According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many programming languages as natural spoken languages, only a few dozen are actually used to develop computer programs. But that still leaves plenty of choices for anyone new to coding.
You should consider factors such as difficulty level, applicability, and demand when deciding which programming language to learn first. Select a language that aligns with your career path, interests, and skills to take you from a beginner to an expert developer. Here is a list of three common programming languages that tick all the boxes for a newbie.
Java is one of the most popular, in-demand, and versatile programming languages to date. It is an object-oriented language, which is the standard structure for creating modern applications. The language was originally developed in 1991 by James Gosling and released by Suns Microsystems in 1995 as a simpler and more robust alternative to the then cumbersome C language.
Java is an open source software with Write Once, Run Anywhere capabilities. Its cross-platform portability makes it ideal for developing multipurpose tools and client applications. Today, Java runs in over 3 billion devices worldwide, from servers to smartphones.
This high-level language is mostly used to create backend applications for data centers, runtime environments, web applets, android apps, networking systems, controllers, and video game engines. There is quite a lot you can do with Java. And, for such a powerful platform, it is relatively easy for beginners with no prior coding experience to learn.
Python is well known for its high readability and simple syntax. It was released in 1994 and continues to grow in popularity among programmers. Like Java, Python is an open source software and can run on any platform that supports the Python interpreter.
Python is not as well-rounded as Java, but it can still build numerous types of applications, including video games, blockchains, machine learning and AI algorithms, data tools, image and animation processors, and scientific computation systems.
Python is a good place to start as a beginner since it emphasizes simplicity, readability, and ease-of-use, making the language easy to understand and internalize. And due to its minimalistic syntax and indentation, it makes for the most beautifully written code – if that can be said about a programming language.
Ruby is another easy-to-learn programming language for first-time coders. It follows the principle of less is more, and, like Python and Java, it is also object-oriented and open source. The platform was developed and released in the mid-1990s with a strong focus on simplicity, readability, and creativity – much like Python – to try and make coding more human-friendly.
The robust Ruby platform can develop mobile apps and general-purpose programs. The Ruby on Rails (RoR) framework is also gaining popularity as a web development kit due to its elegant design style and straightforward approach to problem-solving. Ruby may not be as versatile as Java or even Python, but it has a massive community of supportive programmers with a strong will to encourage and nurture beginners. On top of that, Ruby has a short learning curve that is ideal for novice programmers.
Whether you are taking up coding as a hobby or professional stepping stone, any of these three programming languages can get you started. From there, you can scale smoothly to more advanced and sophisticated programming systems. The important thing is to keep progressing through continuous learning and practice.