You want to learn how to become a computer programmer, but you don't know where to start -- there's so much out there. You've heard of things like "Java", "Object-Oriented Programming", "arrays", "variables", "inheritance", "Perl", "threads", "scripting", "libraries", "PHP". Frankly, your head's spinning.
What's hot in today's programming world? What about old-school languages like FORTRAN? These days, Java, Perl, C, Python, and PHP are the talk of the town. Java and JSP, Python, and PHP are all very common for web and Internet applications. Languages like C and C++ are the foundations for many other languages, like Java and Python, and are used for developing shipped applications programs you would install on your computer. Furthermore, it might surprise you to learn that older languages such as FORTRAN and even Ada still have uses today.
Each programming language has its strengths and abilities, and while you may be able to accomplish the same thing with multiple languages, one may just be more efficient for the task-at-hand than another. This isn't necessarily to say that you should run out and learn everything you can about assembly language; you're more likely to find success in learning a newer, more popular language.
Types of Programming Languages
- Object-Oriented Programming: Java, C++, and Python all fall into this category.
- Scripting Languages: Perl and PHP, to name a few.
- Procedural: Ada, C, Visual Basic, and COBOL.
- Reflective: Lisp, Snobol, Ruby, and Scheme.
Choosing a Programming Language
In order to determine which language is best to learn first, you need to decide what you want to accomplish as a programmer. If you want to work for the government and create nuclear weapon arming procedures or design an air traffic control system, then Ada is a good bet. However, if you want to build a web site to collect user information, you're going to want something more like Java/JSP or PHP.
Also, once you have learned one language, mastering another becomes easier. This is especially true if you work with similar languages, like C++ and Java, Pascal and Delphi -- the former of each set being the foundation for the latter.
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