What is the best programming language to learn?
Coding is a word that sparks apprehension in people inexperienced with the craft. As a society, we have continuously exceeded expectations to the point where if you can code, it drastically increases your chances of succeeding. Let’s face it, coding is the future of our world.
Even though coding is an essential skill to learn, people who are new to it have trouble starting. If you go to a technology conference, a speaker might say, coding is essential to learn. The unfortunate part is that the speaker does not answer the important question, how do I learn it?
While it might be true that new programmers should learn all the technical parts of coding on their own, they must also be taught a way of starting their journey. It is similar to expecting a car to start without starting the engine. As experienced programmers, it is our job to help the next generation of coders learn what they need to do in order to be successful in the field.
The First Step
When people say that coding is important, what does that mean? If you think about it, this statement is very general. There are roughly 256 known coding languages. Saying that coding is important could be interpreted as saying that you should learn as many coding languages as possible.
While it might seem like a good idea to learn a lot of languages because it might look like you know coding, it is not practical or efficient. When doing anything, it is crucial that you prioritize working smart rather than hard. If you are amazing at the 5 most popular languages compared to average at 20 of them, you will find far more success being amazing at the 5 most popular languages.
Narrowing it down to one
Now that it is established that it is essential to prioritize what you're doing and not do too much, it’s still a bad idea to try and learn the most important languages at once. In school, you learn a subject in units. For example, math is split into several units such as geometry, algebra, measurement, etc. It would be very hard to do a little bit of each unit every class.
Likewise, you have to start with one language. It might seem boring to only do one language because it is always the same thing. However, if you properly choose your first language, the logic you use in it can be carried out to several other languages.
Which is the best?
Now that leaves the question, which coding language is the best one to start with? Every day, arguments happen all over the internet that debate which programming languages are good and which ones are bad. Like most arguments similar to this, there is no definitive answer.
Let’s take basketball, a topic that is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Everyone debates who is the greatest of all time. Some say Michael Jordan, while others say it is LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. The trend you see is that when you are trying to figure out what is the best option in something, there is almost never a definitive answer.
However, there are still arguments that narrow it down from everything or everyone to a select few. After doing several hours of research, I have come to the conclusion that Python is arguably the best language to learn.
There are several reasons to the claim that Python is an excellent language to learn, but perhaps the most prominent one is the fact that it is extremely popular. If a coding language is popular and common, it makes sense to learn that language. In fact, Stack Overflow has said that “ Python has a solid claim to being the fastest-growing major programming language.” By realizing that the popularity of Python is increasing every day, it will motivate people to start learning it.
You can apply what you learned from Python to other languages
If you have mastered something, it is easy to apply that knowledge to something that is similar to it. Python is called an Object-Oriented Programing Language. This makes it much easier to learn other Object-Oriented Programming Languages that are much harder, such as Java.
For example, no matter what car you are in, driving will always be the same. The side in which the driver sits could change, but it’s the same concept. In this case, functions, variables and other coding concepts do the same thing, it is just that the syntax changes depending on what language you are using.
However, most languages have the same syntax which means you could do any of them. What makes Python a better starting language than the others?
When people are deciding on a starting language they are looking for something that is easy to pick up. Java is an example of a difficult language. If someone tries to learn Java in their first language, they will most likely give up.
On the contrary, Python is designed so that syntax is much easier to understand and much more efficient. An excellent example is looking at Python vs other languages doing simple tasks. If you want to print “Hello world”, Python would take one line of code while C or C++ would take 5–6. No matter how you look at it, Python is one of the most well-rounded languages in the history of programming.
The difference between Python and other easy languages is that Python is also extremely powerful.
Using Python in AI
It’s good to have an easy language to learn. However, if it is not being used in important things then what is the point? The beauty of Python is that it is both commonly used and easy to learn, something that most languages don’t have. One of the main reasons that the popularity of python has been increasing by quite a bit recently is because of its use in Artificial Intelligence.
A feature that makes Python different from other languages is the fact that Python has access to multiple prebuilt libraries that are useful when dealing with AI. For example, NumPy is used for mathematic calculations, SciPy is for scientific calculations, and PyBrain for machine learning. These libraries contain things that would normally need to be done manually, adding to the simplicity benefit of Python.
As we all know, Programming is the reason AI exists. If there is no programming then there is no AI. It has been reported that roughly 57% of all Machine Learning developers use Python as their primary language when developing AI. People might overlook this at first, but that statistic should be enough to prove that Python is growing in popularity every single day.
So what now?
It is just common sense at this point to realize that Python is being used everywhere and the more time passes by the more popular Python gets. However, even though you should learn Python first, that does not mean that you should completely disregard other languages. As I said earlier, Python is a very well rounded language. When something is well rounded if often isn't the best at certain things.
Java is commonly known to be hard to learn and frustrating. While this is true, it is also responsible for creating games such as Minecraft or Runescape. The point is that while Python is very important, knowing a couple of other languages is also crucial.
If AI is our future, that indirectly means that Python is also our future. The one thing that people still think is that they have time because Python will come in the future. What they don’t realize is that the future is already here.
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