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What programming language must you learn?

Every now and then(like every 2 nano-seconds) , a user will come onto a forum and ask: "What programming language should I learn?"

Not long afterwards ,somebody will whip out their snake(python) followed by everybody's own personal favorite language. The whole process is a mess and can leave a newcomer confused.

An important thing to note is that the language you start with is probably not the language you will end up using. I personally started programming by messing around in Visual Basic 6 , Got my diploma in C# and C++(half lang). I now mainly work in Objective-C , but also implement PHP services among other things.

Become a language agnostic programmer

Once you have learned the basics of programming in any language , learning another language is much quicker. The part that takes time when learning a new language is not really the syntax, but the libraries that are used to get specific tasks done.  Knowing a full language and most of its libraries means that you are specialised in that language ,it is most likely your favorite language, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it shouldn't be your only language. Certain programming languages are designed for specific purposes and should be used appropriately . PHP for a back-end web service?  awesome! For a full featured 3D game? I wouldn't even try.

The bottom line is ,choose your first programming language based on what your goals are ,but be prepared to learn new languages as time and circumstances/goals change. Newcomers should realise that if you are going to become a programmer , you are not stuck with the first language you started with, the industry is forever changing,and once you have learned one language , its much easier to pick up other languages along the way, so the choice of your first language , isn't really that important. The important part is that you understand programming itself and its key concepts.

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