3 Basic Programming Languages Every Prospective Programmer Should Learn

Basic Programming Languages

You’re ready to ditch your going-nowhere job for a career you can build upon. The technology industry has the earning potential and career advancement opportunity you know you’re capable of achieving. There’s no time like the present to explore your options and consider pursuing a career as a computer programmer.

Computer programmers are the builders of the digital world. They use different programming languages to write software and fix errors in computer programs. The apps and software you use on a daily basis are all the product of the behind-the-scenes work of computer programmers.

But with so many programming languages out there, how do you know where to start when you’re just beginning to dabble in coding?

We polled the experts to get the scoop on three basic programming languages that are best for beginners like you. Learn about what they’re used for and where they can take you in the world of programming.

3 Basic programming languages for beginners

You don’t want to waste time learning the wrong programming language. So we narrowed it down to three that are perfect for rookie programmers: Java, Python and JavaScript.

“In the programming world, all three languages are good to be familiar with, because you never know which one developers are going to use,” says Walter Latimer, Lead Teaching Assistant at Wyncode Coding Academy. ”Each one has their merits and all three are heavily used in the industry.”

Here’s a breakdown of each language so you can choose the best starting point. We also used real-time job analysis software to determine the number of jobs posted over the past year that required each programming language. Take a look at what we found - you can’t go wrong with these three basic programming languages!

1. Java

Java is one of the original coding languages and it’s still quite popular in mainstream web coding, according to Latimer. Java is used to develop many of the apps we use on a daily basis. Many websites won’t even work properly without Java apps!

Why beginners will love it: Java is the go-to language for newbies who are looking to thoroughly understand coding before delving deeper into more complex languages. “For any serious coder who wants to understand the basics of their craft, Java allows them to get into the nitty gritty,” Latimer says. To understand Java is to understand programming at a fundamental level.

What you can do with it: “Java is essential to developing Android apps,” Latimer explains. Mastering Java can open up doors to a range of job positions, from app developer to software engineer. Java was a skill included in more than 630,000 job postings from the past year, showing just how universal it is.1

2. Python

Python is a general-use programming language known for its readability and straightforward coding philosophy. Python is widely used in the programming world to perform common tasks, such as such as setting up web servers or connecting to a database, explains Herb Susmann, data scientist at Silent Spring Institute

Why beginners will love it: Python’s popularity makes it a smart choice for aspiring web developers. The language itself rejects complexity and is simple to learn. “Python has long been recognized as a good first programming language, so there are many resources available for beginners,” Susmann says.

What you can do with it: A beginner with Python experience would be eligible for opportunities as a back-end developer, writing the server code that makes websites tick, according to Susmann. You can also use Python for tasks like image processing, machine learning or encryption. Nearly 270,000 job postings were seeking candidates with a proficiency in Python over the past year.2

3. JavaScript

JavaScript is a dynamic programming language used most often with Internet browsers. It’s part of the “holy trinity” of front-end web development, according to Tammy Valgardson, senior web developer at Top Draw. “If HTML is the content and CSS is the appearance, then JavaScript is the interactivity on a web page,” she explains. JavaScript is also used in game development, PDFs and both mobile and desktop apps.

Why beginners will love it: JavaScript offers a solid introduction to common programming elements, such as objects, data structures and logic structures, according to Valgardson. There are also plenty of free or low-cost online resources to get you started learning JavaScript.

What you can do with it: Programmers who know JavaScript could find themselves in positions such as web application developer, front-end developer or JavaScript engineer. “Learning JavaScript opens up a career path that can really take you places,” Valgardson says. In fact, JavaScript was a required skill in nearly 470,000 job postings from the past year.3

Prepping to be a programmer?

These basic programming languages are the stepping stones to your successful career as a computer programmer. Computer programming may be just a hobby, but it could develop into a promising profession if you so choose.

Find out if you have what it takes to thrive in the field in our article: Is Computer Programming Hard? Not if You Have These 7 Characteristics.


1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 631,351 Java job postings, Mar. 01, 2015 – Feb. 29, 2016)
2Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 269,277 Python job postings, Mar. 01, 2015 – Feb. 29, 2016)
3Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 467,303 JavaScript job postings, Mar. 01, 2015 – Feb. 29, 2016)

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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