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!
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.
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”:
Learn programming languages one at time.
Master, become highly competent or become an expert at one programming language before attempting to learn another.
Learn all the tools, technologies and programming languages in one family (LAMP, MICROSOFT.NET, JAVA) first before switching tracks.
Employers hire for quality (competency) and not quantity. So, be clear to yourself on why you’re learning many lanaguages!
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.
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.
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