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Lucy Oleschuk
Level 31

First Programming Language: Which One Is Better to Start Coding?

Published in the Random group
According to the research “Breaking into tech” by Indeed, people need about 12 months to make a final decision to switch to IT. That's about two months longer than people transitioning to other industries. First Programming Language: Which One Is Better to Start Coding? - 1“The need to learn new skills is likely why people take longer to decide whether the transition will be worthwhile,” — says Paul Wolfe, Indeed’s senior vice president of global human resources. One of the main concerts for career switchers is the overwhelming amount of new information. In addition, it's unclear to them what to focus on and where to start. Quite often, the problem of "where to start" is about choosing the first programming language to learn. Sounds familiar? You’re welcome to read this article if you don't want to spend as much time pondering as most career switchers.

Which programming language should I learn first?

First and foremost, we'd like to highlight that becoming a professional developer requires more than just proficiency in some programming languages. The foundation lies in mastering data structures, algorithms, patterns, and strong problem-solving. When choosing the first programming language, consider settling on the one that would cover all those fundamentals. Ideally, it should be a demanded object-oriented language that will help you learn how to think through processes in the specific and the abstract. Oh, and let’s not forget about the learning resources. Try to choose the ones that cover not only the syntax but also the main coding concepts, additional tools, libraries, databases, etc. Hands-on experience is also invaluable since it transforms theoretical knowledge into practical skills, preparing you for the challenges of the actual coding world. Real experience is a cornerstone of effective coding education, so select languages with courses that provide ample practice.

Common mistakes of first-time learners

Newcomers often face some common mistakes that may slow down their progress.
  • Skipping the basics. Beginners may be tempted to rush into coding without grasping the fundamental concepts. Skipping basics like variables, data types, and control structures can lead to later confusion.
  • Grasping too much at once. Newbies often fall into the trap of trying to learn multiple programming languages simultaneously. However, this approach often leads to frustration and a lack of mastery in any language.
  • Fear of making mistakes. Some learners are afraid of making mistakes, which is a natural part of the learning process. This fear can lead to hesitation and slow progress. Yet, when you learn from errors, you can boost your knowledge. So, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Not enough practice. Passive learning without sufficient hands-on practice can hinder your skill development. Reading or watching tutorials without practical application will inadvertently result in a shallow understanding.
  • Lack of focus on problem-solving. Some students focus too much on syntax and memorization, neglecting problem-solving skills. However, programming is actually about solving problems. Fundamental proficiency comes from breaking down problems into logical steps and implementing solutions.
  • Isolation from the community. Often, learners isolate themselves and don't look for help from peers when they get stuck. Learning from others, asking questions, and collaborating on projects can greatly accelerate your learning process.

What programming languages are easy to learn?

Programming languages can be subdivided into low-level, medium-level, and high-level ones. All of them have their benefits. Low-level programming languages include machine code, assembly language, and languages like C with low-level features. They offer little abstraction from hardware architecture and provide high efficiency, direct hardware interaction, and small code size. Medium-level programming languages are considered dialects of C (C++) and the Wirth family of languages (Pascal, Modula2, Oberon). They balance low-level control and high-level abstractions and offer a compromise between efficiency and control. High-level programming languages are JavaScript, Python, Java, Visual Basic, Perl, Ruby, C#, and others. They are very user-friendly and offer enhanced productivity. All these programming languages are often considered relatively easy for beginners due to their simplicity and readability. Yet, when choosing what language to learn first, it’s important to consider:
  • Documentation. The clarity of a language's documentation significantly impacts its learnability. Well-documented languages provide a smoother learning experience as learners can easily access and understand the necessary information.
  • Community. The size of a language's programming community is a crucial factor. A large and active community can be a valuable resource for beginners, offering valuable assistance and guidance.
  • Frameworks and libraries. The availability of frameworks and libraries can enhance the development and learning process.
Considering all these factors, it becomes evident that you should take into account the ecosystem of the language, community support, and the availability of helpful educational materials.

F.A.Q. from newbie learners

Whether you're here seeking answers to specific problems or just curious about programming fundamentals, we've come up with answers to questions that interest fresh learners the most.

What is the easiest programming language?

