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What'sthebestlanguagetostartcodingin?

Natasha Ravinand
Natasha Ravinand Author of "Girls With Dreams"
almost 2 years Irvine, CA, United States Conversation

Hi all!

Recently, I've seen that Stanford University dropped Java as an introductory CS course in place of Javascript. That got me thinking, what is the best programming language to learn as a first? My first one was C++, and even though it was difficult, it was easier to understand other languages, particularly Java itself.


What do you guys think? What's the best introductory programming language to learn?

4 replies

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  • David Pham
    David Pham CTO/CPO of Mogul
    almost 2 years ago

    This is a great question! In my opinion, a good introductory programming language for an absolute beginner has a few characteristics:


    1. It is general-purpose - some languages are focused on a very specific task, while others are general and can do almost anything, though maybe not as well as the single-purpose languages. When a language is general purpose, you learn how to think like a programmer. When a language is single-purpose, you learn how to think in that particular language. Of course you want to learn to think in that particular language, but thinking like a programmer is the real lesson here. Once you think like a programmer, you can accomplish almost anything you can dream up.
    2. It is easy to read - a heuristic here is "does it look like English?"
    3. It is easy to understand - similar to the 1st characteristic but a heuristic here is when a beginner is given a piece of code in this language, does it mean what they think it means?
    4. It is easy to setup - in order to begin programming in this language, how many things do you have to do and how simple/complex are those things?
    5. It has a big community - as a beginner, you generally do not want to start learning a language that only 2 people know in the world

    Okay, now that I've listed out all of those things, my recommendation is Ruby. Check it out at https://www.ruby-lang.org!

    This is a great question! In my opinion, a good introductory programming language for an absolute beginner has a few characteristics:


    1. It is general-purpose - some languages are focused on a very specific task, while others are general and can do almost anything, though maybe not as well as the single-purpose languages. When a language is general purpose, you learn how to think like a programmer. When a language is single-purpose, you learn how to think in that particular language. Of course you want to learn to think in that particular language, but thinking like a programmer is the real lesson here. Once you think like a programmer, you can accomplish almost anything you can dream up.
    2. It is easy to read - a heuristic here is "does it look like English?"
    3. It is easy to understand - similar to the 1st characteristic but a heuristic here is when a beginner is given a piece of code in this language, does it mean what they think it means?
    4. It is easy to setup - in order to begin programming in this language, how many things do you have to do and how simple/complex are those things?
    5. It has a big community - as a beginner, you generally do not want to start learning a language that only 2 people know in the world

    Okay, now that I've listed out all of those things, my recommendation is Ruby. Check it out at https://www.ruby-lang.org!

  • Michelle Mav
    almost 2 years ago Chicago, IL, United States

    @Estefanie Alvarez codes! Maybe she knows! :)

    @Estefanie Alvarez codes! Maybe she knows! :)

  • Rachel Borowicz
    Rachel Borowicz Software Engineer & Arts Philanthropist
    2y ago San Francisco, CA, United States

    Oh wow. I can't believe they dropped Java. Personally, I loved learning Ruby on Rails. Do you happen to know that language @Natasha Ravinand ?

    Oh wow. I can't believe they dropped Java. Personally, I loved learning Ruby on Rails. Do you happen to know that language @Natasha Ravinand ?

    • Natasha Ravinand
      Natasha Ravinand Author of "Girls With Dreams"
      2y ago Irvine, CA, United States

      I know! It's kind of surprising they dropped Java as Javascript is more front-end. Perhaps Python would've been a better choice :-) Personally, I don't know Ruby on Rails, but I've become quite aware of its popularity these days.

      I know! It's kind of surprising they dropped Java as Javascript is more front-end. Perhaps Python would've been a better choice :-) Personally, I don't know Ruby on Rails, but I've become quite aware of its popularity these days.


Natasha Ravinand
Author of "Girls With Dreams"

Natasha Ravinand is President of Northwood High School's Mogul program, and is highly interested in pursuing engineering and business. Natasha has penned "Girls With Dreams", a nonfiction book detailing how childhood implications of gender biases influence the lack of women entering STEM careers. [...]

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