How To Learn Many Programming Languages

Part 11 of 13 in the Series: How To Learn Programming Languages

learning multiple programming languages?
learning multiple programming languages?
This question was posted by a reader who needs advice on “how to learn many programming languages!”.

If you need help with a Question or Challenge, be sure to ask it as a comment on this page and I will answer it fully just as I am answering this reader’s question below!

Please, send this post to your friends using the “Tell a Friend” Button button below. You earn points or cash each time you refer an article to your friends using the Tell a Friend Button.

Here is the Challenging Situation:

I want to learn many programming languages including C/C++, Java, PHP and Microsoft .NET Framework because this will make be very good at programming and employable.

What do you suggest? Are there languages I should learn first or not learn at all?

What’s the best way to go about learning many programming languages?

How To Learn Multiple Programming Languages

There are benefits and challenges to learning many programming languages. Sometimes it’s better to master just one programming language and some other times it’s advantageous to learn more !

Learning many programming languages poses a special challenge. Part of this challenge is remembering the syntax or coding paradigms behind each programming language.

The challenge of devoting the time it takes to learn or master just one programming language should not be under-estimated.

On the other hand, the benefits of successfully learning many programming languages includes having more employment options because you can work on a wide variety of software developemnt platforms.

Here is additional guidance on when you may learn multiple programming languages:

Should Junior / Entry-Level Programmers Learn Multiple Languages?

If you’re just starting your programming career, then I would advise you to focus on learning just one programming language at a time.

This is because there’s little to be gained by listing many programming languages on your resume without really being good or highly skilled in any of them!

As a general rule, it’s far better to learn one programming language and master it well before learning other programming languages.

Beginner, Entry Level, Junior or Hobby Programmers are more likely to fall into the trap of learning on too many programming languages.

They are likely to dabble in multiple programming languages ranging from PHP to C/C++ to Java. Unfortunately, while they may learn a little of each programming languages they are good at none!

The danger facing newbies to computer programming is that they understimate their own powers and the challenges of learning a programming language. So, in a bid to prove themselves, they bite on more than they can chew!

Without a lot of programming experience, newbie computer programmers really have no idea of what they’re trying to accomplish.

In trying to impress others by working on many programming languges, they end up “A Jack of All Trades and Master of None”.

Should I Learn A Software Development Platform?

On the other hand, while beginner programmers should not worry about learning many programming languages, they should learn or master all the programming languages for a platform, one at a time.

For example, if you’re learning PHP, you should also plan to learn MySQL and vice versa.

The reason is because, employers or clients hiring for PHP skills will also expect or need MySQL Database Services.

Another example is that of programmers learning .NET Framework who should plan on learning the entire Microsoft .NET Software Platform including ASP.NET (for building web applications), SQL Server for building Databases and C# or Visual Basic for programming.

Should I Mix and Match Programming Languages?

Programmers should look out and learn other technologies within their familiar programming languages.

For example, both PHP Programmers and ASP.NET Programmers should take the time to learn or master HTML, CSS and JavaScript as these are useful for all programmers.

However, learning PHP and then jumping to Java or C/C++ is a different matter altogether.

Here is “how to to learn many programming languages”:

  1. Learn programming languages one at time.

  2. Master, become highly competent or become an expert at one programming language before attempting to learn another.

  3. Learn all the tools, technologies and programming languages in one family (LAMP, MICROSOFT.NET, JAVA) first before switching tracks.

  4. Employers hire for quality (competency) and not quantity. So, be clear to yourself on why you’re learning many lanaguages!

  5. Learning many programming languages requires dedication and time. So, be sure to plan adequately and budget the right amount of effort or time to your learning. Don’t under-estimate the required effort.

  6. If you’re a skilled developer or a senior programmer or a software architect, there may be some good advantages and fewer risks to you branching out and learning many other languages.

This post is an answer to a “question on how to learn multiple programming languages.
If you have a question, concern or challenge, click here to post it and I will answer it for you!




