If you’ve never coded before, choosing the right first programming language can make a big difference in how difficult the learning curve is going to be. And even if you’re a veteran programmer who’s simply looking to add another language to your skillset, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into if you’re trying to maximize your free time.
While you’ll get different opinions on this topic, here’s a quick rundown of some of the easiest programming languages to learn.
There’s a good reason why Python is arguably the most popular (or second most popular, depending on who you ask) programming language in the world. Python, first created in 1991, is famous for its syntax, which is simpler than many other programming languages and is easily readable. It doesn’t use complex symbols, and emphasizes clear and concisely written code. It’s also an interpreted language, meaning that it runs without having to be converted into machine or an object code. That allows for you to set up your code so that you get instant feedback on whether what you’re written will work or not, and that also means it has a remarkable amount of flexibility when it comes to the sorts of things you can do with it.
If you do run across a stumbling block in your path to mastering Python, you can turn to its huge community for help — other Python devs have created countless tutorials, documents, learning examples, workarounds and more for newbies like they once were themselves.
HTML and CSS
So we’re going to cheat a wee bit here. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are not technically programming languages in the traditional sense — the former is a markup language and the latter a stylesheet language (thus their names). They don’t actually perform the functions of a programming language, but they are essential for developing websites, because they’re what you use to determine the structure and style of a webpage.
HTML and CSS are straightforward and have relatively easy syntax. You can write or change code and then quickly see how what you did changed the way a webpage looks. This sort of immediate visual feedback can make a huge difference in helping you understand how a computer language works. What’s more, publishing to the Web is a fairly easy process, and even complete non-programmers can see the fruits of their labors right away — and almost as quickly figure out where they went wrong and how they ought to fix it.
Ruby’s gained a reputation as a language with built-in simplicity that’s especially user-friendly. Part of this is because it was explicitly designed to be easy to read for human beings and using syntax based on natural language and the way humans process verbal information. It makes a point of being clear and to the point, both good things when you’re learning it. In fact, its creator, Yukihiro Matsumoto, otherwise known as Matz, invented Ruby because he thought it could be used as a way to make people happier and more productive — he actually designed it so it would be fun to code in.
If that weren’t enough, Ruby has a backend framework called Ruby on Rails that makes it even easier to develop for the web, follows the principle of cutting down on repetitious and cumbersome code, and isn’t as picky about things like declaring variables. That and other facets of RoR make it less prone to giving developers headaches.
The downside: While Ruby isn’t disappearing, it’s not nearly as popular as it was in the past.
Though many developers find these to be easier programming languages to learn, everyone’s experiences can vary widely, of course. And depending on what you use your coding skills for, you may find that certain languages are more difficult to use depending on the situation. Luckily, even if you don’t have the time to pick up even the more newbie-friendly programming languages, you can always call for help from experienced developers and software professionals like Plan A Technologies!