The Best Coding Languages to Learn for Beginners 

20th September 2023

Our theme for this year’s National Coding Week has been Artificial Intelligence (AI), so we thought we’d ask an AI system to “advise us” on the best coding languages to learn for beginners. This is what it wrote:

Coding is an invaluable skill in today’s digital world, and it’s never too late to start learning. If you’re a beginner, choosing the right programming language to start with can make a significant difference in your learning journey. While there are numerous programming languages to choose from, some are more beginner-friendly than others. In this blog, we’ll explore the best coding languages for beginners and the reasons why they are great choices.

1. Python – The Gentle Giant

Python consistently ranks at the top of the list of programming languages for beginners, and for good reason. Often referred to as the “gentle giant” of programming, Python is known for its simplicity and readability. Its easy-to-understand syntax resembles plain English, making it an excellent choice for those who are just starting to learn how to code.

Why Python is Great for Beginners:

– Readability: Python’s code is easy to read and write, which reduces the chances of making syntax errors common in other languages.

– Versatility:  Python can be used for web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and more, giving beginners room to explore various fields.

– Huge Community:  Python has a vast and supportive community of developers, making it easy to find resources, tutorials, and help when you encounter challenges.

– Job Opportunities:  Python is in high demand in the job market, so learning it can open doors to a wide range of career opportunities.

 2. JavaScript – The Language of the Web

JavaScript is another excellent choice for beginners, especially if your interest lies in web development. As the primary language for front-end web development, JavaScript allows you to create interactive and dynamic websites.

Why JavaScript is Great for Beginners:

– Immediate Feedback:  With JavaScript, you can see the results of your code in real-time, making it a rewarding language for beginners.

– Wide Adoption: JavaScript is supported by all modern web browsers, ensuring that your skills will be in demand.

– Full Stack Development:  As you progress, you can also use JavaScript on the server-side with Node.js, becoming a full-stack developer.

3. Scratch – Building Blocks of Coding

If you’re just starting and find traditional coding languages intimidating, Scratch is an excellent choice. Designed primarily for kids but used by learners of all ages, Scratch uses a block-based interface that allows you to create animations and games without needing to write code.

Why Scratch is Great for Beginners:

– Visual Learning: Scratch’s visual blocks help you grasp fundamental coding concepts without worrying about syntax.

– Creative Freedom: You can let your creativity flow by building your own interactive stories, games, and animations.

– Foundation Building:  Scratch serves as an excellent stepping stone to transition into text-based coding languages.

4. Ruby – Elegant and Beginner-Friendly

Ruby is often praised for its elegant and beginner-friendly syntax. It’s a language that focuses on developer happiness, making it an enjoyable choice for beginners.

 Why Ruby is Great for Beginners:

– Clear Syntax: Ruby’s syntax is easy to understand, and it emphasises human-readable code.

– Ruby on Rails: If you’re interested in web development, Ruby on Rails is a popular framework that uses Ruby, offering an excellent path for beginners.

– Active Community:  Ruby has an active and welcoming community, which can be beneficial when you’re starting out.

 5. Java – Building Robust Foundations

Java is known for its “write once, run anywhere” philosophy and is an excellent choice if you’re interested in Android app development or building robust, large-scale applications.

 Why Java is Great for Beginners:

– Platform Independence: Java applications can run on any device that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), providing versatility.

– Strong Typing: Java’s strong typing system helps beginners learn about data types and error checking.

– Abundant Learning Resources: There are plenty of tutorials and resources available for learning Java, making it accessible for beginners.

6. C# – Game Development and Beyond

If game development intrigues you, C# is a language worth considering. It’s used with the Unity game engine and is also suitable for Windows application development.

Why C# is Great for Beginners:

– Unity Game Development: C# is the primary language for Unity, one of the most popular game development platforms.

– Learning C# Provides Versatility: Once you’ve mastered C#, you can transition to other Microsoft technologies like .NET for web and desktop applications.

– Clear Syntax: C# has a clear and intuitive syntax, making it easier for beginners to grasp.

7. Swift – Crafting iOS Apps

For those interested in creating iOS apps, Swift is the go-to language. It’s designed by Apple and is known for its safety features and readability.

 Why Swift is Great for Beginners:

– iOS App Development: If you have aspirations of building apps for iPhones and iPads, Swift is the essential language to learn.

– Safety: Swift is designed to prevent common programming errors, which is helpful for beginners who are still learning the ropes.

– Modern Language: Swift is relatively new and incorporates modern programming concepts.

 8. Rust – Safety and Performance

Rust is a systems programming language that’s gaining popularity due to its focus on safety and performance. While it might not be the easiest language for absolute beginners, it’s worth considering if you’re interested in low-level programming.

 Why Rust is Great for Beginners:

– Safety Features: Rust’s borrow checker ensures memory safety, making it less prone to certain types of bugs that can be common in other languages.

– Performance: Rust is known for its speed and efficiency, which can be appealing for those interested in system-level programming.

– Growing Community: Rust’s community is expanding, providing more resources for beginners.

9. Go (Golang) – Efficient Backend Development

Go, often referred to as Golang, is a language developed by Google. It’s known for its simplicity and efficiency, making it a good choice for backend development and system programming.

Why Go is Great for Beginners:

– Efficiency: Go is designed for efficiency and is often used in building scalable and high-performance applications.

– Conciseness: Go’s concise syntax makes it easier for beginners to write and understand code.

– Growing Popularity: Many tech giants are adopting Go, which means a growing job market for Go developers.

10. SQL – Managing Data

While SQL (Structured Query Language) isn’t a general-purpose programming language, it’s essential if you want to work with databases. Understanding how to manage and query data is crucial in many development roles.

 Why SQL is Great for Beginners:

– Database Management: SQL is the standard language for managing and querying relational databases.

– Fundamental Skill: Even if you’re not primarily a database developer, knowing SQL is essential for many development roles.

– Simplicity: SQL’s syntax is relatively straightforward, making it accessible to beginners.

In conclusion, the best programming language for beginners depends on your goals and interests. Python, JavaScript, Scratch, Ruby, Java, C#, Swift, Rust, Go, and SQL all have their unique strengths and are excellent choices for different learning paths. Remember that the most critical aspect of learning to code is to start somewhere and persist in your learning journey. Over time, you can explore multiple languages and broaden your skill set. Happy coding!

Written by ChatGPT for National Coding Week

Food for Thought

  1. Did AI correctly identify the best languages to learn for beginners?
  2. What about learning HTML & CSS?
  3. What should it have included / excluded?