a program language right for you such as, difficulty, salary, career goals, etc.

Photo by Udacity

As you can see in the table above, it demonstrates the trend in popularity between different languages over the years. The charts that show lower popularity or a downward trend doesn’t necessarily represent its usefulness or strength. Some languages do certain things better, for example, if we look at Javascript. It is used to make web applications, because you are able to create a client-side code, as well as server-side code.
As you can see below, here is a list of some languages based on career goals.

Photo by FullStackAcademy

Before you run off and pick your first language, there is a lot at stake here. It takes hundreds of hours to even be slightly competent with the first programming language that you choose, so consider the following factors:

  • Job market for the language/ Annual salary
  • Difficulty of the language (if it is beginner friendly)
  • Long term prospects for the language
  • The type of projects you can build

Job market for the language:

If we are basing off just the salary, you can see that that Ruby, MATLAB, and Python are the top 3 paid average salary.

But here’s the thing with Javascript… Even though the language has been around for about 2 decades, it only became a serious tool. Big companies like PayPal, Netflix has built their entire web application around Javascript.

Therefore, there are plenty of companies that are hiring Javascript devs, and very versatile in career roles.

Photo by Udacity

Difficulty of the language (if it is beginner friendly):

The difficulty of your first programming language has a big impact on learning and staying motivated. Avoid starting with a language that is way too challenging to learn, and most programmers would agree that high-level scripting languages are relatively easy to learn. Here is a list of 5 beginner friendly languages:

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

Long term prospects for the language

As shown below, the average Javascript project on Github has twice as many opened pull requests as Python, Java and Ruby

What is Github, and a pull request you may ask?
Github, is a repository hosting service which aids developers store and manage their code, as well as track and control changes to their code.
A pull request lets you allow other users to be able to discuss and review the potential changes with collaborators and add follow-up commits before your changes are merged into the base branch.

It is basically like an instagram for your code, where you can showcase your most recent projects.

Photo by ItWeb

Javascript’s ecosystem benefits from a large investment in funds and engineering talent from huge companies like Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Microsoft.

The type of projects you can build

This might be the most important part when it comes to choosing your first programming language, because you will be building out projects for your potential employers to see, or it could just be something you enjoy as a hobby.
Either way, you will be spending countless number of hours creating your portfolio on your first language.

When it comes to projects, this is where you can see the greatness of Javascript here. Javascript can run on any device that has a browser. You can essentially build anything with Javascript and share it with anyone and anywhere.

Here is an example of a project made from HTML and Javascript.
Try it out!

https://js13kgames.com/games/onoff/index.html

Photo by TutorialZine

Don’t just learn one language

In order to be more diverse and well-rounded developer, you should be able to learn more languages.However, if you keep flip flopping between many languages, you won’t be able to learn efficiently.
Make sure to be able to really learn your first language well, and learning your other languages will become much much easier to learn.
In conclusion, consider all of the factors provided above before deciding what your first programming language is going to be.

References: