3 Replies - 1877 Views - Last Post: 10 June 2013 - 11:36 AM

#1 keframpton  Icon User is offline

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What language do you suggest I learn?

Posted 10 June 2013 - 08:57 AM

I'm an advertising major and I think I want to do marketing for small tech startups. I feel like it would be beneficial to actually know at least something about programming.

I took a visual basic class back in high school, but remember none of it. (Wait, if/then statements are a thing, right??) And I know a decent amount of HTML.

I'm thinking maybe Python or PHP, but I figured I would ask fellow students.. what was your first language? What would you recommend as a first?

I appreciate your help, guys!

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#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: What language do you suggest I learn?

Posted 10 June 2013 - 09:00 AM

We have a good Which Language thread with lots of detailed responses you may find helpful.

My first language was Java, and it was for class. I've picked up a decent amount of PHP, and a bit of C since then. Are you learning programming for fun or to help out at your startup(s)? If it's the latter, you might talk to the developers you work with to see what they use.
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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: What language do you suggest I learn?

Posted 10 June 2013 - 10:20 AM

For a first programmer who's more interested in knowing about programming than writing lots of programs, I'd say Python is a good bet. Specifically, the mit intro to programming course, taught in python, available through open courseware.

This course does a lot in a short time, and gets you into some of the interesting issues.

Python itself is easy to learn and you can do a lot of interesting things with it. There are a lot of other languages that are useful for other purposes, but for you I'd say python. I'd want to steer you away from PHP, for two good reasons and one really bad one. The really bad one is that I just don't like PHP very much. This should not convince you of anything. The two good ones are that PHP is a limited-domain language, and that it's a pretty idiosyncratic language. What you learn about PHP is pretty much going to be about websites, and for the most part it doesn't transfer well to other languages.

EDIT: I really like Java, and I recommend it to lots of people. It's a good first language for people who want to do a lot of programming, because it introduces you to a lot of good material, and it is itself good at building lots of stuff. However, there's a lot of conceptual overhead that you have to take on, and I don't know if that overhead would buy you anything you really want.

This post has been edited by jon.kiparsky: 10 June 2013 - 10:24 AM

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#4 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: What language do you suggest I learn?

Posted 10 June 2013 - 11:36 AM

For Python you could also visit Udacity .
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