Bendegúz Csirmaz

What programming language should I learn?

The age old question. I've been asked this multiple times recently, here are my thoughts.

The long answer is: it depends.

The short answer is: JavaScript.

Let me explain...

I think most developers are familiar with the long answer: it depends on what you want to build. Obviously. If the person has an interest in a specific platform the answer is trivial. Unfortunately, that's usually not the case.

The question is not: "What programming language should I learn to build apps for Android?".

The question is (rephrased): "What programming language should I learn to get a job in software development?".

And I think that's an entirely valid question to ask! And maybe more relevant than ever.

In my opinion, the best way to switch careers into IT is with front-end web development.

Why JavaScript?

  • It's ubiquitous. JavaScript has a monopoly over the browsers, it's pretty much impossible to avoid. Every dev knows at least a little JS (even me!). Give in! :D
  • Career opportunities. From small agencies to Big Tech. There's also freelancing. A person who can build beautiful web user interfaces is an asset to any software company.
  • Lenient requirements. A lot of front-end professionals are self-taught, and I think, in general, the job requirements for front-end positions are a bit more lenient when it comes to formal education. Be prepared to get grilled on your portfolio instead!
  • It's visual. It means you get quick feedback if you're doing something right or wrong. Also, it can be a lot of fun.

Are there any cons? Yes.

JavaScript (and scripting languages in general) might not be the best for learning programming fundamentals.

When I started out with PHP, object-oriented programming was a confusing mystery to me. It only started to make sense when I learned Java.

Still, if you're looking for a solid career path, I think JavaScript development is a great one.