6 Easiest Programming Languages to Learn for Beginners
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Learning to program may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, it’s not nearly as difficult as it seems. With a bevy of resources available both on and offline, dedicated communities, and experts to follow on social media, learning programming is much simpler than it used to be. Even kids can get started programming 10 Tools To Get Kids Excited About Programming 10 Tools To Get Kids Excited About Programming For the average kid, computers and smartphones are fun tools. Education comes much later. Getting a kid excited about programming might take some doing because logic needs a bit of time to develop. It is... Read More early on.

However, learning to program is about finding the right language just as much as it’s about the edification process. Here are the top six easiest programming languages for beginners.

A Word on “Easy”

What makes a programming language “easy” to learn for beginners varies. Some languages boast an intuitive syntax. While a language may be theoretically challenging, aspects such as a dedicated community can offset that difficulty. Therefore a slightly harder programming language may ultimately be easy for a beginner programmer owing to vast resources and expert knowledge.

JavaScript

Udemy - JavaScript for Beginners

Don’t confuse JavaScript with Java. Whereas JavaScript is mainly a front-end development scripting language, Java is a programming language. JS is incredibly prevalent What is JavaScript, And Can the Internet Exist Without It? What is JavaScript, And Can the Internet Exist Without It? JavaScript is one of those things many take for granted. Everybody uses it. Read More since it is cross-platform. As JS runs natively in your browser, you don’t even need a compiler. You simply need a notepad app or Sublime Text.

If you are eager to pursue web development, JavaScript is an excellent starter. The syntax is similar to that of C, so learning JS sets you up to continue with your programming education. Further, for beginners, JavaScript is more relenting and dynamically-typed (untyped). Because of its wide applicability, JS is a solid starter language. Further, it serves as a gateway to more complicated programming languages like C++.

Yet some such as Matthew Mombrea argue that JavaScript is in fact a poor starter. Mombrea argues that JS is a bad example of object-oriented programming, and moreover that it’s already really well known. Furthermore, while JS is untyped, which may lead to greater efficiency while programming, errors won’t be revealed until runtime. Thus, he claims, JavaScript is not the starting place if you want to make a career out of software development. But as an intro to the world of programming, it’s a solid choice. JS requires only a notepad app and a bit of research. It’s also instantly gratifying being cross-platform compatible.

Uses

  • Web development.

Pros

  • Cross-platform compatible.
  • No compiler.
  • Gateway to other languages.

Cons

  • Poor OOP example.
  • Untyped.
  • Difficult to debug.

Ruby on Rails

MUO - Ruby on Rails for Beginners

Ruby on Rails is easy to read, a huge plus for anyone sans-programming experience. A dynamic, object-oriented scripting language, Ruby is heavily used in web development. Websites including Groupon and GitHub employ Ruby code on their backend.

Learning Ruby is a little easier since you don’t need to learn loads of commands. Since Ruby on Rails is a framework, it’s essentially a collection of Ruby shortcuts. Take a look at most programming bootcamps Coding Boot Camp for Beginners: Should You Take One? Coding Boot Camp for Beginners: Should You Take One? Comprehensive coding boot camps provide an entry into the coding space. Find out what they are, what you'll learn, and if it's the right fit for your programming journey! Read More , and it’s likely that many of them teach Ruby on Rails.

The reason: it’s perfect for beginners. Further, as One Month points out, there are many startups hiring Ruby on Rails developers, so even with entry-level experience you can likely land a gig.

Uses

  • Web development.

Pros

  • Heavily used.
  • Collection of shortcuts.
  • Good job market.

Cons

  • Ruby on Rails is basically a set of shortcuts.

Python

python programming

Python is a great, easy programming language for beginners. Used in both web and desktop apps, Python offers many potential projects. The dynamic language supports OOP, procedural, and functional programming.

Additionally, it’s an open-source language which means it’s free to get started and there’s a dedicated community. Need even more motivation? Joel Lee breaks down why Python is pretty useful 5 Reasons Why Python Programming Is Not Useless 5 Reasons Why Python Programming Is Not Useless Python -- You either love it or you hate it. You might even swing from one end to the other like a pendulum. Regardless, Python is a language that's hard to be ambivalent about. Read More .

Yet Python is a bit complicated as entry-level programming is concerned. For instance, maintaining a set naming convention and indention are important details. But considering its flexibility and the vast community, Python is an easy programming language for beginners.

Uses

  • Web development.
  • Application development.

Pros

  • Used in desktop and web apps.
  • Open-source.

Cons

  • Requires specifics like a good naming convention.

Java

Java programming language

Oracle’s Java remains one of the oldest programming languages. Java is fundamental to both web and desktop apps, operating systems, and more. This object-oriented, class-based programming language is widely utilized and moreover it’s one of the most popular languages.

