Programming languages – Deciding on one

If you are a newcomer to the world of programming and wondering which language to start off with or learn, it can be a little confusing to decide on the right language. Your choice will most likely be based on two things:

1. Your immediate need – Do you have to learn a particular language as part of your job criteria? For example, as a trainee web developer you might have to learn JavaScript. In this situation, you really don’t have a choice but to learn the stipulated language.

2. Knowledge – If you feel like increasing the depth of your knowledge and are trying to understand how software works.

For the latter, there are a few things that you should consider before deciding on a particular language:

– What is the operating system that you will primarily be working from? Some languages like Visual Basic are very system oriented, namely Windows, and will not work on any other. So, the code you develop and the knowledge that you gain will be useless on other systems (e.g. Apple OS).

– What environment do you want your code to run in? If it is going to run on a PC, then your choices will be different. If you want it to run on the web, then you need to consider what type of tasks you want to do with your code. Most web-oriented languages are very good at certain things and rather mediocre at others.

– How much time can you devote to learning? Going straight into C++, PHP or ASP can be very daunting. If you just want to leisurely learn programming, you can start off with a simpler language like PASCAL which will teach you good programming skills that you can then apply elsewhere.

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