“This blog is the part of the “ExamTime New Skills” series which aims to provide info, tips and resources on how students can teach themselves new skills in their own time.”
What Programming Language Should I Start With?
Each computer programming language offers something different and each has their own pros and cons. Even depending on where you are in the world some might be more popular so it’s nearly impossible to give any definitive list. So, below is a very general overview of some popular computer languages you may want to get started coding with:
HTML5: is a markup language for structuring and presenting content for the Web.
- Pros: An extremely popular language and used in some capacity by the majority of sites. Apparently, 34 of the world’s top 100 Web sites were using HTML5
- Cons: This is a front-end mark-up language so it doesn’t have any decision-making capabilities i.e. it can only describe the info it comes across and not take any action on it
C++: is a general-purpose programming language. It is comprised of both high and low-level language features and, as such, is regarded as an intermediate-level language.
- Pros: Very popular and a lot can be achieved with it. If there is something that can’t be done using the language there is often a way of grafting it in
- Cons: It’s a very large language and this may cause some features to interact in unexpected ways. It would be hard for one developer to have an expert knowledge of the whole language, rather focus on certain key elements
Java: is a scripting language and is probably most popular language overall, used predominantly for enterprise and web applications. It’s also popular with open source and Android.
- Pros: Popular and regarded as being easy to learn ( or a least easier than others)
- Cons: Limited in terms of language features, somewhat old-fashioned
- Pros: A popular language and can augment elements of HTML
Ruby: Ruby on Rails is a hugely popular lightweight framework which is great for writing web applications.
- Pros: Very popular and “cool” especially in the start-up community. Better than Java for creating a web application quickly
- Cons: Fast moving language, lots of out-of-date online documentation, not really useful for developing GUI applications—pretty much web-only, realistically speaking
Python: Similar to Ruby in the above ways, though seemingly not as popular.
- Pros: Many would swear it is a superior language to Ruby. Greater GUI development compared to Ruby
- Cons: Not as popular in the industry when compared with Ruby so it might not be as helpful on your CV
This is just a very basic overview of some popular languages. There are many more established or even up and coming languages you could also learn. The best advice for choosing which language you start with is to ask yourself what you want to achieve by learning to code; this will help you make a decision. If you need some help, look to the coding experts for some inspiration!
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