A January 5, 2016 article on Infoworld weighed in on the resurgence of Java as the one language to rule them all.

But in spite of its immense use and popularity, Java is slightly more challenging when juxtaposed with entry-level languages. Java derives much of its syntax from the likes of C and C++, so many programming schools and bootcamps start with C/C++ before moving to Java. Searching for some Java app examples? Try these five sites Top 5 Websites for Java Application Examples Top 5 Websites for Java Application Examples Read More .

However Java forces programmers to think like, well, a programmer. You must consider how computers process information. By fostering a solid foundation of analytical programming knowledge, Java remains a fantastic, albeit slightly harder, programming language for beginners. Additionally, with a dedicated community and due to its lengthy tenure, it’s likely that your Java questions have already been answered.

Uses

  • Web development.
  • Application development.

Pros

  • Very popular.
  • Long-standing language.
  • Lots of resources.
  • Challenge builds a steady programming foundation.

Cons

  • Gets syntax from C/C++ so may be better to start there.
  • Requires very analytical thinking .

C/C++

learn C++ intro

C and C++ are great introductory programming languages. Used for software development, C and C++ syntax have impacted many other languages. Therefore, learning C++/C lends a logical jump to the likes of Java, or more complicated languages. Plus, you can get going in C and C++ right now with these websites 3 Websites To Get Started With Learning C++ Programming Language 3 Websites To Get Started With Learning C++ Programming Language Learning to program can be difficult for many, even with relatively easy programming languages. While Java is easier to get started with (where we have numerous articles here at MakeUseOf for Java as well as... Read More .

C++, unlike C, offers OOP elements including classes. If you’re interested in game development C++ can be a good starter languages as it’s oft-used in game and game engine development in addition to web, mobile, and desktop apps.

Both C and C++ provide a pleasant intro to not just programming, but computer science in general. Even if you concentrate on other programming languages, the fundamentals provided by C/C++ are invaluable.

C++ though may be initially challenging for first-timers. If you’re able to overcome this difficulty, the rewards are plentiful.

Uses

  • Application development.

Pros

  • Excellent computer science background.
  • Good for software and game development.

Cons

  • C++ is slightly harder than C.

C#

C# is an awesome choice for beginners. There’s a pretty simple startup time: merely download Visual Studio Express for a comprehensive install of all necessary elements such as SQL Express. C# may be used for a variety of purposes, from web development to console applications. Syntax is based on C, so like C++ and C, it offers a stellar computer science foundation.

However, Visual Studio does have auto-complete, and aspects like auto-generated project files, C# may be more complex. Unlike in languages such as C and Ruby, there are multiple compliers and interpreters. But the easy to use IDE along with wide-ranging use make C# a good pick for beginner programmers.

Uses

  • Application development.

Pros

  • Widely used.
  • Visual Studio makes startup simple.
  • Excellent comp sci understanding.
  • Easy to use IDE.

Cons

  • Complex compiler.

Final Thoughts on Intro Programming

Notably absent from this list is HTML. Why, you might ask, considering that HTML is super easy to learn and often taught even at a middle school level? In fact, HTML was the first language I learned, and within a matter of hours I progressed from novice to moderately competent. HTML is, as many of you might know, a markup language, not a programming language. So unfortunately, it doesn’t quite fit the criteria.

Nevertheless, it’s not a bad intro to languages, and is HTML widely applicable. Therefore, HTML earns an honorable mention as an easy language (not programming language) for beginners. HTML still reinforces the concepts of programming and is widely used and accessible in web development. From there, you can learn CSS (again, like HTML, not a true programming language), and eventually move on to full-fledged programming languages like JavaScript.

Which programming languages do you think are easiest for beginners? Share your thoughts below, and let us know what your first language was or will be. Happy programming!

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  1. Bert
    April 17, 2018 at 2:28 am

    Look C/C++/Java are not easy they belong to a family of power languages, also C/C++ are not your everyday languages they are system programming languages. To even think recommending them before something like Ruby or Python is a disaster for new beginners, its like handing a bunch of kids nuclear launch controls to state of the art ICMB missiles. Java is more mellow in that its a forgiving C++ and doesn't force the user to learn about manual memory or pointers or even the stack. But it is by far not a simple first language to learn if you have never touched programming at all. Java has archaic syntax purposely designed to ensure safety, where as C/C++ don't hold your hand in what is written making it far more likely to create bugs and spend hours debugging.

  2. ShalokShalom
    February 8, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    C/C++, Java and Javascript?

    F#, Go and Elm make more sense on this list?

    Swift, Julia and even Rust are much more newbie friendly, imho.
    Just not languages which are full of confusing and dangerous parts.

    Very high amounts of StackOverflow answers and jobs do NOT solve fundamental issues in languages, they camouflage them.

