How to Choose a Programming Language in 2024

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Table of Contents

Examine Your Goals and Interests

It’s crucial to consider your interests and goals while choosing which programming language to learn. Are you thinking about becoming an engineer or software developer for a living? Do you have an interest, in creating apps automating tasks or building websites? To streamline your choices consider making a list of your coding learning objectives.

Additionally, pinpoint any types of projects that appeal to you or industries you may want to work in. For example, if you’re excited by video games and animations, exploring C++, C#, or Java makes sense. If you aspire to work for a large enterprise company, languages like Java and C# used widely in those environments are good options. Think about what gets you energized so your learning journey is interesting and fulfilling.

Evaluate Each Language’s Career Prospects

With your objectives in mind, dive into background on languages you’re considering to understand their real-world use and career prospects. Programming languages have different strengths and uses, so focus on options aligned with your goals.

For instance, if you want to get a junior developer role at a startup, Ruby, Python, and JavaScript are great starter languages with lots of entry-level job opportunities. If you’re interested in front-end web development, JavaScript is the dominant language you’ll need to land those roles. Do some research on each language’s industry adoption and ecosystem to guide your choice.

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Consider Which Languages Are In Demand

Today’s most in-demand programming languages are worthwhile starting places if you want abundant career opportunities. According to the TIOBE Index for January 2024, the current top languages include Python, Java, C, C++, C#, Visual Basic .NET, JavaScript, PHP, R, and Swift.

Python tops the list as an immensely popular general purpose language used everywhere from AI programming to web development and data science. Java and C also have remarkable staying power as pillars of server-side and enterprise development. Newer languages like Rust and Kotlin are rapidly growing in adoption too. Choosing an in-demand language will pay dividends in more job options.

programming language

Weigh a Language’s Difficulty Level

Programming languages have varying learning curves, so it helps to consider how easy or challenging a language will be to pick up. As a beginner, simpler languages allow you to start building projects faster to keep you motivated.

Python and Ruby are often cited as reasonably easy languages for first-time coders. Their straightforward, English-like syntax lets new developers quickly grasp concepts and application logic. On the other hand, languages like C and C++ involve more complexity in memory management and other lower level operations. If those areas intimidate you early on, start with a language known for more approachable learning.

Determine How Versatile or Specialized It Is

Think about whether you want to begin with an extremely versatile language used for all types of development or start specializing early on. Broadly applicable languages will allow you to build all kinds of apps and help you discover what areas most excite you as a developer.

For instance, JavaScript now transcends its web development origins as a jack-of-all-trades language that can power full stack web apps, servers, IoT devices, and more. Swift sees adoption across iOS, server-side, and systems programming use cases too. If you want to keep your options open, these utility players have a lot to offer.

On the flip side, you may want to dive straight into a domain-specific language tailored for one purpose. wants to focus exclusively on machine learning, Python with its incredible libraries and frameworks is tough to beat. Consider what breadth vs depth of focus appeals most to boost motivation.

Evaluate Available Learning Resources

When selecting a programming language, be sure to explore the breadth of available learning materials, documentation, frameworks, and tools available. Well-established languages will have overwhelmingly more tutorials, Stack Overflow answers, packages, IDE extensions, and other resources that make them easier to pick up.

For example, JavaScript has a seemingly infinite set of courses and project ideas online as arguably the most-taught programming language globally. Smaller languages may not have the same abundance of materials, making self-directed learning more difficult. Ensure the language you choose has great information accessibility.

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Gauge Community Size and Support

An active user community represents another significant advantage when adopting a programming language. Languages with lots of practitioners also have more meetups locally and globally, well-managed forums and chat channels, diverse conferences, and an abundance of information sharing.

Languages like Python, Java, JavaScript, Go, Rust, and TypeScript are leaders here with huge communities invested in new developer onboarding. If you ever get stuck on an issue, there are endless people to connect with which accelerates your learning immensely. Be sure to assess the communication channels and events available around languages you’re interested in.

Consider Interoperability With Other Languages

Finally, determine what other tech stacks and languages may be useful to pair with your first language.As a novice developer being able to adapt to project types can enhance your flexibility. Make you more marketable, in the job market.

For example, JavaScript is the leading front-end web language that also combines seamlessly with popular back-end languages like Node.js, Python, Java, C# and PHP. This means you can start with JavaScript for website development then evolve into full stack programming. Go and Rust also interoperate well with tons of major languages like C++ and Python. Think about the integrations ahead so you can expand your abilities.

Conclusion

Choosing your first programming language is an exciting step into the world of development. Focus on your goals and interests to home in on options aligned with the work you want to do. Evaluate key factors like real-world adoption, versatility, learning materials and community to determine the best choice.

Prioritizing programming language that provide abundant career opportunities, resources and support will make your learning process smoother. And thinking about future interoperability will set you up for growth. Use these guidelines to find the best language for your needs today.

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