How to choose your first programming language

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I do not have Google Analytics on my blog (well, I do, but I seem to have forgotten the account it's associated with), and when I discovered my mistake, also discovered also that I didn't really care. If my blog doesn't have an audience, that's hardly a reason to stop blogging, and if it does, I don't need my topics to change based on traffic. I write mainly for me - if someone else finds it interesting or useful or insightful, that's great; if not, I'll try again next time.

One recent post I wrote must have garnered some pageviews because I started getting emails asking me to add a link to outside resources. One of these was a page of infographics about different programming languages aimed at helping beginners choose which one to learn. This is, in the traditional, quantitative sense, probably a good topic for a blog-post/infographic, as I'm willing to bet these are highly Googled terms.

So here is my own generically-titled, Buzzfeed-worthy, SEO-whoring blog post about how to get started with your first programming language, no more than 800 words long.

It doesn't matter which programming language you pick. While there are major differences in the syntax, purpose and utility of programming languages, none of these are important at the beginning. The code you write at first will be absolute shit.

Don't take the wrong way. The code I wrote at the beginning was absolute shit. Even code I wrote a year ago looks like shit to me now. I suspect the same is true of most programmers.

Trying to decide between languages is like trying to choose between Blogspot or Wordpress for your first blog: it's a stalling tactic. A subconscious stalling tactic everyone's brain employs all the time everyone makes all the time. It creates separation between the decision that we want to do something and the hard work that comes with actually doing it. It's wanting to get healthy and deciding between running shoes or a bike.

Just pick one. There are tonnes of great resources out there for beginners in just about any language, including really obscure ones. You'll discover what you like about it, and what you like about programming in general, and this refinement will help guide your going forward. Or, um, you might discover coding isn't for you. That's fine, too. There is a lot more to making software than writing the code.

Don't let anyone tell you you're doing it wrong. That you learned the wrong language or code on the wrong type of machine. That's simple idiocy.

Coding just to get a job is a lot like blogging to drive website traffic: yes, it can be a very effective strategy, if done right. But without time, without commitment, without discipline, and without love, both you and your audience will be able to tell.