Pick a language, any language

2 minute read Published: 2015-09-11

When you get started with programming one of the first obstacles is picking a language. A mistake beginners often make is asking experienced developers where they should start:

Search which language

The truth is it doesn't matter.

The first programming language I was taught was Pascal. This was long after my childhood experiments with ST BASIC. The year was 1998 and I was 17 years old. In case you're not familiar with pascal, here's its "hello, world":

    program HelloWorld;
      WriteLn('Hello World')

I've not used this language since. If you were to ask me to write a program using this language now, I'd need a book. In fact, I had to search for the example above.

That doesn't mean it was a waste of time. Through Pascal I learned basic programming concepts such as variable assignment, loops and if statements; it even introduced me to object oriented programming.

I had a blast creating text-based GUI's. I remember during a lesson when the power went out I was so in the zone I geeked out and began writing code with a pen on paper. It was fun!

Programming languages share a lot of concepts. As a beginner, it's more important for you to learn those concepts than to focus on learning a particular language. Instead of trying to find the best language, take the advice of Allen Wirfs-Brock and think of it in terms of a toolbox that will grow:

2/Practitioners shouldn't think in terms of technology winners and losers. Rather use a growing tool box and learn pros/cons of each tool

— Allen Wirfs-Brock (@awbjs) August 21, 2015

It's like learning to ride a bike: you would never ask someone which bike you should learn to ride first. Any bike will do, so long as you can reach the pedals.

Regardless of the language you choose you will learn something. You'll add another tool to your growing toolbox. So just pick a language, any language , and start having fun.

Banner image copyright CODE:DECK.