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General Discussion

What's a good coding language to learn for beginners?

Currently trying my hands at Javascript and looking over some HTML/CSS tut. Would that be a good place to start?

Also once learned how would I go about "practicing" on the regular what I recently learned?

Thanks, Free

14 Answers

David Poindexter
PLUS
David Poindexter
Courses Plus Student 1,690 Points

The intro to CS courses when I was in undergrad evolved like this:

  1. C
  2. C++
  3. Java
  4. Python

That is not the order you went through them. Those are the changes in "first language" introduced to new students in the beginner intro to CS course.

So, if you can take anything away from that, the school at least has found that Python is a far better first language for computing concepts than straight C.

Substitute Ruby for Python, if you'd like.

Just my opinion (which happens to line up with the school's opinion as well).

Thanks! Checking out the discussion now.

Caroline Hagan
PLUS
Caroline Hagan
Courses Plus Student 12,453 Points

Depends what route you want to go down I guess, but for web development usually

  1. HTML / XHTML / HTML5
  2. CSS2.1 / CSS3
  3. Javascript / jQuery
  4. Advanced / back-end language e.g. PHP, Rails, Python

Somewhere in there the usual frameworks and systems, e.g. e-commerce software such as Prestashop (legacy code), Wordpress, Magento, Joomla, etc, etc.

Then add in some mobile/iOS app or adaptive/responsive for good measure, lol.

Matthew Mascioni
Matthew Mascioni
20,444 Points

It completely depends on what you're looking to achieve. For good measure, I'd take on all of Treehouse's HTML/CSS courses. A super-thorough roadmap of that would be the Become a Web Designer learning adventure. Once you have the front-end stuff down, move onto the back-end. I'm a beginner too, and I chose to start (after front-end stuff) with PHP. It's a great language for beginners to learn.

In terms of practising what you've learned, the best way I find to do that is build small mini-projects for yourself. You can also take code challenges that you've already done over again to further lock in the knowledge.

Im currently a web design/development student just trying to get started on the coding side a little early since most of my classes now are design driven.

Matthew Mascioni
Matthew Mascioni
20,444 Points

When you say 'coding side', do you mean frontend coding (so, HTML, CSS, etc.) or backend (PHP, Ruby, Python, etc.)?

Deleted User

I'm assuming you want to be a programmer. HTML and CSS do not a programmer make. They're markup languages that can be learned within a week.

I'd start with Ruby, one because its mindshare's derivative is heading in the right direction and two because its a powerful, beautiful and highly dynamic language (I'm a big fan of dynamism).

Read through Programming Ruby after doing the Treehouse things. Another good book is The Ruby Programming language.

If you try ruby (perhaps at tryruby.com) and don't like it, JavaScript is of course ubiquitous. There's a gentle initial learning curve that most developers don't get far past. Eloquenr JavaScript is a good introductory text.

I'd advise against learning PHP as a first language, but that may be personal bias. If you're not satisfied with JavaScript or Ruby (and don't mind the Windows platform) give C# a shot. It's essentially a more thoughtfully done Java.

I meant front end coding for now. I would like to know some basic backend over time though.

@ Aaron I heard many great things about Ruby. Thanks for the site & book reference, I will look into them out.

Since Im new at all of this Im pretty open to suggestions. Im trying to understand a bit more to better set new goals.

Deleted User

If you want to be a front end developer you should know JavaScript. Really well.

Matthew Mascioni
Matthew Mascioni
20,444 Points

If front-end is your main concern right now, get all the HTML, CSS and JS knowledge through the Treehouse courses. Go through the Become a Web Designer adventure.

Once you're solid with that, take Aaron's advice on which programming language to start off with. I like PHP, but your mileage will vary. Take some of them on a test drive, and develop your skills in one that you're comfortable with.

Thanks you guys!

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

In terms of Front End Development. it's all about ...

  1. HTML
  2. CSS 2.1 / CSS 3
  3. JQuery
  4. CoffeeScript
  5. SASS