How to Choose Which Coding Language to Learn First

Ruth Ng

Ruth Ng

5 min read
which programming language to learn first

Picking the first coding language can be a difficult task — there are literally hundreds of programming languages that you can choose from. Naturally, choosing one if you don’t have any previous coding knowledge is going to be hard.

Whichever one you pick, there’s one thing that you need to keep in mind — we definitely recommend picking a single programming language to learn in-depth instead of two or three at once.

Why not learn multiple languages at once?

As you become a more experienced web developer, you will probably learn multiple coding languages. However, when you’re just starting out and you don’t actually know anything yet — spreading yourself too thin is a very common mistake.

It doesn’t matter if you’re learning through books, coding courses, or formal education; focus on one thing in the beginning, and know that upskilling will be far easier once you’re proficient in your first language.

After all, if you wanted to learn a couple of real-world languages; it’s not likely that you’d go and start learning Japanese and French at once; in all likelihood, you’d end up being fluent in none. At the beginning of your tech career, it’s far better to learn what happens “under the hood” with your first language, than having a superficial knowledge of multiple ones.

And remember — this isn’t just about learning the syntax and semantics of that particular language. Simultaneously, you’re learning the basics of practical computer science; the principles that you learn while mastering your first coding language will make learning all subsequent ones far easier.

All of this aside, there’s still one fundamental reason why you shouldn’t learn multiple languages when you start out — to put it simply, coding is not easy. For beginners, this is a completely new skill that you need to devote yourself towards. If you decided to take on a couple of languages simultaneously, you would basically be trying to run before you’ve ever walked. Don’t burn yourself out needlessly!

How to choose?

You may be surprised to hear this — but the actual language that you choose does not matter that much. It’s more important to learn the language as deeply as possible. Remember, your end goal here is to become a software developer; the language in question is just one of the tools that you’ll be using. This process is supposed to yield you a deep understanding of the fundamental principles underpinning all computer languages.

Considering this — where should you start? If you don’t have a formal background in coding, or you’re interested in upskilling; we recommend you take a look at one of the many online coding courses that you can find.

These days, platforms like the Knoma Marketplace offer a plethora of valuable programming courses. Of course, you still need to decide which course to start with. With that in mind — think about why you want to code in the first place.

What kind of developer are you looking to become. There are plenty of different industries under the “programming” umbrella, and you should see which of them require what kind of job roles and coding languages.

Also, it’s important to start with a language that you’re actually interested in. You shouldn’t feel like you’re on your own here; because you’re not. There are plenty of online communities, forums, and social media groups that you can join. Use them for networking and for asking questions.

Depending on where you live, you could also attend some local meetups organised by people from the world of tech. This is a great opportunity for beginners to discuss their qualms with their more experienced peers.

You can’t go wrong with the basics

If you’re still unsure, learning the basics of programming is easier with languages like Python and JavaScript; particularly if you’re learning through tech courses. Also, there’s a humongous online community of international developers ready to help you out; along with an endless supply of free resources for learning.

Of course, this choice is made easier if you’ve already got a particular career goal in mind. If you know what industry (or even what company) you want to work for, finding out what specific language they’re looking for is an easy process. That immediately gives you something to work toward.

As a front-end developer, it’s useful to know JavaScript; so it’s the most generic answer we’re comfortable giving you, knowing that it will serve you well regardless of what job you end up seeking.

After all, remember — the most important thing here is to learn how to learn a language; you’ll be struggling a lot less if you have to learn any subsequent languages afterwards. Once you realise how programming languages actually work, you won’t have any problems with mastering others!

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