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Thread: First programming language to learn?

  1. #1

    Default First programming language to learn?

    Any advice for a total n00b? I was thinking about Python. I already fell comfortable in html, but since that's not a programming language I don't think that makes a difference.

    I've also head Java is a good first language, though Python can be more forgiving of a beginner.

    Any advice would be appreciated!


  2. #2


    I've heard Python is fairly friendly to first time learners. Java is also a fairly good language to start with, as well. I'd avoid C and C++, as they are rather tricky for a first time learner.

  3. #3


    my first language after HTML was VB.Net, it was an easy language. Also, PHP is fairly easy as well if you want to stay with the web.

  4. #4


    I'm a computer science major- so I've been programming for years and that'll probably be my job for most of my career.

    The biggest thing about learning to program is learning using a language that means something to you. Let me explain. I came to college and I started learning C++. A fairly good language, especially for learning the details about programming. However, the applications- at least without years of experience- were very very basic, and essentially worthless to me. I didn't enjoy coding in C++ simply because I didn't care about a program that would figure out the statistics of a drunk robot walking home from a bar [legit assignment].

    However, a few years before, what really got my attention was web design. I learned HTML in the early 2000 Geocities boom, and quickly picked up CSS and javascript. However, javascript was the only true programming (vs. design) language out of those, and I personally didn't have much need for javascript. However, I started learning PHP- learning how to submit forms, make forums, manipulate databases- all things I could actually write, and then see the results of on a website. I wrote things in PHP that were useful for me- a program that archived my movie collection and allowed me to quickly sort and find movies, or the beginning of a forum (never got much further than protoyping, but some features actually worked).

    What I'm saying is don't pick up a language because it's hard or easy. [Don't start with ASM though.] Pick a language that actually suits what you want to do. If you can see results and build things that you find useful, you'll be much more likely to enjoy the language and continue on after the first time you get stuck.


  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by HogansHeroes View Post
    I've heard Python is fairly friendly to first time learners. Java is also a fairly good language to start with, as well. I'd avoid C and C++, as they are rather tricky for a first time learner.
    Python also has the advantage that it enforces good coding practices like indenting your code

    Guygoodnights: As has been said already, pick the language based on what you want to do with it, not how easy it is to learn. Java is a better long term language in that a lot of what you'll learn with it is portable to other languages. On the other hand Python is a bit easier to pick up initially, but doing some more complex stuff (like a Bittorrent client) is a bit trickier to learn.

    Personally, I learned Perl first (out necessity) then later picked up Python and PHP followed by Java. of those, I found Perl and Java the hardest to pick up initially but over the long term they're the ones I've been most comfortable with for non-web stuff. I use a combination of PHP, Python, and Perl on my websites (I'm a firm believer in using the right language for the job )

  6. #6


    I've heard good things about python from many people, however, I'd be leery suggesting a programming language where indentation/whitespace is relevant to code function.

    I think Java is a horrible starter language for the simple reason that I don't think people should think of programs in terms of objects to start off with. If you start off with Java, expect to have a very significant "Ooooohhhh..." moment at some random time in the future when you finally get what's really going on. That moment will redefine much of what you learned previous to it.

    In the end though you really have to balance out the desire to learn things more thoroughly with the fact that most people will become bored learning something that can't apply to their every day lives.

    C is actually a great starter language IMO just from the position of learning from the bottom up (which I've always been fond of). If you learn C first then C++, you'll pretty much be able to transition to everything else and actually know WTF you're doing. However, using straight C, you're not going to be doing anything interesting (at least that most people find interesting).

    Since you mention HTML, I'd say you're interested in making websites... given that, I've always been partial to PHP myself. It similar in syntax to C/C++/Java/etc and has plenty of high level APIs to use so you can hit the ground running functionally.

    The problem in general with web development is that it takes several core competencies to actually be able to do anything. Websites today really require basic SQL, HTML, ECMAScript, and some programming/server-side scripting language of your choosing to do anything from a programming perspective.

    Assuming web development, I'd go for PHP -> basic db knowledge / tables -> SQL -> JavaScript

  7. #7


    I can name MANY. Lua, LOGO, JAVA, Python, HTML, Vintage Basic, Etc.

    I know Lua VERY well, and could help you get started, as well as the fact that lua allows players in Roblox to create scripts that do things. Lua is also used in games a lot more recently due to the low file size, and large function base.

    LOGO is just a VERY basic language, not best for anyone that is wanting to really get into programming

    Java is easy to learn, and some of the best online games are programmed in Java (Runescape, Minecraft, Several others) And allow you to get right in creating mods for such games.

    Python is also used in games a lot, but is a little more begginer friendly.

    HTML is used in web design, not much more than that.

    Vintage Basic is the ORIGINAL Basic, not the virtual basic that is used today, so you need to get a special program to create files for that.

    Other than that, flash is one that I would reccomend if you can handle a bit steeper of a learning curve, but Lua is probably best, as you can have the scripts for Roblox, and learn some programming easier.

  8. #8


    Python is a good language to learn just remember it is case sensitive and indenting sensitive but thats kind of good becuase it will help you orginize your script better.

  9. #9


    for web development i would recommend SQL or PHP. for programming i would definitely recommend java. it is taught in NY states AP Computer Science A course. you could find the course guide online from the state website. it may be good to get a peak at the language because it has sample questions with answers. its also the first language taught at most colleges computer science courses. java is pretty easy to pickup compared to others such as C, C#, or C++. it is extremely popular, and has one platform with clearly defined syntax and good coding practice. i picked up java over last summer, and learned it in less than a week by reading a book from the "Sams Teach Yourself" book series. after that i decided to pick up on SQL and PHP as a third notch in my belt of programming languages. java in my opinion, and that of my brothers, and my technology teacher, is the way to go for your first programming language. plus it is universally platform compatible. between applets for web, desktop, and sometimes mobile use, this is the way to go.

  10. #10


    Wow! Thanks y'all!

    I just found video for Harvard Extension School's intro computer science course, and they use java. I think i'll follow along with that, and see how it goes!

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