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Which programming language to start with?

You definitely have some motivation to learn programming. Perhaps you want to get into the industry, tie your future to the IT, or just want to do it out of sheer curiosity. Regardless of your motivation, the basic problem is choosing the right language at the beginning. This question is faced by every person in a similar situation. What makes it worse is that on the web you can find hundreds, often contradictory and extreme opinions on choosing the right programming language to learn. There are plenty of programming languages. Of course we can not say that any language is worse or better because each of them has its specific applications. But there is no denying that there are languages which are simply better suited for a beginner programmer.

What programming really is

Think of the problem this way - the same elements are repeated in every programming language. Surely you’ve heard that learning more languages is much easier than learning your first language. Where does this come from? We have a lot of constant elements in programming. Variables, loops, conditional statements and many other aspects are repeated in every language. If you learn what a for loop is in Python, you can handle it in other languages without a problem. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with a language where the code is as simple as possible, so that you don’t focus on the syntax itself but rather on the key aspects of programming.

Of course you have to start somewhere. That’s why at the beginning I suggest you learn the Python language. The simplicity and clarity of Python will let you focus on those key rules. It’s a language with a very “human” approach, which makes it easy to enter the world of programming.

Python versus rest of the world

Let me illustrate this with a simple example. Displaying a simple message “Hello World!” - it is a first step in the world of programming that almost everyone starts with. First, we’ll do it using the Python language.

    
print('Hello, world!')
    

And now for comparison we will do the same thing in another popular language C++:

    
#include 

int main() {
	std::cout << "Hello, world!";
	return 0;
}
    

See the difference? That’s what sets Python apart - simplicity. Of course, C++ is a language that is indispensable in many situations. However, it is not a good choice to start with because of its complexity.

A tangible suggestion

My suggestion is simple. Start learning programming with Python. Just take that first step and see how you feel about this topic. When you master the basics and fundamental concepts of programming then it will be time to make decisions about choosing specific languages, technologies and career direction.

The most important thing is to make this first step and Python is definitely the best choice here.

Marek - Python Curriculum Manager at Codenga