Before picking your 1st programming language, read this now.

Written by on Jul 15 2016

So you’ve decided to learn to code…now you need to choose a language to start learning with. Well, there’s, PHP, JAVA, Ruby, Python, Django, Elixir…yeah there’s a lot of choices. It’s extremely overwhelming to choose your first programming language. I know, I remember, I was just starting out less than two years ago. Some people say it doesn’t matter what you choose as your first language. Do not to listen to them, it’s hugely important. Here are two factors to consider before making a decision that might influence the rest of your career.

1. Consider Career Outlook

Try to imagine your dream job.

  • Are you interested in working on mobile applications?
  • Do you want to make things pretty and interactive?
  • Do you like that idea of working on large data-driven applications?
  • What type of job would you want?

Once you have an idea of what you want to do go to Indeed, type in your position, and see what languages those positions require. If you are having trouble deciding what position would be a good fit check out this awesome Infographic.

For me, I was obsessed with the idea of working for a small company. I wanted to be as hands-on as possible and see a project through from an idea to deployment. After deciding this I found a few different languages that fit the bill. Narrowing down my decision between that handful of languages is where step two came into play.  

2. Evaluate The Community

Learning to code is really damn hard. There are going to be many times where you question if this is the right path for you (it may not be). This is why it is extremely important to make sure you are surrounded by a supportive community. You will find help and inspiration in that community when you are feeling down which will motivate you to keep going.

Looking back on my first year coding I spent many nights frustrated and feeling like giving up.  Countless times I questioned if I would ever learn enough to get a job as a programmer. Thanks to the strong, beginner friendly, and supportive community around Ruby; I was able to get through the tough times without giving up or smashing my laptop into millions of tiny pieces.

The Ruby community really stood out as an extremely welcoming group of developers. It amazes me that people are willing to spend time helping others learn, without expecting anything in return. I hope to one day give back to the community that has helped me so much.

It would not be an overstatement to say that attending meetups was the most important factor in building my programming skills. Surrounding myself with others who are interested and excited about programming was one of the best decisions I made. Choose a programming language with the local meetup group, you’ll thank me later.

Keep Moving Forward

The path to getting a software developer job can feel overwhelming if you don’t take things one step at a time. I hope that these two tips for picking your first programming language will make one of the first, and most important, steps a little bit easier for you. There will be times when you feel like there are insurmountable tasks to overcome before getting that first job. But I’m here to say, stay calm, reach out to me or other programmers. You’ll find we’re here to help you.

Hey programmers, can you leave suggestions in the comments on what language you first started with & why?


Hi I'm Michael,

I wrote the article you're reading... After spending a year in the jungles of Costa Rica, I had an epiphany and decided to pursue a career in software development. When I'm not pressing buttons on my keyboard you can find me experimenting with my one true love, Carolina BBQ. Mmmmmmm BBQ.

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