best-coding-language-for-beginners

Ruby vs Python vs JavaScript vs Java vs .NET – how do you choose your first programming language? Some experts will argue that fundamentals are more important than the language itself, and while we agree, you do need to choose a language in order to learn those fundamentals. We’re running through the pros and cons of each language, the average salaries to expect, and the job prospects for each language. 

No matter the bootcamp, you’ll learn basics like HTML/CSS, tools like GitHub and AWS, database languages like SQL, and soft skills. Remember, as a developer, you’ll end up learning many programming languages throughout your career – that’s the nature of tech. So no matter which programming language you choose, be prepared to adapt! 

If you want to be a Web Developer:

We’ll cover web development, mobile development, and data science in this guide, but Web Development is certainly the most robust landscape – you’ll need to choose between Ruby on Rails, Python, JavaScript, Java, and .NET.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby is a dynamic, reflective, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language. Rails is a popular framework used by Ruby developers.

Benefits of Learning Ruby on Rails

  • Ruby and Rails are both well known for being beginner friendly
  • As Laurence Bradford told us, “the main selling point of Rails is the philosophy called convention over configuration (CoC) – meaning it is a framework that has a structured layout with defaults (read: it’s easy to get up and running - sort of like a web app starter kit)”
  • Ruby syntax is ideal for those who prefer pattern-matching characters because it uses differing characters as analogues to keywords
  • There’s a strong support community both online and offline

Companies that use Ruby: Hulu, Twitter, ZenDesk, Basecamp, Shopify, Urban Dictionary, GitHub, Kickstarter

Ruby on Rails Jobs

The average salary for a Ruby On Rails Developer is $120,663 per year in the US. As Bloc mentor Ben Neely told us, “There’s a strong and growing demand for Ruby and Rails developers. It’s popular with startups. For a long time Rails was a niche startup language, but now it’s gained a lot of popularity even within larger corporations.”

Getting Started in Ruby on Rails

Bootcamps that Teach RoR:


Ruby vs Python:

Both Ruby and Python are general purpose, which means they’re really flexible and you can do just about anything with them. You can talk to a database or build a web application or build a script for your computer to run, or you can run almost all of Google’s internal tools.


Full Stack JavaScript

While JavaScript has historically been known as a front-end language, Full Stack JavaScript uses JavaScript for the client-side and for the server-side. 

There are so many JavaScript frameworks and libraries, but the most popular are the MEAN and MERN Stacks. In the MEAN & MERN Stacks:

Companies that use Full Stack JavaScript (Node.js): PayPal, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Netflix, Uber, and more.

Benefits of Learning Full Stack JavaScript:

  • It can be learned quickly
  • It enables developers to build things quickly,
  • It has a subset of truly “good parts."

Bootcamps that Teach Full Stack JavaScript: 

  • Fullstack Academy in New York and Chicago
  • Hack Reactor in Austin, Boulder, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and online
  • Codesmith in Los Angeles and New York
  • BrainStation in Vancouver, Toronto, New York
  • Thinkful, an online bootcamp

Full Stack JavaScript Job Market:

The average salary for a Javascript Developer is $112,424 per year in the United States.

How to get started in JavaScript?


Python

Python is a high-level general purpose programming language that can be used for scripting, web scraping, and creating data sets. It’s popular in the scientific community for scientific computing; Python is similar in many ways to Ruby, but is less verbose than other programming languages. 

  • The Python community is welcoming, well-maintained, and well-documented. That’s important for a beginner!
  • Django and Flask are the most popular web frameworks with Python.

Benefits of Python

Python Developer Jobs

The average salary for a Python Developer is $117,947 per year in the US. With Python skills, you can be a Software Engineer or Web Developer; and because Python is great for data analytics, you could also get a job as a Data Analyst or a Data Scientist. 

Websites Built with Python

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Dropbox
  • Spotify
  • Netflix
  • Quora

Python Coding Bootcamps


C#/.NET

C# is a high-level (aka easy-to-read) programming language created by Microsoft and .NET is the framework on which the language is built. 

Companies that use .NET

  • Microsoft, of course!
  • T.J. Jones from Coder Foundry tells us, “Companies you rely on like airlines and banks are using C# on the back end of their systems. When you go to the bank to process a transaction, there's usually some C# code in that process because that development environment is probably using C#.”  

Benefits of Learning .NET

  • C# is versatile – it’s used in apps, enterprise products, and games!
  • Game developers use C# with Unity (a game-building engine) 
  • C# is here to stay – it was developed and is used by Microsoft, so it will be around forever.

Jobs/Salary .NET

The average salary for a .NET Developer is $92,040 per year in the United States.

.NET/C# Bootcamps:


Java

is-java-the-best-programming-language-to-learn

Java is a general purpose, object-oriented programming language used in web development and Android development. 

