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11/8/2015
12:05 PM

10 Top Programming Languages For Learning To Code

Everyone wants to learn how to code, but what is the best entry point? Here are 10 top ways to check "programming" off your skills life-list.
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Python
According to the ACM (an organization that really should know), Python is the most popular way for universities to teach students their first language. Python is a general-purpose language that starts from a simple code base and adds extensions as necessary to allow for complex projects.
The good news about Python is that it emphasizes clear, simple syntax that can later be related to a number of other languages. The bad news is that it will be a challenge to build a career on Python. It's not one of the 'heavy hitter' production languages in high demand among large organizations. It's unlikely that you'll regret learning Python, though, and its popularity at universities means there are a lot of resources to help someone who's learning the ropes.
(Image: Python Software Foundation via python.org)

Python

According to the ACM (an organization that really should know), Python is the most popular way for universities to teach students their first language. Python is a general-purpose language that starts from a simple code base and adds extensions as necessary to allow for complex projects.

The good news about Python is that it emphasizes clear, simple syntax that can later be related to a number of other languages. The bad news is that it will be a challenge to build a career on Python. It's not one of the "heavy hitter" production languages in high demand among large organizations. It's unlikely that you'll regret learning Python, though, and its popularity at universities means there are a lot of resources to help someone who's learning the ropes.

(Image: Python Software Foundation via python.org)

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Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
11/11/2015 | 5:49:42 PM
Re: Quite Different From the Old Days
@DDURBIN1, your progression of languages looks a lot like mine (though I left COBOL until later in the process.) And your question about longevity is a good one. I suspect that C++ and Java will still be hanging around, though I suspect that more and more interactions with the computer will involve "building blocks" rather than lines of code. Unless you're doing stuff that seriously stresses the hardware (or are tasked with doing things on a system level) the machines have gotten fast enough to gracefully deal with the inefficiencies of a more remote approach.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
11/11/2015 | 5:44:42 PM
Re: Top 10 Programming Languages
@biggsy, your comment gets straight to one of the biggest philosophical questions in the whole "learning to code" discussion: Should the initial coding education focus on "programming basics" like logic, numerical analysis, and process control; or should it emphasize the working of the computer itself (with the OS thrown in for good measure)?

I came down on the former side, though I'm willing to be convinced that I'm wrong. If I'm going to teach someone about the hardware I'm probably going to dive right into assembler, though I'm almost certainly going to choose a relatively simple processor. In retrospect, IBM's BAL was a dream language for that purpose.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
11/10/2015 | 6:41:48 PM
Re: And JavaScript
@Somdude8, JavaScript was #11 on my list. I thought hard about including it, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it even though I agree with all the points you made. I should probably do another list of scripting languages still being used out in the real world: REXX, anyone?
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
11/9/2015 | 7:15:27 PM
Java: Strongly versus loosely typed
One of the biggest differences between Java and some of the more modern scripting languages is that Java is strongly typed. Variables need to be of a defined type to be accepted by the Java program, which limits the mischief that can be done through the program. Some scripting languages are loosely typed and have a more open door to tampering.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2015 | 9:45:30 AM
Quite Different From the Old Days
First language I learned, BASIC followed by COBOL, Pascal, Fortran, APL,  RPG and lastly PowerBuilder.  I wonder if these 10 posted here will still be around in another 20 or 30 years. 
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