When you’re just starting out with learning how to programme, what you wish to do with your coding plays an enormous determining factor in just what programming language you should begin your journey with.
Some coding languages are better suited to different tasks.
It’s in an aspiring coder’s best interest to familiarise themselves with each language, and gauge if it suitably applies to their specific goals.
Some languages are more translatable to multiple formats and platforms, some espouse ease of learning and accessibility above all else, while some are uniquely designed for very specific tasks. Some programming languages are ascending in popularity while others are descending into obscurity, some are more pragmatic and no-nonsense, and some programming languages are more accessible due to their active, novice-friendly communities and widely available, open source learning material. Each and every language has its virtue, so for a novice, it can be difficult to navigate this tower of Babel.
To be quite clear, this is an endless debate in coding circles, and there are some fairly dogmatic opinions on either side of every fence, so this is purely a matter of exploring the possibilities that each of these 4 language might afford a budding coder.
So, for the aspiring coders out there, here are 4 programming languages that are widely acknowledged by the coding community as providing worthwhile tools and skills for the novice programmer.
More than just being one of the openly used languages out there, the dominant language of the browser, JS is advertised, and esteemed for its fast performance, security, and accessibility to aspiring coders with little or nor previous experience with writing code.
Ruby is a dynamic, open-source, object-oriented programming language developed by computer scientist Yukihiro Matsumoto back in the 90s, which makes it one of the youngest languages in broad use, however, despite its apparent youth among the giants of the programming languages, it has been making significant strides in the last decade, particularly due to its ability to facilitate extraordinarily fast development of pragmatic, accessible Web Applications, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the tech world.
Ruby, more often than not, is invariably followed by Rails. The name, Ruby on Rails is derived from two things: Rails (an open-source web application framework), and Ruby, as mentioned above, the dynamic, object-oriented general purpose programming language that Rails is written in.
Rails is server-side, and attempts to simplify the task of constructing complex websites and web applications, while Ruby is a modern, streamlined language known for achieving elegant performance through the writing of uncluttered, minimalist code.
It was designed to have syntax that was easy to read and to write without necessarily needing to learn a massive base of commands and specialised ‘vocabulary’ in order to make noticeable progress from the get-go. While the language itself is object-oriented, it also supports procedural, functional, and imperative programming, which makes Ruby as a language very flexible, and therefore, a very valuable skill for a young coder to possess.
Python is usually used and referred to as a scripting language, allowing programmers to create large quantities of easily readable and functional code in short periods of time. However, it’s also dynamic, and supports object-oriented, procedural, and functional programming styles, among others. The design philosophy of Python emphasises code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts concisely in fewer lines of code than would be possible in languages such as C.
A large part of its popularity as a high-level programming language lies in both its flexibility and its overall utility, which sees Python as one of the more widely-used high-level programming languages of modern times. Python is slightly more advanced, however, what it offers should not be excluded from the conversation, particularly when a coder has had their fingers glued to their keys for long enough to test themselves with something slightly more challenging.
Java is a programming language designed to be concurrent, class-based and object-oriented, as well as a computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. An enormous amount of applications and websites will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. Denying yourself Java is akin to denying yourself access to a sprawling technological infrastructure.
It’s a deeply featured, class-based programming language that’s designed to be portable and workable on as many platforms as possible. For that very reason, it’s also one of the world’s most popular programming languages, which makes it incredibly valuable to learn if you’re interested in learning to program.
The flip-side to Java is that for all of its portability and applicability, it can be quite difficult to grasp, particularly for beginners, and even for experienced coders it can still be quite difficult to program effectively and efficiently.
Ultimately, there is no winner in sight for the foreseeable future. Each language is in some way in possession of their own unique qualities, strengths and weaknesses, so to a curious and ambitious coding mind, each language certainly brings something to the table.