Which Programming Language Is Best To Start With?

Are You Chasing Rabbits For A Living?
Are You Chasing Rabbits For A Living?
[Ask IT Career Coach] is a Career Advice Column for Information Technology (IT) professionals looking for answers to their most challenging career situations.

Do not worry about how to get handson experience in a programming language before you actually learn the programming language … that is called putting the cart before the horse.

If you choose to worry about handson experience before learning the programming language, all that you will end up achieving is nothing … those worries, fears or doubts will only delay your progress because they are either imaginary or harmful!

Rather, choose the path of action or get your hands dirty learning the programming languages that I recommend below and opportunities to get more handson experience will present themselves.

So, don’t hesitate or procrastinate … remember, he who hesitates is lost!

Click here to read this article on hesitation or procrastination

Which Programming Language Is Best To Start With?

Here is a question submitted by a reader on getting handson programming experience and the best programming language to start with.

The toughest challenge facing my career right now is boredom and a feeling of restlessness.

I’m about to graduate college with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, and I’m itching to start a real career that is more technical than the help desk that I work on.

Therein lies another challenge: I have no experience.

I’m very interested in programming and software development right now, but I don’t know what is hot in the job market in my area right now.

I’ve been searching the IT job sites, and there are positions open for Java, .NET, and Unix developers (each with a minimum five years of experience).

I appreciate your website and the excellent articles!

I now know to self-teach myself programming skills and work on open source projects, freelance and try for some contracting jobs.

Thank you!

Here Is The Answer To This Reader’s Questions

Hi, I am glad that you know how to self-teach yourself programming skills, work on open source projects, freelance and try for some contracting jobs … it seems that you just want to choose the right programming language since you’ve already heard about Java, .NET and Unix.

Choose Web Development Languages:

Don’t waste your time learning programming languages that are not suited for web development. This is because out of all the software development language careers, web developers are the most in-demand!

Choose a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Programming Language:

The best programming languages for your career will be the ones that are the most productive to code with.

Several years ago, software developers were using languages like Clipper, Foxpro, C/C++. That was back in the days when computer programmers were just transitioning from programming for DOS to programming for WINDOWS.

While all that was happening, Microsoft released a programming language known as Visual Basic which revolutionized the programming industry.

Visual Basic was a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Language which contained visual cues for building desktop applications.

For example, it allowed you to drag an icon representing a button onto a screen and then it generated the code for the button for you.

Because it made programming easier, Microsoft’s Visual Basic quickly became one of the most popular and productive languages for building software applications.

For example, using a Visual Basic enabled database software like Microsoft Access, a developer could create a functional application in a fraction of the time it takes a Java or C/C++ developer to code the same application.

Finally, Microsoft changed the game again with the introduction of .NET Framework which incorporates some of the best features of programming with Java, Visual Basic and C/C++!

So, if you want to be successful computer programmer, go with a productive Rapid Application Development (RAD) Language like Microsoft.NET, learn C# and SQL Server … which is the database language that is most compatible with .NET Framework.

Note that you also have to learn a relational database system because both web and windows software developers have to design or develop databases for their software applications … so, learning SQL query writing and database development is required for software developers.

Study Or Handson Experience, Which Comes First?

And don’t be worrying about not having handson programming experience before you get to learn the programming language … that is putting the cart before the horse.

Answer These Questions …

  1. Are you learning the right programming languages?
  2. How productive are the programming languages that you are learning?
  3. Are you worrying about how to get handson experience?

When you start out learning the programming languages that I recommended, opportunities to get your hands dirty will present themselves.

Don’t hesitate or procrastinate … remember, he who hesitates is lost! Click here to read this article on hesitation or procrastination

Another reason why you should stick with my recommendations is that … studying computer programming can quickly become an overwhelming experience because of the myriad of computer programming languages.

So, if you make the mistake of dabbling in different programming languages, you may end up not being skilled in any!

Don’t waste your time chasing rabbits … learning programming languages for which there is little or no market demand.

