Do You Compute? A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Languages

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Have you ever wanted to build your own video game or have a career in tech? If so, learning to code is the first step.

But with dozens of programming languages to choose from, each with their own specific purpose, how will you know where to start?

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular programming languages for beginners and their uses.

The C Language Family

C Language was one of the first modern system programming languages to gain widespread popularity. Along with its spinoffs, C Language is still widely used today. It’s useful for organizing data libraries and building software programs. However, it wasn’t designed for a web-based environment.

Over the years, advanced languages based on the original C framework have become more popular than C Language. These include C++, Objective-C, and C#.


C++ is an object-oriented programming language that’s useful for building software packages, games, video editors, and even operating systems. Its general-purpose nature makes it an ideal language for beginners to learn. Companies that distribute software written with C++ include Google, Adobe, Mozilla, and Microsoft.

Because the inexpensive and easy to use Arduino microprocessors use on C++, it’s a fantastic language to learn if you’d like to tackle beginner projects like programming your own LED light displays.


C# is a newer language released in 2002. It’s designed for use on a Microsoft Windows platform and a .NET framework and can create XML-based web services.

C# doesn’t have any cross-platform applications. Even so, it has become the language of choice for many tech professionals that deal with large-scale Windows websites and applications. It’s designed for easy learning and functions like Java.


Like C++, Objective-C is an all-purpose, object-oriented programming language. Apple developed it in the 1980s to make up for some of the shortfalls of C Language and have used it to program Apple and iOS devices ever since.

The simplicity of Objective-C makes it a great starter language for people with an interest in developing iPhone apps. But in recent years, Swift has been replacing Objective-C as leader of the iOS app scene.


Created by Apple developers in 2014, Swift is the modernized, open-source version of Objective-C. It uses a more advanced debugger, compiler, and framework to provide infrastructure to the newest iOS and OS X apps.

Swift is an intuitive language that’s built for experimentation. Newbies can use the Playground app for iOS to learn the language and see immediate results. But Swift isn’t only for fun and games—it’s used for app development by companies including Getty Images, Dow Jones, and Slack.


If you asked a room full of programming experts what the most useful coding language is for a beginner to learn, a good number of them would say Java. Java is another high-level, object-oriented language, and it’s an all-purpose workhorse. It’s ideal for cross-platform web and software development and is often used to build videogames and mobile apps as well.

Java is the foundation for many of your favorite software programs, including Adobe’s Creative Suite, OpenOffice, and Minecraft. It’s also the primary language used in Android app development. Beginners love learning Java because of the wealth of free resources, tutorials, and starter projects put online by experts and hobbyists alike.


While Python is a complex and advanced language, it was built to be efficient, simple, and easily readable. It’s a popular option for introductory programming courses in college due to its flexibility and multi-purpose nature. It’s used by technological powerhouses like NASA, Google, and YouTube for systems integration, web development, and CMS creation.

Like C++, Python is great for those who want to play around with DIY programming projects. You can use it to create raspberry pi digital signage, automate repetitive tasks, or even build your own text-based adventure game.


Despite their similar names, Java and JavaScript aren’t related entities. JavaScript is a client-facing language, meaning that it runs on a client machine (a browser) instead of a server. It functions as an interface that connects the user to a server, performing tasks like reading and writing cookies.

JavaScript creates interactive websites and dynamic page elements. It’s also sometimes used in game development and to build application programming interfaces (APIs). It’s easy to learn the basics and start adding features to web pages beyond what HTML frameworks can offer.


HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the backbone of the internet. It uses tags to format text and images into a consistent display that’s compatible with web browsers. If you’d like to see HTML in action, right-click on any web page and select “view page source” to see the formatted elements.

If you’re interested in internet development at any level, HTML is worth your time to learn. It can work alongside other languages like CSS to design beautiful, custom web pages and emails.


Ruby (used alone or alongside the Ruby on Rails web framework) is an open-source, object-oriented coding language that’s quickly gaining popularity among beginners and web developers alike. It’s fantastic for managing and tracking information. It’ss also used in web development, robotics, networking, and 3d modeling. Not only is it fun and simple to learn, but it also has countless real-world applications.

Famous Ruby users include Github, Basecamp, Amazon, and Twitter. It’s even used by NASA engineers to perform research simulations. Because it’s open source, it’s completely free for every user to copy, modify, and distribute however they like.

Get Started with These Programming Languages for Beginners

Learning to code is a fulfilling pursuit that can open up a world of professional and personal opportunities. So if you’re looking for a place to start, give one of these popular programming languages for beginners a try!

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