Software Career Tips On How To Choose Your First Programming Language

Part 7 of 13 in the Series: How To Learn Programming Languages

One key to learning how to program computers is to begin with the right computer programming language. In my discussions with readers, I notice that both beginning programmers and experienced computer programmers often choose a programming language based on:

  1. Friends: The recommendation of their friends or colleagues at work.
  2. Popularity: Based on the perceived popularity of a programming language
  3. Difficulty: As strange as it sounds, some choose a programming language because it’s hard or difficult to master. They want to prove themselves by tackling languages that will raise their profile in their community.
  4. School: Some choose a language because that’s what they’ve been asked to learn for a diploma.
  5. Hobby: Some pick a language for recreational purposes or form a perception of which language to work with based on what hobbies they like.

In a bonus e-Book that accompanies the “The Street Smart Guide To High Paying Computer Programming Careers“, I discussed the computer programming languages best suited for specific software projects.

Because each programming language is designed for specific tasks and scenarios, it performs poorly in other scenarios. Without much ado, here are a few reasons for choosing one programming language over another.

  1. Ease of learning: Some programming languages are easier for beginner programmers to master. Others have a steep learning curve and are notably more difficult.
  2. Speed of Execution: Programming languages are used to create software. In some software projects, the speed of execution of the software is critical and one has to use the fastest programming language.
  3. Marketability: Some programming languages are highly in-demand by employers. If you master them, you will be in-demand by employers. So, if you are just beginning your career, you may want to consider the marketability of one programming language vs. another.
  4. High Pay: Employers do not pay the same salary for all programming languages. Some command a lot more than others. You may not want to spend 5 years mastering a programming language only to discover you’re under-paid compared to your colleagues who are working with another language.
  5. Industry Standard: Some programming languages are used extensively in an industry, profession or environment. For example, engineers tend to use FORTRAN. Cobol was once a standard for business application. JavaScript is the standard for browser specific programming. Prolog is used in artificial intelligence software applications.

One of the marks of highly skilled, expert or professional computer programmers is that they understand the performance of each programming language. They can evaluate which programming language is best suited for their career based on the type of software applications they’ll be creating and how well they want to be compensated.

In the e-Book on “How To Become A Professional Computer Programmer“, I discussed the suitability of specific programming languages for specific career goals and software projects.

Take a piece of paper working with the list of programming languages below, answer the next 3 questions.

PHP, Ruby on Rails, C#, Python, Classic Visual Basic, Visual Basic.NET, Pascal, Assembler, FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, PL/I, C, C++, LISP, PROLOG, Ada, Java

  1. How many of these programming languages have you heard of?
  2. Which type of software projects are these programming languages best suited for?
  3. What type of programming careers are these programming languages best suited for.



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