Which Programming Languages Should New Developers Learn First

A small list of programming languages

If you’re just beginning your journey in software development, you may be wondering which language to learn first. With the large amount of languages to learn, it can be hard to determine where to begin. Which language you choose to start with really depends on what your goals are and what you hope to do with programming. If you want to be a web developer, you should focus on languages that will help you design, style, and build modern web apps. If you are more focused on game development, your skill set will be completely different.

So, if you are new to development, where should you begin? In this article, we’ll go over a few languages that provide a great starting point for those who have little to no experience programming. Some languages are more suitable to beginners, and some will require a bit more effort to study and learn. However, all of these languages are integral parts of the software stacks used by the largest tech companies in the world**,** and learning how to effectively develop software using them will give you the skills necessary to find a job in tech and create great software.


HTML and CSS provide a great starting point for a new developer. Though not considered true programming languages, they lay the groundwork for the world wide web. HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, was developed at CERN in the late 80’s and early 90’s in order to make it easier to share and access information via web browsers. It uses tags, such as the <html>, <body>, and <section> tags, to define the structure of a web page.

CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, was developed shortly after HTML, and is used to add styling to web pages. With CSS, developers can add background colors, change font sizes and styles, and change the positioning of HTML components on the page. Using these two languages, a developer can easily create a simple, static web page and host that page on GitHub, Heroku, or similar hosting platforms.


JavaScript is the first “true” programming language on this list. JavaScript is an object-oriented language that is used to make web pages interactive. With JavaScript, developers can create interactive features like buttons and search bars, manipulate static information on the page, and even create 2D and 3D animations. Though not necessarily the easiest language for beginners to learn, it is usually one of the first recommended to new developers. JavaScript is great for beginners because it allows new developers to learn about important concepts like functions and objects without having to struggle with more complicated tasks like memory allocation or garbage collection. JavaScript also has a similar syntax to many other languages like C, Dart, and Java, which can make transitioning from JavaScript to another language (or vice versa) easier.

JavaScript developers are in high demand, and the technology ranks as the #1 most popular on the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey according to professional respondents. Salaries are usually higher than average for developers who know JavaScript. It’s also the basis for many popular web frameworks, such as Node.js, Gatsby, Vue.js, and React. Knowing JavaScript will give you a strong foundation when learning these frameworks, and mastering frameworks like these will give you the ability to develop across platforms using a JavaScript-based language.


Python is one of the most popular languages for new developers to learn. Similar to the other languages on this list, Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language with a simple syntax that gets rid of extra brackets and punctuation. This makes rapid development of applications easy, but also makes the language very easy for beginners.

Python is a multi-faceted language that can be used for many different applications. Python is used in web development (Django, Flask), data science and machine learning (Numpy, Pandas, Scikit-Learn), game development, and even hardware programming. Some of the largest organizations in the world utilize Python. From Google to Netflix to NASA, Python is used to create some of the largest and most valuable systems and products in the world. Python’s popularity has grown steadily since it’s inception in 1991, and continues to grow each year. Some of the fastest growing tech jobs in the world, such as machine learning and data engineering, now require significant experience and expertise developing with Python.


Created by Apple to replace Objective-C, Swift has quickly become the most popular programming language for development in the Apple ecosystem. If you use an iPhone, Macbook , or Apple Watch, and hope to develop Apple products in the future, this is one language to focus on. Although used extensively on Apple platforms, Swift was also designed to be an easy-to-use general-purpose language. Since being made available for Windows in 2020, Swift has been used to create server-side applications, web services, and other cross-platform software.

Swift is open-source language, and there are many free resources available to new developers, including educational books, blogs, and even apps. One of the most popular tools for learning Swift is the app Swift Playgrounds, which teaches new developers the language using interactive animations that are controlled by user code. You can download the app for free from the app store on a Mac or iPad device.


Originally designed for embedded systems like TV set-top boxes, Java has become one of the most widely-used languages in the world. It is primarily used for desktop applications, mobile development, and backend projects involving big data, especially in the e-commerce and finance industries. Java is also the go-to language for scientific applications, especially for natural language learning and research involving the manipulation of large data sets.

One of the most well-known uses for Java is in Android Development. Android is an open-source OS for mobile devices, and is most commonly associated with Google devices. With over 3 million devices running on Android, learning to develop on the platform will quickly give you a high-demand and marketable skill set that is sought out by some of the largest tech companies in the world.

If you take many online courses, you may end up using languages not listed here, such as Scratch or C++. Although there are many other languages out there that are influential in the world of software development, the languages listed above are both some of the easiest to learn and the most widely used technologies in the world. After mastering and completing a few projects in these languages, you will be able to develop a portfolio and skill set that is desirable and competitive in the tech world.

Copyright © 2021 - Peter J Schmidt