As mentioned, the "easiest" programming language can vary based on your preferences, specific goals, and the type of projects you want to work on. However, there are some programming languages that are considered to be more beginner-friendly due to their simplicity and readability — Python, JavaScript, C, Ruby, and Java.

What are the most popular programming languages now?

As of December 2023, the most popular programming languages are Phyton, Java, C, C++, and JavaScript, according to the PYPL ranking. There are no signs that the situation will change drastically in 2024, so these languages will continue to take the leading positions. First Programming Language: Which One Is Better to Start Coding? - 2

Are Java and JavaScript the same?

No, Java and JavaScript are different despite sharing a similar name. They have different syntax, semantics, and use cases.
  • Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented language that can be executed on any device with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Java is a back-end language for developing server-side applications, desktop applications, mobile applications, and large-scale enterprise systems.
  • JavaScript is a scripting language used for front-end web development to make web pages interactive and dynamic. It allows developers to work with the content of web pages, handle user interactions, and create responsive user interfaces.
These two languages are not interchangeable and have different roles in the software development cycle.

Are Java and Python similar?

Java and Python are widely used in the software development industry. They are both high-level, general-purpose programming languages. Yet, they have differences in terms of syntax and some other features:
Java Phyton
Syntax Complex syntax Concise and readable syntax
Type system Statically-typed Dynamically-typed
Memory management Automatic Automatic
Platform independence Runs on any device that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) Needs a Python interpreter installed on the target machine
Use cases Large-scale enterprise apps, server-side apps, Android mobile apps, distributed systems Web development, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, scripting
Speaking about community, Java has a large, mature community, whereas Python has a younger yet rapidly growing community.

Are Java and C++ similar?

Java and C++ share some similarities, but they are distinct programming languages with differences in purpose and features. Whereas Java is an object-oriented programming language, C++ is a multi-paradigm language that supports both procedural and object-oriented programming. The other significant distinction is that Java code is designed to be platform-independent ("write once, run anywhere" philosophy), while C++ programs are compiled into machine-specific code and are platform-dependent. C++ is mainly used in system programming, game development, embedded systems, and software that requires low-level memory control.

How to learn a programming language

Whether you're a beginner or looking to add a new programming language to your skill set, the learning process should involve dedication and effective resources.

Starting with the basics: books and online tutorials

Books have long been a tried-and-true resource for learning to code. They often provide structured content, clear explanations, and practical exercises to boost your understanding of key concepts. Some classics include "Head First Java" and others. Online tutorials, especially on platforms like YouTube, offer an interactive and visual way to grasp programming concepts. Many seasoned developers share their knowledge through step-by-step video tutorials on their channels. Practice regularly – leverage learning platforms That just being said, you won’t progress without practice since programming is a skill that improves only with practice. We recommend you choose learning platforms like CodeGym that offer structured courses with hands-on coding exercises, projects, and assessments. CodeGym provides an interactive and gamified approach to learning Java. The platform specializes in teaching programming in Java from scratch, focusing on practical application, project development, and understanding best coding practices. Over a million students are enrolled in the course (half of whom have no prior experience and have chosen Java as their first programming language). CodeGym offers a mentor-led course and a self-paced course which allow students to master Java within just a year or so. Speaking of the curriculum, both courses offer some extras like mastering Java frameworks and tools. So, be mindful of your learning goals when you start learning. This article will help you understand the roadmap you should choose for your career path.

Engage with communities

Joining online communities is another fantastic way to progress by connecting with fellow learners and experienced developers to ask for help and support during the learning path. Platforms like Stack Overflow and Reddit let you ask any questions that disturb you, seek advice, and share your experience.

Stay updated and be patient

Last but not least, stay updated on emerging trends and be patient with yourself. Learning to program is gradual, and everyone progresses at their own pace. Celebrate small victories, and don't be discouraged by challenges.


Learning to code is not only about mastering a programming language but about seeking help from communities, staying updated on industry trends, and training via interactive platforms like CodeGym. Start your coding adventure with CodeGym today and unlock the possibilities ahead!
Comments (1)
Chloe Catherine Potter Level 44, Campbell, US Expert
26 January 2024
Thanks for this very informative information! This article made the different coding languages a lot clearer in my mind, and made me realize that Java is the coding language I want to keep pursuing!