I want to learn a Programming language… Which one?

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There comes a point when a programmer is only a potential programmer and they decide this is the path they will take. Whether it’s your first choice towards a higher education, a career change, a hobby, or you just need some money, we make the choice, “today is the day.” As a person who thought he could teach himself programming after deciding I wanted this career, I had the same question many people had:

“What language should I learn?”

Naturally I googled this like any good programmer to be and after a few posts I decide people like python so that is all I need. A couple weeks later and a ton of studying my python career ended (for now) and I signed up for a coding bootcamp. Regardless if your education teaches you one language or you are just learning your first, it is good to have all the facts that I wish I knew before I began my self-taught journey. Here are some facts about which programming language you should learn. The rest is up to you.

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There are a couple of things to think about when its time to make a choice to learn any language regardless of your experience. How in demand is the language? What fields require languages? How easy are some languages to learn than others? Where do you want to work? What does this language do better than the others?

The pay and job opportunities are probably a big reason people join the tech industry. Here is the results of indeed job listings that show the importance of certain languages in real world applications. As you will see in this chart and probably most of the others, a language is popular for a reason. Popular languages are both widely used and widely demanded.

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indeed results source: codeplatoon.org

When choosing a programming language it is also a decent idea to look around and take a peek at what our peers know and are learning. Why make a decision on your own when over 57,000 programmers answered a survey on stackoverflow that shows what the most commonly used languages they use. Once again we see some familiar faces at the top of most charts.

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Another thing to keep in mind is the pleasure of using a language. Just like in real spoken languages some may seem more inviting to take on learning and using. If you are going to be spending all day in front of the computer screen you should probably enjoy the language you are speaking to your computer. Below is from the same stack overflow survey asking the percentage of developers who are developing with the language or technology and have expressed interest in continuing to develop with it.

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percentage of programmers who want to continue with a language

With all of this being said you should research whatever of the ~600 languages to get a feel for what it has to offer. I will post some small facts about some of the major languages now.

data from www.computerscience.org

Python

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Python is an advanced programming language that is interpreted, object-oriented and simple to learn and easily read. They have associated web frameworks for developing web-based applications

WHO USES IT?

software engineers, back end developers

Major Organizations: Google, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, DropBox, NASA, ESRI

Java

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Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented, high-level programming language with several features that make it ideal for web-based development. Java is the core foundation for developing Android apps.

WHO USES IT?

Software engineers

Major Organizations: V2COM, Eclipse Information Technologies, eBay, Eurotech

Ruby/Ruby on Rails

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Ruby is an open-sourced, object-oriented scripting language that can be used independently or as part of the Ruby on Rails web framework. Intuitive and flexible language.

WHO USES IT?

software engineers, data science engineers

Major Organizations: Github, Scribd, Groupon, NASA Langley Research Center, Blue Sequence (part of Toyota Motor Manufacturing), Motorola, Google (SketchUp)

  • Basecamp, Amazon, Twitter and Groupon were all created using Ruby on Rails.

JavaScript

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JavaScript is a client-side programming language that runs inside a client browser and processes commands on a computer rather than a server. It is commonly placed into an HTML or ASP file. Despite its name, JavaScript is not related to Java. JavaScript is used primarily in Web development to manipulate various page elements and make them more dynamic, including scrolling abilities, printing the time and date, creating a calendar and other tasks not possible through plain HTML. It can also be used to create games and APIs.

WHO USES IT?

Web developers, software engineers

Major Organizations: WordPress, Soundcloud, Khan Academy, Linkedin, Groupon, Yahoo and many others

Specializations and Industries Where JavaScript is Used Most: Front End Website Development, Gaming Development

Student at The Flatiron School in Washington DC

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