9 Responses to "How To Learn Many Programming Languages"

  1. Salifu Junior (Palermo, Italy)   February 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    How Do I Choose The Programming Languages To Study?

    I have studied web design (html, css,and now i am doing php) but i want to branch into mainstream programming.

    I would be grateful if you could help me choose the most suitable and easy to learn languages for a beginner.

    Thanks

    ReplyTweet
  2. Shahid   September 14, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Respectable Sir, I wnat to know which is the easiest programming language i can start with some say’start with perl & many other languages but i m confused,

    Pls can u suggest me which 1 is the easiest for programming so that i can understand & then when my interest goes higher after understanding then only i can sharpen my skills in that field, as also i m keen interested in programming langs, many of my friend say it is tooooo tough to understand as for me bcuz im only secondary pass out fellow who doest not have any background of computing,

    so if u can pls take out ur precious time to guide me for my future i ll be very much obliged for ur guidance & path leading for my future.

    Thanks:

    ReplyTweet
    • Chris   September 14, 2010 at 7:08 am

      Hi Shahid,

      The most important question you must ask yourself is what do you want to do in the future?

      If you want to develop games then perhaps you could learn Microsoft.net-Microsoft Visual Studio or C++. However, C++ is probably a little more difficult to learn.

      If you want to develop web pages then again Microsoft.Net-Microsoft Visual Studio is an interesting option. However, there are other programming languages that you could learn while progressing (Visual Basic, Java, Pearl, HTML). Yes Pearl is probably easier to learn than other programming languauges and I believe that it is supported by Microsoft Visual Studio?

      Once you’ve decided which programming language you will master you can then look for training on-line and from schools.

      If ever you have a problem with a programming language you can always write it in Google and you may find an answer.

      As IT career coach said it is important to master one language before progressing to other languages.

      You could start with Pearl, but you could have a look at Microsoft.Net-Visual Studio, it has object oriented design and support.

      ReplyTweet
  3. Chris   September 7, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for the great advice,

    I would like to develop web pages, so Java was an interesting program to learn and I also like the way Java has been developed. Java is much easier to program than other programs I’ve leaned: fortran, C++, Pascal, Visual Basic etc…

    However, I downloaded Microsoft.Net and Microsoft Visual Studio and was very impressed. I have about 60 days to try these programs.

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   September 7, 2010 at 6:16 am

      I am glad that you found the advice helpful. And yes, I would recommend that you start learning with Microsoft.NET and Microsoft Visual Studio.

      That is the way to become a marketable or highly-paid corporate programmer. And after you learn these languages, go get a job or start your own business or develop websites for fun & profit.

      Don’t add Java & C++ to the mix until you’ve learned how to be productive with Microsoft.NET and Microsoft Visual Studio ..

      It’s not how many programming languages that you know that matters … but how productive you are with them!

      ReplyTweet
  4. IT Career Coach   September 4, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Start your career transition by learning one programming language at a time.

    Starting with multiople programming languages will slow you down and it will not confer you with any spcial advantages.

    Once you master one programming language, you can extend the principles that you’ve learnt to other programming languages.

    Starting a programming business depends on how good you are with marketing your programming skills. So you have 2 things to do:

    1. Learn one (1) programming language

    2. Learn how to market your programming skills to start your own work at home or freelance consulting / software development business

    ReplyTweet
    • rohan   September 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm

      pls help me how to start business form home in programming, how to get orders and payment from online

      ReplyTweet
      • IT Career Coach   September 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm

        You can start an online business in minutes by selling other people’s products as affiliates.

        You need to start a blog or have a way of getting word across to an online business though … hope that helps

        ReplyTweet
  5. Chris   September 4, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Hi, My toughest challenge is a career transition. I would like to learn certain
    computer programming languages: Java, HTML perhaps C++.

    I have an engineering background which helps, however, my background is more process than software oriented.

    I would also like to work from home and/or start-up my own business eventually.

    Chris

    ReplyTweet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.