What coding language to start learning first?

Discussion in 'Tech Chat' started by Cheese4Everyone, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Cheese4Everyone

    Cheese4Everyone Ambassador to our Sentient Dairy-Based Overlords

    Considering learning to code a bit in my free time, mostly for fun and because I'm interested in learning. What language do you think I should start with and what site should I use to practice. So far I've found CodeAcademy and Code Avengers.

    Why do you guys think?
  2. Reechard

    Reechard Server Admin VF4-S (Server Operator) Minecraft Operator Staff Member Minecraft Admin

  3. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (One-man Show) VF4-S (Server Operator) Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member DMC Tester TF2L developer

    Most people tend to start with Java, there are a lot of tutorials around and it helps build an understanding of object-oriented programming and c-like languages which is useful for many of the following languages. Also it's pretty general purpose and while it may not be the best tool for the job, it works pretty well for getting your feet wet in a lot of different areas.

    Once you're comfortable with that, the next language to learn (or if you don't want to do java, the first language) is based on what you'd like to do:

    Do you want to do web design/web stuff? Start with HTML/CSS and then PHP
    Game design? C-based languages are your best bet, but probably a bit more advanced than beginner.
    Game graphics? You'll probably have to pick one of OpenGL/SDL/DirectX
    Lots of text processing (also works for a lot of general stuff)? Perl

    That's just what comes to mind immediately; everyone has their own preferences so you'll probably get some more mixed answers and suggestions.
  4. Cheese4Everyone

    Cheese4Everyone Ambassador to our Sentient Dairy-Based Overlords

    For the moment I'm just looking for something to start with that will give me a taste of coding and some useful basic tools and skills. I've been interested in learning to code for awhile but don't have time to take a formal class at the moment. I want to figure out if I really enjoy it and should devote some of my college schedule to classes.
  5. Cheese4Everyone

    Cheese4Everyone Ambassador to our Sentient Dairy-Based Overlords

    Also is what is the difference between Java and Java Script if one exists?
  6. VintagePC

    VintagePC GodModePC (One-man Show) VF4-S (Server Operator) Forum Operator Minecraft Operator Global Moderator Staff Member DMC Tester TF2L developer

    Personally I'd recommend Java or Perl in that scenario as they are good introductory languages. There are probably quite a few tutorial resources for both of them so you'll have to decide for yourself which you'd like to go with.

    JavaScript is a light-weight scripting language embedded in modern web-browsers that lets you add active elements to web-pages.

    Java is a full-fledged programming language that lets you make standalone applications that don't need a browser to run.
  7. Reechard

    Reechard Server Admin VF4-S (Server Operator) Minecraft Operator Staff Member Minecraft Admin

    If you want a toolset that will give you the basics and maybe expand you into a career, I'd say go with Perl and Bash, as you can get admin/programming jobs with that if you apply yourself well.

    As for Java vs Javascript, they're similar, but Java is writing an entire self-contained program, while javascript is writing a set of instructions that are fed into a browser and executed. They're both like playing with Legos, but Java is like playing with regular legos and building something complex, whilst JavaScript is more like those big megablock legos you had when you were much younger, they're easier to work with, take up more space, and you can still build some pretty impressive stuff with them. Javascript is also way easier to learn, but isn't quite as powerful
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Arron Dominion

    Arron Dominion Achievement Hunter

    Forgive me if I am beating a dead thread, but I think this is an important thread for all who are wanting to get into programming (which can be fun believe it or not).

    I honestly recommend starting off with Python, or Scheme. From there I would move to Java, then branch out to C once you are comfortable. After that I would touch C++. Then after that, it is your call, just keep in mind that all languages have their purpose and some are better for different tasks, such as PHP/Ruby/Perl/Python being good for web development.

    Python is a multipurpose language that is very script-like due to the high order nature of it, and all the different ways of using the language. You can do beginner exercises, object-oriented programming, and even functional programming. The downside (and upside) is that all your variables are not held to a strict type until the program is called. The benefit is that you can create a variable and assign it any value. The downside in larger projects is that it is difficult to track the values for the various variables. I highly recommend if you want to touch a lot of different concepts without worrying as much on formalities.
    Python resources:

    Scheme is a strictly functional programming language. What this means is that everything is a function, and you have to define the behavior if you are calling it. The way arithmetic is also somewhat different with the operator coming first then the numbers/variables i.e.: (+ 1 4)
    Scheme resources:
    http://www.scheme.com/ (actual textbook here: http://www.scheme.com/tspl4/ )

    If you want to learn an interactive development environment, I recommend using Eclipse:
    https://www.eclipse.org/downloads/ (standard option)
    With the PyDev framework:

    Regardless of what language you are choosing, I recommend having this program installed:

    This provides syntax highlighting for a large number of programming or scripting languages, and it supports user written syntax highlighting, and you can download what others have created for this.

    Hopefully this is helpful for those wanting to get started with programming.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. SoL DarkLord


    I would check out Codecademy it's a site that has tutorials on 6 various languages including Javascript and Python.
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