Companies that use Java

  • Huge banks like JP Morgan Chase and KeyBank
  • Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay

Benefits of Learning Java

  • You may hear that Java is an “old” language, but that also means it’s established, widely used and well-documented
  • There are probably more Java programmers than any other type of programmer in the world, so a lot of people already know Java and it’s easy to find people who can help you out and mentor you.
  • Java derives its syntax from C, and lots of other languages also derive their syntax from C, so if you learn Java, then learning a language like Javascript, C#, or C++ is much easier.
  • Java is also the basis of Android development.

Downsides to Java

  • Java can be a fairly steep learning curve for a beginner. 
  • From a technical perspective, a disadvantage could be if you’re doing a very lightweight, quick task, writing a quick script or something like that, then Java is not your go to tool. It’s better suited for larger and more complex applications.
  • Some people have a perception that Java is not open source because of the affiliation with Oracle, and in fact, the Oracle implementation of the Java Development Kit (JDK), is not provided under an open source license. However, OpenJDK is a completely open source implementation of the JDK and the two implementations are practically identical.

Java Developer Jobs

The average salary for a Java Developer is $102,593 per year in the United States.

Getting Started in Java

  1. Intro to Programming Using Java, written by Dr. David Eck, a CS professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. 
  2. Go to a Java Meetup. Java has been around so long, and there are Java user groups in just about every city. In Cleveland, Tech Elevator hosts and organizes meetups through the Java User Group.

Java Coding Bootcamps

What's an Object Oriented Programming Language?

 

If you want to be a Mobile App Developer

Until 2014, there was only one choice if you wanted to build iOS apps: Objective C. In 2014, Apple launched Swift. That doesn’t mean Objective C is obsolete – many apps are still built on Objective C and developers are needed to maintain those codebases. And to build Android apps, you’ve got one choice: Android! Read our full guide to Mobile Development Bootcamps

Objective C

Objective-C is a powerful language that has been used for developing apps for all of Apple’s platforms since about 2000.

Objective C: The Pros & Cons

  • Cons: Objective C is hard to learn and it’s easy for new programmers to write bugs in Objective-C. 
  • Pros: Many apps are still built on Objective C and developers are needed to maintain those codebases.

Jobs in Objective C

Objective C Bootcamps

Most Bootcamps teach both iOS and Objective C, including:


Swift

Swift is the first protocol-oriented programming language, created by Apple and used to develop iOS apps. Read more about Swift here.

Benefits of Learning Swift:

  • Swift is designed to be much more friendly to beginners. It's still a really powerful, deep language and will take you a long time to master, but you can learn some of the basics within an hour.
  • Swift is safe, harder to write bugs, it’s concise and really expressive, and easy to read and write. At the same time, it’s still performant, really good for writing apps, and still interoperates with Objective-C.

Jobs in Swift

  • The average salary for a Swift Developer ranges from approximately $58,748 per year for Entry Level Developer to $115,612 per year.

Examples of Swift Apps:

  • Lyft was one of the first major apps to go all-in on Swift, rewriting their iOS app from scratch in Swift.
  • Airbnb was another company that started using Swift really early on, and has talked about the improvements they’ve seen from using Swift.
  • MeasureKit is an augmented reality app for measuring anything. It’s a really clever use for augmented reality.

Android

Android is a smartphone operating system (OS) developed by Google. It is designed for touchscreen devices like smartphones, tablets, and smart watches, as well as Android TV.

Android Languages + Technologies

You’ll learn Android Studio, Java, and XML – and Android Bootcamp should also teach you how to launch your apps on the Google Play store.

Benefits to Learning Android

Android Jobs

The average salary for an Android Developer is $113,858 per year in the United States.

Android Bootcamps

If you want to be a Data Scientist:

If you want to be a Data Science, you’ll need to choose between Python vs R – though you’ll probably end up using both. 

Python vs R for Data Science

  • Python is the language if you want to go into machine learning or data science, and it has an excellent set of libraries for that type of work.
  • R is the best language if you’re planning on working in academia
  • Regardless of the language you choose, you’ll need to prep for data science bootcamp by sharpening your math and statistic skills – not many data science bootcamps will accept complete beginners. 
  • Then, you can specialize in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, etc. 

So there you have it – the ultimate rundown of all major coding languages. Remember that no matter which language you choose, programming is about continuous learning. Here are some tips for choosing between the above coding languages:

  • Think about the sort of job you want, and find out what the best language is for that job
  • Look at what sort of jobs are in your area, and what languages they require you to learn
  • Try some free intro courses into a couple of languages to see which ones you enjoy using
  • Ask your local coding bootcamp why they teach the languages they do, and what sort of jobs their graduates get

 

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About The Author

Liz pic

Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube

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