7 Programming Languages for Beginner Developers
Our team of instructors are frequently asked: “What programming languages should I learn?” and the response is often: “There's no one correct answer, but there is somewhat of a progression that most programmers and developers take. Start with the basics, and slowly move into the more detailed programming languages.”
So what is a programming language? In simple terms, it's a special language programmers use to develop software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions for computers to execute.
Programming languages are not the same as Markup languages, which are designed for the definition and presentation of text. The programming language specifies code for formatting both the layout and style within a text file. HTML is a an example of a widely-used markup language. On the same note, CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets, is not a programming language either, but rather a style sheet language. Both vital in development, just not programming languages.
There are many opinions out there about what programming languages are the best, but there's a lot more to consider than what is the most popular programming language. Below is a list of seven programming languages that are recommended for beginners.
Java is over 20 years old, used by millions of developers and billions of devices worldwide, and is able to run on any hardware and operating system through the Java Virtual Machine. All Android apps are based on Java and 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Java as a server-side language for back-end development.
Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language that’s built for portability and cross-platform application. A lot of Java syntax is based on C or C++, which is why it’s often introduced at a later stage to developers; however, it allows a learner to think like a programmer and understand how a PC processes information. Many educators believe that learning Java ensures a solid foundation.
Python is a general-purpose programming language used for web development and as a support language for software developers. It’s also widely used in scientific computing, data mining and machine learning. The continued growth and demand for machine learning developers may be driving the popularity of Python.
Python is regarded as one of the best and easiest programming languages for beginners. It’s a free and open source language that’s known for its dynamic, flexible, object-oriented, procedural, and functional programming styles. With its simple and readable code, the programmers can express concepts in lesser lines of code. Today, it has become one of the most popular introductory programming languages in American schools.
C and C++ programming languages have been around for a very long time. C is still a popular general-purpose programming language that has influenced many other modern programming languages, including C++. Based on C, C++ is a powerful programming language that’s designed to take things one step further, and it offers object-oriented programming. It has established itself as one of the most important programming languages around. Just like C, C++ helps you gain an insight of how things work in computer science.
C# (pronounced “C sharp”) is an object-oriented programming language from Microsoft designed to run on Microsoft’s .NET platform and to make development quicker and easier than Microsoft’s previous languages. C#, like C++, is heavily used in video game development, so any aspiring video game developers would do well to learn both of them. C# programming is very much based on C and C++ programming languages, so if you have a basic understanding of C or C++ programming, then it will be fun to learn C#.
PHP is the most popular server-side programming language in the world. It’s generally used as the foundation of Content Management Systems for WordPress and other websites like Wikipedia and Facebook. PHP is usually considered beginner-friendly since it’s easy to conceptualize what the PHP code will do. Most websites have been built with PHP because the language is heavily specialized for the web.
PHP is a fully functioning programming language that users can apply to create websites and maintain scripts. In addition to server-side scripting, PHP can perform other tasks such as command line scripting, developing desktop operations, creating templates and graphics, and a lot more. While PHP is relatively simple to grasp, it can actually be used in many complicated processes. Users also enjoy the flexibility of using any major operating system, as PHP is applicable to all of them. This also means that with PHP, you can choose to work with object-oriented programming or procedural programming, or even a combination of the two. Basically, PHP is a versatile computer language that gives you a wide range of programming capabilities.
Ruby, a dynamic, general-purpose language, was designed and developed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in 1990s, with a focus on the syntax that was easy to read by humans. This language supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, functional, and imperative. This feature makes it a very flexible programming language.
Just like Python, Ruby is simple and readable. As a result, it’s regarded as one of easiest programming languages to learn. Just like Python, Ruby also enjoys the love of its dedicated community. Ruby acts as a great tool if you need to deal with the back-end aspect of your work. It’s widely used to develop websites, web-based applications, and mobile applications.
Honorable Mention: R
Although sometimes thought to have a bit of a learning curve, R is a programming language and environment commonly used in statistical computing, data analytics, and scientific research. Open-source and freely available, it is one of the most popular languages used by statisticians, data analysts, researchers, and marketers to retrieve, clean, analyze, visualize, and present data. Due to its expressive syntax and easy-to-use interface, it has recently grown in popularity. R is the right mix of simplicity and power, and companies all over the world use it to make calculated decisions.
R is the most popular programming language among statisticians. In fact, it was initially built by statisticians for statisticians. Additionally, R has found a lot of use in predictive analytics and Machine Learning (ML). R is often used to implement ML algorithms in fields like finance, genetics research, retail, marketing, and health care.
Some Closing Thoughts
Over the evolution of computers, there have been hundreds of different computer programming languages created for various types of development. To get an idea of all of the different programming languages you can visit The Hello World Collection, which gives a demo of how to write "Hello World" in over 566 different programming languages! Ultimately, what programming language you decide to learn will ultimately depend on what you want to do.
Lastly, if you're interesting in training, take a look at all of the courses New Horizons offers around programming & development.
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