Which Programming Language Should You Learn? The Infographic to Code It All
Looking to learn how to code, but not sure where to start? We found an excellent infographic explaining the ways programming languages differ that can help you decide which path you should take to master your career in IT. As a special bonus for the Lord of the Rings fans there’s even a table with a creative comparison of various languages to the story’s characters. Zoom in on the infographic image by clicking on it below, or just read on.
Although software developers tend to advocate the language they code with the most we attempted to put all the information that we know together in as concise and essential way as possible:
Difficulty: One of the easiest programming languages to learn.
For whom: Suitable for beginners and someone who wants to start their career in programming.
What for: Once you learn Python you’ll be able to make your own websites and apps. Also used for writing Automation tests.
Benefits: a cost-effective programming language to learn as it requires less code to complete basic tasks (as compared to other languages). Python code is often 3-5 times shorter than Java, and 5-10 times shorter than C++. Plus there’s a big online community so you’re never left alone and a lot of resources available, both free and paid.
For whom: For those who want to learn the programming language of HTML and the Web and pursue his/her career as a front-end developer.
For whom: Those who want to make fun and work on personal projects and startups.
What for: Rapid prototyping with Ruby on Rails – a web framework for the Ruby programming language that makes it possible to quickly build complex web applications. In short, Rails takes care of some of the more complex features and functionality that almost all web applications share and lets software developers focus on what makes their web application unique.
Benefits: Since Ruby reads almost like plain English it is easy to read and fun to learn plus existing open source community and Ruby on Rails framework make it a smart choice.
For whom: If you’re looking for a career in the web design/web scripting industry then you just have to learn it.
What for: PHP is used to enhance web pages. With PHP, you can do things like create username and password login pages, check details from a form, create forums, picture galleries, surveys, and a whole lot more. If you’ve come across a web page that ends in PHP, then the author has written some programming code to liven up the plain, old HTML. Mind that PHP may be quirky so it may take a while to dig out the solutions in the web.
Benefits: It’s easily available in even the cheapest shared hosting servers and runs some of the biggest web sites. There are plenty of frameworks available for the PHP language.
Difficulty: Java is one of the more complex programming languages and can be a stepping stone to learning more sophisticated computer programming languages.
For whom: If you are a programmer and want to get a highly paid job as a Java developer/software engineer or start your own business creating software programs and games.
What for: Used to create powerful web applications and cross-platform apps and games.
Benefits: Portability – Java is running on every platform imaginable. Java is also slowly tending to become the leader of the IoT (Internet of Things). Availability of the learning resources, good open source community and a big job market that exists by demand makes Java one of the most popular programming languages in the world.
Difficulty: C is one of the more complex languages that favors coding from scratch, as it is foundational for many other languages and frameworks. It is language on which C++ is based on, therefore C# also derives its origin from the C. Java is also a distant cousin of C and share the same programming concept and syntax of C. These are the most dominant languages in the world and all are based on C. To rock the world through them you must get rocking with C.
For whom: Those who want to get into systems programming.
What for: If you want to write a great, fast game. You can write an entire OS or device drivers in C. It’ll be much harder to do so in Java, and nearly impossible in a scripting language. The reason is that C provides access to the most basic elements of the code.
Benefits: C provides faster execution of programs, there is a ton of source code available plus a lot of tutorials are available by programmers who know C inside and out since the language has been around for 30 years.
Difficulty: Quite simple if you already know C, C++, or Java which is syntactically very similar to C#. Sure, some of the conventions are different, but the structure is fundamentally the same. The difference between Java and C# are less the differences between two different languages and more like the differences between two dialects of English. Even if you decide to learn C# as your first language mind that other languages will be a piece of a cake.
For whom: If you plan to work mainly on Windows platform.
What for: “C Sharp” is developed to be used for Microsoft’s .NET framework, which runs primarily on Microsoft Windows. It’s used for web development, game development, and general Microsoft development. Recently you can also use C# to build native mobile apps for iOS and Android through Xamarin.
Benefits: There are tons of great C# resources, including instructional websites, videos, books, and manuals.
Difficulty: Consider Objective-C as a manual car that you have to learn to drive.
For whom: If you want to be an iOS Software Developer.
What for: iOS and OS X development.
Benefits: Since Apple released Swift and Objective-C only works for Apple products, it may not be living a long life. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn it since most open-source projects for iOS development are still written in Objective-C. Just keep an eye on Swift as a language that may substitute Objective-C in the nearest future. It is a pleasure to drive an auto car (Swift) which has a lot to offer but what if your friend in a manual car gets drunk?
Difficulty: The hardest for beginners but at the same time worth an effort to learn it. Also based on C.
For whom: If you want to master all types of software with high performance and high reliability
What for: C-plus-plus programming language is designed for programming systems software, but has also been used to build games/game engines, desktop apps, mobile apps, and web apps. It is a main language for the most game engines, particularly Unity and Unreal Engine.
Benefits: Powerful and fast
Simple as that. Well obviously it still can be hard to make the right choice but we hope that this article will at least ease your pain so you will avoid the mistake of choosing the one that you’ll not enjoy in the future (like I did with choosing German instead of Spanish in the high school). Nevertheless you know the saying “the more languages you know the higher salary you can get”. For more info on difference in salaries between New York and San Francisco see our Software Developer Salaries table.