    There are sane languages with enough tutorials, big community and job offers.
    There is no reason to promote the stone age.

    I say this as an experienced beginner.

  3. Pablo Pazos
    November 20, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    I would say Groovy instead of Java, has the same power but simples syntax.

  4. James
    July 11, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Funny and useless article. You might as well have added assembly.

  5. JP
    June 19, 2017 at 5:34 am

    I'm a programmer of the 70's and have used various languages over the decades and while not widely used anymore, the easiest to learn by far yet most powerful language to use was FORTRAN (77) and for pure business apps it was definitely COBOL. If you could find similar, non symbolic syntax languages (I haven't) they might be just as good. Those languages you actually had to "code" every sentence so you actually understood what your software was doing, not like today where it's all graphical input based and you choose routine function modules. You had to write the routines in those days from scratch. Yeah it's easier today to write an app, but it's not easier to actually code it (if you could do it). Takes a certain type of logical aptitude to program in any case no matter what the language.

    • MH
      June 19, 2017 at 8:53 am

      If you think everything is graphical then you're pretty well out of touch and I'd hazard a guess that you haven't touched programming since back in the 70's either.

      • Dennis
        July 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        Says the writer who says C#,C++ and Java are "Easy". He clearly knows what he is talking about since he is talking about IDEs and "go-to-definition"

        • Cameron Reikes
          March 27, 2018 at 12:09 am

          yeah how in the world is C++ "slightly harder" than C?

      • Blackrook
        July 15, 2017 at 7:18 pm

        Is Lisp considered a good programming language for beginners? A few people I know use Lisp to one degree or another....

        • Jan Steinman
          February 6, 2018 at 7:42 pm

          Lisp is fun and fairly simple, because (unlike JavaScript) it uses a few concepts, rigorously applied.

          A good place to get started is with the command-line text editor emacs. It is free, and (I believe) pre-installed on most Linuxes and Mac OS. (AS with so many things, Windows users will have to go find and install it.) It is scripted in a Lisp variant called elisp.

          I've seen some incredible things done in emacs with elisp, like games (Battleship, NetHack, Othello), form-generation, as well as more mundane things like bulk file processing.

  6. Larry W Virden
    May 27, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Not one of those languages will be easy for a non programmer to begin their exposure to programming

  7. Remmolacha
    January 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    So, C++ and Java are considered languages for beginners, but not VisualBasic. Interesting.

    • Cristobal del Licia
      November 22, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      A problem with this article, like others before it, is born out with your observation, and I'm taking time to comment nearly a year late because it's worth mentioning: Visual Basic is (or was) "good" for beginners who have no intention of learning other languages, and prioritize getting paid over being a skillful programmer. Actually I'd argue something similar about Java. You could learn Java with old books and videos without spending a dime for a new textbook, and then spend the rest of your professional life without writing a line of code in anything else. At one point the same was true of C and/or C++, but that was a while back. "Easy- if you don't want to learn a lot. LISP isn't good for beginners at all, but to be a well-rounded programmer, one should be exposed to it (or perhaps Scheme). Also, it seems like the "on Rails" aspect of learning Ruby is introduced purely to have a "con" to list. Just present Ruby, or don't.

  8. Timothy
    January 2, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    I started with QBASIC and Amiga BASIC growing up, and used Visual Basic in Computer Programming at school. But that was many years ago. I tried learning C++, but the book I had was out of date by the time I got to use it, but online courses would probably be easier anyway.

  9. Vincent Kong
    January 2, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    C# can be used for web development as well so unsure as why that wasn't under the uses for it

  10. Binu
    January 2, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Learning of languages are all about the syntaxes and usability. We can learn any language by a systematic study starting from alphabets then words and so on... It applies to any language not only computer language.

  11. Mike F
    December 30, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    My first programming experiences were on BASIC and Pascal in the 80's.

  12. Thomas Kainz
    December 30, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Shortly after graduating high school back in 1977, I became intrigued in computers to whit I took out a personal loan and dropped down $1,100 ($ 3,400 in today's dollars) to buy my own PC (Radio Shack TRS 80 Model 3)which came with no hard drive - only 5 1/4 floppies and a whopping 4k of RAM. programming classes were relatively nowhere to be found at the time so it was a matter of buying the books and teaching myself to program using BASIC and MS-DOS programming languages. Man that was fun.

    Today I'm a software engineer, working from home in the Colorado mountains and lovin' it!. While the company I currently work for has their own proprietary language, I still make use of JAVA, JavaScript, Ruby, JQuery, PLI and SQL as well as HTML & CSS (not true languages, I know, but valuable to know none-the-less)

    An option to consider for learning programming for a reasonable cost might be Pluralsight.

  13. matthias
    December 29, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    what about pascal?

  14. ZentixZaneic
    December 29, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Where would you recommend that we learn the above programming languages?