17 Responses to "Which Programming Language Is Best To Start With?"

  1. Saghir   December 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

    well; I am a lawyer but at the same time I am really interested in programing. I actually want to use all the other information that have on the web; probably make an interactive website. I heard you say some where if we give a good 6 months to it we can achieve it. I also noticed that a lot of websites were being written in php; I am just too confused, I don’t know where to start from. So far I have no knowledge of programing. I need your help.

  2. Daniel   October 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Please, I need some really sound advice. I have interest in learning and mastering php and .net programming but don’t which one to start with first.
    I trust you will give me a very good advice.

    • ITCareerCoach   November 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Why do you have a goal to learn both PHP and .NET Programming at the same time?

      Learning either of these languages will achieve the same type of goal.

      For example, if you really lean .NET Programming you can go out and get a well paying job.

      And if you learn PHP, you can also get a job.

      Which brings me to the question, why are you learning or trying to learn both programming languages at the same time?

      Do you realize that most jobs would ask for either .NET Programming or PHP Programming skills but not both?

      As a matter of fact, if you list both PHP and .NET Programming on the same resume, the .NET Programming Employers would think that you are not as good as other programmers who focus exclusively on .NET Programming and the PHP Folks will also think the same thing; that you are not as good as other PHP Programmers since you split your time between PHP and .NET Programming.

      So, why are you focusing on learning multiple programming languages at the same time?

      Please read this post titled: “How To Learn Many Programming Languages?”

  3. Dazza   March 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Hi, I don”t have much in the way of qualifications from school, and never studied for a degree in anything.

    Went straight into retail work, and that’s pretty much where I am now. I really need a change after 20+ years doing customer service etc.

    So, I’d really like to know if learning C# etc will really help me get a foot in the door of companies hiring at the moment.

    I’d like to spend the rest of this year learning as much as I can, and hopefully next year start applying for jobs.

    Am I doomed to retail or will I be able to get somewhere with following the info in your ebook?

    • IT Career Coach   May 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Dazza, Learning C# will do more than help you just get your foot in through the door!

      C# is the programming language used in creating business facing or mission critical websites. Learning C# will not just help you get your foot in through the door it will help you get a Career!

      C# Developers are not not just entry level workers, they are professionals with high-paying, fast paced world changing jobs.

      If all you are thinking about is just to get your foot in through the door, C# may not be good for you because it is a career for serious minded people who are looking to create a future for themselves and not just get a job!

      Learning C# will take some months, and it will take considerable efforts on your part, so you should only get into that if you really want a C# Developer Career and not just a job.

      And yes, if you master C#, you will be able to get a job paying anywhere from $50K to $70K and within a couple of years you could be earning up to $80K.

      But your goal in all this should not be just to get a job or you will hate being a C# developer.

      Your goal should be to become the very best C# software developer you can be and to build a remarkable career as opposed to just getting a job!

      Best Wishes

      • Dazza   May 7, 2011 at 12:15 am

        Thats great thankyou!

        I’m having a blast learning C# at the moment, and have found it to be the most enjoyable programming language to learn and use.

        After so many years doing something I don’t enjoy, it’s great to finally find something I not only like, but will get paid for as well!

        Many thanks for your reply.


        • IT Career Coach   May 7, 2011 at 12:44 am

          You are welcome my friend … have fun with learning C# 🙂

  4. jeeet   March 10, 2011 at 3:32 am


    I have just finished my MBA and my career goal is to become a business analyst.

    I had a basic computer application course when i was doing my degree in science and now i also realize that an MBA is not going to help me in long run, every job is hard to get for a fresher.

    So I want to do some programming course, so that i can achieve my goal of having some IT knowledge and business.

    Please recommend me which programming course should i take or any other IT course which can give me some added advantage in my career path..


    • IT Career Coach   April 11, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Learning Computer Programming will help you get a job perhaps faster than learning any other Information technology (IT) Course because there are more programming jobs than there are qualified computer programmers.

      In terms of the most marketable computer programming skills, learn a Microsoft .NET Framework Development Language (C# or VB.NET). Out of these two, I will recommend that you learn C#.

      It is not enough to learn C#, you must specialize further by learning how to code or develop websites using C#. So learn ASP.NET which is the Microsoft .NET Framework Platform that allows you to develop websites.

