There are many programming languages... so many that there is at least one for every letter of the alphabet! The best known are JavaScript, Java, Python, C#, PHP, C/C++, Ruby, Swift and Objective-C. When you are a beginner it is difficult to choose your first language. We are afraid to "take the wrong one". In this article we will explain to you the criteria to take into account when choosing your first language when you are a beginner in programming. Finally, you will discover why I recommend learning JavaScript as the first programming language. You are a beginner and you are asking yourself the very first question that all beginners ask themselves: which programming language to choose to learn how to program? There are two possibilities:
  • Either you already know what you want to program: a mobile application, a website, a video game, a desktop application etc.
  • Either you don't know too much... but you know you want to learn how to program!
In both cases, the next criteria are applicable.

Which programming language to choose for a video game?

It depends on the platform on which the video game will run. For PC: I recommend C++ (standard in the video game industry), or JavaScript (using Phaser) if you want to make small simple 2D games. For consoles (Xbox, PSX etc.): you must use C/C++ or C#. Take a look at the Software Development Kits (SDKs) made available to developers by the manufacturers of these consoles to learn more. To make an online game: this is JavaScript with HTML/CSS.

Which programming language to choose for the Web?

Again, it depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to make a website on the frontend side (= graphical interface), learn HTML/CSS and JavaScript. If you want to develop data management for a website, i.e. the backend side (= server side), learn PHP, Ruby, or JavaScript (using NodeJS).

Which programming language should I choose for an Android, iOS or Windows Mobile application?

For Android: learn Java (or Kotlin). For iOS: learn Swift, you can still use Objective-C but it will be replaced by Swift in the future. For Windows Mobile: it is C#, VB.NET or C/C++. If you want an application that can run on all these platforms: learn JavaScript and a framework like React Native, Ionic or Cordova.

Which programming language to choose for a desktop application?

Many different languages can be used to develop a desktop application, the most commonly used are Java, C# and C++. You can also use JavaScript with ElectronJS. Desktop software such as the Visual Studio Code editor are developed in TypeScript (a superset of the JavaScript language) using ElectronJS. The performances are there!