How to Pick a Programming Language

US National Archives on Flickr

When you pick a programming language to learn first, it helps to figure out what software you want to create.

Whether you’re just learning to program for the first time or if you’re already old hat, there’s never a bad time to learn a new language. Just like with human languages, learning a new programming language teaches you new ways to think and allows you to work with even more people.

The problem, though, is that there’s just so many programming languages out there. How do you choose one to learn next? Now, if you search for best programming language online you’ll probably find a few million arguments. However,I’m going to say there really isn’t a single best language for all projects or all people. You might find a language you enjoy best and that fits well with how you program, but your choice is as personal a preference as your favorite food or YouTube channel.

We’re going to go through this by first asking you to think about what you want out of a new language, how you’re going to use it, and what you like in a language. Ask yourself the following set of questions and it should help you pick from the languages we list or something else entirely.

First, what do you want out of a new language? Are you learning to program for the first time? Do you want to learn something really different than anything you’ve learned before? Are you planning to write code on your own or with other people on an already established project?

Next, what do you plan to do with a new language? Are you wanting a general purpose language for when you next have some code to write? Do you want to program hardware like the Arduino microcontroller? Do you want to learn how operating systems work? Are you interested in programming for websites or making applications for phones?


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