What languages to learn?

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#1 srose   User is offline

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What languages to learn?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:28 PM

Hi
I am 16 and interested in having a career in computing. I was wondering what languages I should learn right now. I am currently learning Visual BASIC in High school.

What would you recommend?

Can you recommend a good way of learning a language? Should I buy books on them?

Thanks
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Replies To: What languages to learn?

#2 spearfish   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:55 PM

Hi,
I'm also 16 and in high school.... but not as lucky as you: our school doesn't offer any computer courses! So I've gone off on my own to look for careers, and am learning on my own.

First, realize that computing is a big area. There's security, support, programming, administration, etc. with many subsections in each of those (e.g., system and network security).

Really there is no "best" language to learn. Feel up languages, and if you don't like it, move on. As soon as I saw C#, I knew it wasn't for me.... but I've fallen in love with PHP.

I would highly recommend books. Especially ones where you can download source code examples. Online tutorials are nice, but just like with free advice - they're free for a reason. Generally, the superstars of a language will have books out, and those are where you will learn tricks you may not find online. For example, I bought a book by Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP - and within 10 pages I was coding more efficiently than what Tizag.com had taught me (Just by the way, neither Tizag nor W3Schools correctly teaches how to interpolate variables!).

Now to plug my own favorite language, I think you should give PHP a whirl. It welcomed me, and could welcome you.... it is a web language, which can handle small scripts, or entire programs. Also nifty is the great knowledge base at php.net. Don't remember what krsort($foo) does? Head over to php.net/krsort and you've got an answer!

Anyways, don't give up if you don't like something at first.... everyone is different, there's a language out there for you. *Cough* But PHP has the best Ajax support *Cough*
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#3 Tom9729   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 12 June 2008 - 02:50 PM

Research different computer languages, start learning the one(s) you like most.

Wikipedia is a great resource for this.

Things I look at/for when researching a language:
  • What platforms it runs on.
  • It's syntax.
  • How popular it is (are there a lot of bindings/libraries for it?).
  • The compilers/interpreters available for it.
  • What it's commonly used for.


I use PHP mostly for client side scripting, because I think it's a great language. I use C for most of my personal projects because it's simple (not the same as easy) and I like it. I've used Java for school projects because that's what I had to use.

Just keep in mind that it really doesn't matter what language you learn, because you shouldn't just learn the syntax, you should learn the programming principles behind it. Not much changes from language to language besides from syntax. Once you learn how to "program" and not just how to "program Java/C/C++/etc", you should be able to jump to any languages with relative ease. :)
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#4 homemade-jam   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 13 June 2008 - 11:37 AM

What I would recommend is looking around at some of your favourite programs and see what langauge they're written in..
A lot of languages tend to take aspects of coding from each other...have a look at the older programming languages such as C and C++ which I am personally a fan off and start coding from there. VB can be very good but I find C++ much more powerful manipulatable...and with IDEs such as DevCPP you can literally write your first prog in a couple of clicks...

Jam
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#5 Tastybrownies   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 07 July 2008 - 04:29 PM

Well, although I am a tad older than you are now I was in your place last year. I really liked working with computers and wanted to be in the field of software development/programming, but like you I had no idea what language was best to start with. But luckily for me, my college sort of decided it for me. The first real programming I did was in VB.NET, which I found to not be too difficult. I feel it gives you the right amount of feel for programming and introduces you to the subject at varied degrees. For me, VB was fun because I was able to understand and work with it, of course there were some challenges here and there but that's what makes programming interesting.

Just make sure that when you pick a language don't quit at it, keep going no matter what. When you're coding until 2AM to work on a project it does show you love it, so don't be afraid of getting slightly obsessed,lol.

Good luck to you and I hope you make the right choice.
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#6 captainhampton   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 09 July 2008 - 08:25 AM

I know you are taking VB right now, so see what else your high school offers, if nothing else stick with VB for now and possibly go out of your way to a bookstore or online and check out some other languages for example C++ may be a good one to branch to from where you are at.
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#7 Tom9729   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:16 PM

If you don't mind shopping online, head on over to Barnes & Noble. You can buy a gift card in the store with cash, and use that to purchase items online (no CC necessary).

They have an "Authorized Sellers" program to buy used books. I've purchased two "used" programming books (each for a fourth of the new price) that turned out to be virtually brand new (one had a sticker on the cover). S&H is around 3$. It's a pretty good deal. :^:

I also recommend the O'Reilly books on programming. You can buy them from B&N, but if you go to the O'Reilly site you can read through pretty substantial parts of the book before you buy it.
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#8 girasquid   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:30 PM

I'll second the recommendation of O'Reilly books - they make up about 80% of my programming books. If you're just looking to learn a language, pick up "Learning [foo]" - and if you already know one and are looking for a handy reference, get their cookbooks - they usually have code samples for solutions to common problems, along with good discussions of why a particular approach works over another.
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#9 Mr_Mom   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 10 July 2008 - 07:53 AM

Hello,

Being "mostly" self-taught myself and now being employed as an Application Developer I will offer my .02

First, I agree with Tom: Go to Wikipedia and check the syntax, popularity, etc.

Second, Once you choose a language try to give it a fair shake. This doesn't mean you have to become an expert in it just don't give up instantly just because you get stuck on a concept. Most likely that concept will rear its head in another language anyway.

Third, again parroting Tom, When learning focus on the concepts not the language itself. This will make you a much better developer overall.

Lastly, I would suggest the following line of books: http://oreilly.com/s...s/headfirst.csp

I personally own 5 Head First books: SQL, Obect-Oriented Analysis & Design, Software Development, Java, and my personal favorite C#. I will also be ordering there AJAX book when it comes out. The reason I suggest these books are because of there format.Easy to read with an emphasis on 'teaching' you concepts and abilities not just cookie cutter code. These aren't for everyone and some will complain it is a one and done book, meaning not a reference book, but I have, non the less, found them to be instrumental in my learning path as I too walked your road.

Good luck, also don't be afraid to ask questions. ;)
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#10 lanec42   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 10 July 2008 - 11:38 PM

I'm 15:
I got interested in programming last year when I had nothing to do in school and started programming on the TI-83. I eventually wrote an awesome game kind of "asteroids"-esque. I eventually started looking into programming, and C++ was everything that I wanted. I hope to learn Java next year. I suggest: C++, Java, PHP. Or whatever looks cool to you.
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#11 gabehabe   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 11 July 2008 - 02:48 AM

Whichever you're most comfortable with :)

But, since this is in the software development forum, I'm gonna say the most commonly used are Java, C#.NET and VB.NET
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#12 Tom9729   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 11 July 2008 - 07:29 AM

Real men write pure opcodes.

This post has been edited by Tom9729: 11 July 2008 - 07:30 AM

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#13 red_4900   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 12 July 2008 - 12:10 PM

what is opcodes?
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#14 chili5   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 14 July 2008 - 01:55 PM

I would take a look at several languages and see what their capable of and what platform they run on, and look at some basic tutorials and see what languages you like the most.

I like PHP and Javascript because theirs a lot of resources to learn how to use them and they work really well. :D
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#15 PixelCard   User is offline

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Re: What languages to learn?

Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:28 PM

Never look for a language as "something with big future". As I always say, there are no right languages. There are languages you feel comfortable with and which can fulfill your needs.
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