      Finally, learn a relational database that integrates well with ASP.NET. An example of such a database is SQL Server.

      Finally, build some real-world ASP.NET Websites as proof that you have the practical skills to backup your learning.

      If you follow these steps. you will be able to get a job.

      In terms of becoming a business analyst, what you need is a sound understanding and some experience in the Software Development Lifecycle so that when you are working with software developers you will understand their language or the different phases of the project.

      In addition, anything that you can learn about User Interface Design can help you in your goal to become an IT Business Analyst

  5. Vijay   December 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I have a good knowledge of VB 6.0 and SQL Server, so kindly let me know whether learning of VB.net will be enough for me to grow in the IT field.

    Also, currently I am not workingv in IT so kindly let me know how I can change to my favourite field.

    Thanking you in advance. Also, let me know the additonal relevant skills which will be beneficial to me

    • IT Career Coach   December 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

      A good knowledge of VB 6.0 is not enough for getting a computer programming job.

      You need to master or become highly skilled in the Microsoft .NET Framework Language and you need to master C#, ASP.NET and the .NET Framework in order to change your career to the computer programming / software developer industry.

  6. Allan   December 21, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I am going part-time to finish my BS in Computer Science.

    I have my 2 year in Applied Science/Programming.

    Every entry/junior programming position I see wants 2+ years experience.

    How do I get this experience to get a job?

    The longer I work on my degree the longer what I’ve learned becomes harder to apply.

    Any suggestions/help?

    • IT Career Coach   December 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

      The longer you work on your degree, the harder it will be to apply your degree because computer programming and information technology is just as much about doing as it is about learning.

      Have you heard of nine year old kids who have mastered the art of designing websites for example? These kids are barely out of their diapers and they are not over with high school … yet adults spend 2 to 4 years in college learning these concepts !!!

      Why is that? Because grownups are afraid of doing. They spend a lot of time studying and learning because they are afraid to do. Secretly, they are hoping that by investing all their time in college, they will somehow makeup for the fear of doing what they know … why is that?

      Because adults and grownups have conditioned themselves to fear and insecurity …

      Take a more direct route my friend …

      #1: Choose what type of computer programming language you will like to have

      #2: Learn the programming language

      #3: Start doing something with what you have learnt. Build a website, create a desktop application … just do something what what you’ve learnt and then … put it on your resume

      That is the secret to getting a job in Information Technology without spending years in College!

  7. Bageski   December 21, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Is Mathematics helpful for Software Developer career?

    • IT Career Coach   December 21, 2010 at 8:33 am

      Mathematics is not required for a software developer career … however it is helpful because you can learn how to think in a logical fashion from studying Mathematics.

      But you can also learn how to think in a logical fashion from studying not only Mathematics but other courses like Philosophy.

      If you are in school and you are thinking of studying a mathematics career in other to become a better computer programmer, I would say … do that.

      If you are out of school and you are thinking of studying mathematics as an intermediate step to studying computer programming, I would say that is probably a waste of time … there is little value in adding additional steps to your career … just go learn a modern computer programming language like Microsoft .NET, C#, ASP.NET, and a database like SQL SERVER

  8. Michael   December 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Wow! I’d forgotten I’d written you. Thanks so much for your reply.

    Since then, I’ve enrolled in a web programming certification program at the Art Institute.

    They’re not only going to help me learn web relevant languages, but get actual experience with Adobe Creative Suite.

    HTML 5 is here, but I don’t see Flash going away anytime soon.

    • IT Career Coach   December 20, 2010 at 7:43 pm

      Michael … you are welcome and thank you for taking the time to share your career story with me.

      I apologize for taking all this time to get back to you … I have a huge backlog of emails and questions and I am doing all I can to get through them.

      Some of the questions can be answered immediately and some like yours, need a bit more thought … which is part of the reason why I choose to set aside time for a blog post in response to your question.

      All said and done … please read the article carefully and don’t skim over it.

      Take a note of the action items and follow my recommendations as closely as you can.

      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and my opinions 🙂


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