Best First Programming Language to Learn?


Reader Sheila considers herself a power user but wants to extend her tech skills to programming. She writes in:

The more I hear about people automating things with scripts and programs they write themselves, the more it seems that being able to write code is a good skill to have—at any job. I’m not a programmer, but I’m interested in maybe becoming one. What’s the best language for someone who’s savvy but still very much a beginner to learn?

We’ve got our own opinions on this, but first we want to hear from you. All the coders out there: where should an aspiring programmer start? Help us point Sheila in the right direction in the comments.


  • I agree with LEADEYE. Check out Visual Basic especially if you’re working in a Windows environment. The language is fairly transparent between windows scripting (VBS), Microsoft Office macros (VBA) and event full-blown windows and .Net application (VB.Net) development.

    I find that it’s pretty easy to Google examples and developers are always keen to help out.

  • I think any C-based language is a good way to go, since there are quite a few of them, and the syntax knowledge is mostly transferable from one to another. I started with Java, and it was pretty easy picking up C#, JavaScript or PHP after that. That’s a pretty diverse skillset already, as it can cover desktop and web development.

  • I have been doing Java since my sophomore year in high school. The transition (I have heard), is fairly easy to javascript, php and objective c#. It is also the AP Computer Science language of choice, so if you are still in high school it’s most likely the best choice.

  • I cut my teeth on perl over 10 years ago and that was great. But now I would suggest Python! So simple to pick up and play with especially with it’s command line interpreter. Also it is object oriented and requires little or know knowledge of memory management to use (which is a plus at the start for budding programmers but soon becomes a problem once they moving into industry!).

  • if you want to do web based tricks then a scripting language would be the thing to look for (javascript may be). if you want to play around with desktop applications then vb is the language you should be looking for, although i must say the syntax is slightly different from c,c++ or java.
    if you want to be a serious programmer then start with c.
    happy programming. hope you have your first program shouting hello world 🙂

  • Visual Basic is a great programming language to start with. To move on to other languages, look for example programs that are indexed using the Program Phases methodology.

  • I started with biterScripting to learn scripting. It is excellent in getting you up to speed quickly. I believe they still offer free downloads –

    Also, once you have the basics, you can use their sample scripts to start working on more advanced problems – web page parsing, downloading data, regular expressions, etc.


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