I recommend my brother should learn a programming language or two – but what should he learn?

January 24, 2011 – 5:13 pm

I recommend he learn Action Script 3, XML, and JavaScript over the next 12-18 months. I understand them to be easy to learn and very marketable. How do these languages in regard to ease of learning (different from ease of use!) and marketability compare to:

VB
Flex
Python
PHP
Flash
Ruby
Java
Erling
C
C++
C#
Perl

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  1. 3 Responses to “I recommend my brother should learn a programming language or two – but what should he learn?”

  2. Python is a great first language. It is easy as it gets, it abstracts the really hard stuff while letting you learn the fundamentals, and it has a
    C-like syntax to prepare you for "real" programming.

    people think C++ is starting slowly! Learn programming fundamentals BEFORE you try to tackle things like memory management and Object Oriented Programming. These are VERY difficult concepts for the average person to grasp. As far as Visual Basic goes, it is another one that is good for learning the basics, I actually wrote my first apps in BASIC. The thing is, C-family programming is SO incredibly important to know, and the sooner you get a jump on it, the better you will be. VB is in a class all by itself, meanwhile C-Family spans many many languages. This is why, if I could do it all again, I would have started with Python. The syntax is C-like, it is not "unique". The last thing you need is a language that is unique to itself.

    By C3o on Jan 24, 2011

  3. First thing, XML isn’t a programming language it’s a markup language (thus it’s name… eXtensible Markup Language)

    If your brother is trying to be marketable as a programmer, the language(s) he learns is going to be dependent on the field in which he would like to put his skills to use. Will he be building desktop applications, games, web sites, web applications, what?

    For web development knowledge of markup languages (XHTML, XML) is important in addition to style sheet languages like CSS and XSLT. He’ll also need to learn JavaScript for client-side scripting in addition to PHP, Perl, Java, Ruby, Python, ASP.NET, etc.. for server-side development. Learning all of these won’t be necessary, it just depends on the server / environment he’s coding in and what the purpose of the application is. Some languages are a better choice than others… although, I can’t say I like to use PERL for much of anything. Of course, these server side languages will most likely interface with a database of some kind so he’ll also need to familiarize himself with SQL (Structured Query Language) so that he can use a database management system like MySQL, MSSQL, SQL Server, MS Access, etc…

    As for developing software or games, C++ is a good language to start with. Knowledge of Java will help if he wants to get into developing cross-platform applications or mobile applications. With the exception of the IPhone, which he’ll need to learn Objective-C for.

    To summarize… the language that he should learn is heavily dependent upon what he would like to do as a programmer.

    By if (!TooLegit()) { quit(); } on Jan 24, 2011

  4. Action Scrip is for building Flash content. If that’s all he’s going to do, fine.

    XML is not a programming language; it’s a markup language concept that allows you to build data sets (like in database tables), then combine them with other XML related tools to build richer web pages.

    JavaScript is a scripting language for build client(browser)-side features into a web page. While it has all the features and many capabilities of a programming language, it’s pretty useless outside of web development.

    If he wants to learn *programming*, he should start with C to learn how compiled languages used for applications work. Then follow with C++, of which C is now a subset. C++ will teach him how object programming works.

    If he’s interested in scripting, start with Perl. PHP is also good, but is used mostly in web development. PHP is a bit more straight-forward than Perl, since the PHP object model is similar to other languages. Perl’s is more "bolted on", at least up to version 5. Version 6 of Perl has been in development for some time and promises many significant changes in concepts and implementation.

    Here’s what’s *marketable*, if all he cares about is a job: C++, C#, Java.

    By joe.attaboy on Jan 24, 2011

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