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Best programming language for a beginner?

Discussion in 'Scripting & Programming' started by Wallybazoom, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Wallybazoom

    Wallybazoom New Member

    I'm interested in pursuing a career in programming but save a brief and illuminating (hence my question) taste of Turbo Pascal and HTML several years ago i have absolutely no experience!! None!!! :D So can any of you dispiritingly learned and clever ladies and gentlemen advise me of what the best way to start off would be? I would like it to be a language that has some practical value (with regard to finding employment or at very least looking impressive on my cv) but not at too high a level to freeze me out before I've even got my coat on, if you see what I mean! Also are there any certifications etc that I might want to work towards? Any assistance gratefully received. Thanks.
    Certifications: MCP
  2. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster


    if you have done some programming with pascal then i suggest some visual basic 6 or c++ next... you will find some syntax will be the same but im sure with a good book you will pick up either language
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  3. Wallybazoom

    Wallybazoom New Member

    Thanks Zimbo, was thinking along the lines of Visual BASIC as I'd gotten the impression it was fairly beginner friendly. Are there any widely recognised certifications in this that I could work towards?
    Certifications: MCP
  4. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Microsoft has a whole line of programming-based certifications.
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  5. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

    Before you look to get certified it may be wise to learn the language.

    Take a look here for some of MS's Certifications.
  6. Lugosi

    Lugosi Bit Poster

    If you're looking to kick off a career it might be worth thinking about what sort of developing really appeals to you.
    Just picking a language and then trying to find work is a bit arbitrary. VB is pretty easy and very user friendly, but there is always far more work for java developers. But java developing, along with C++ and to an extent C# requires more actual programming ability and technique.

    Id suggest, if you're doing it purely to get a career, look at all the job boards and see whats being asked for most often. Then see if thats an area you fancy working in.

    If its any help, I initally learnt object oriented programming using UML. Because that taught basic developing skills rather than just the syntax to one particular language I found it really easy to pick up new languages and new aspects.
    It basically meant that I could write a program then just translate it into whichever language I chose.

    Its also a tough area of the industry to break into, might be worth thinking of a plan for how you will look to get work with no experience before you even set off.
    Not trying to put you off, theres a few rent-a-coder sites on line which let you do small projects for other people which can help build up demonstrable commercial experience. - Its just one idea.

    Good luck whatever way you go.
    Certifications: MCSE,MCSA messaging, MCITP Enterprise Admin, Security+, Net+, A+ etc
    WIP: Loads of stuff!
  7. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    You need to differentiate between 'easy to learn' and 'useful'.

    Each language has its own niche - applications, web, games etc - so it really depends on what you want to get into.

    I've done Fortran, VB.NET, Smalltalk and C++.
    I'd say the most important thing to start off with is a sound grounding in program development. Learn how to break down problems and come up with a solution. The actual language at this stage isn't as important as having a good, clear method of teaching.

    The OU is particularly good at this.

    Then you need to get into a language. As I said - pick one that has a demand in your chosen industry.

    MS do certs in VB.NET and C#.

    It may, however, not be a cert that you are after - be careful on that. Certs are great, but if there isn't one for your chosen technology, don't be put off. Logos and certificates are great, unless you are an employer who wants someone just to say 'actually, I'm really handy with C'.

    VB has a reputation for being easy to learn, so that's always something to consider...
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  8. Wallybazoom

    Wallybazoom New Member

    Thanks Lugosi and JonnyMX, very good points well made! Cheers.
    Certifications: MCP
  9. mark_uol

    mark_uol Bit Poster

    One thing that you may like to consider is that the .NET languages are Object Oriented. VB has a reputation for user-friendliness but IMO this only applies to the simple usage made whilst using such things as MS office apps. It is a high level language in the sense that the user may program using complex components as an aid to productivity. A typical use for this language is to construct the windows forms that you see most often on your computer.
    Certifications: MSc IT Security UoL
  10. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    This is spot on, learning to solve basic problems in any language is the first step.

    Practically any high level language or scripting language created since the 1970's will probably be sufficient to learn the fundamentals. At that point you can always switch once you have a better idea of your goals, being multilingual in programming languages (to an average standard) is not that difficult.

    I would just ad one extra caveat and say most people should probably avoid assembler or C++ as a first language.
  11. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

    Nothing much to add beyond what has already been very well said by some - with the quote above being of particular importance.

    Regarding breaking down problems I'd look into learning about algorithms. The study of algorithms will give you the necessary foundation that will translate across all languages that you will encounter. As you can see from the link they can get complicated very quickly (which is the reason why programming suddenly takes a very steep learning curve once the basics are grasped), but at least if you gloss over the topic it can give you an idea of the requirements as to what makes a good programmer.

    As a final word, pay particular attention to Logic and Set Theory.

    Good luck!
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  12. volatile

    volatile Nibble Poster

    Hmmm my first advice post =). My recommendation is to figure out what kind of development you want to eventually do. Do you want to do embedded programming? Game engine programming? Web-development? If you are unsure of that I'd recommend going with C# or Java. They both will teach you good object-oriented methodologies and if you learn them you can easily pick up other languages. Actually, pretty much you if you learn one language you can learn others. I tend to think that those two languages are good for developing good development habits early on. Between the two, it will come down to personal preference. C# did a fairly decent job of imitating some Java functionality. I prefer C# because most of my development at work is on that platform and because, IMO, the Visual Studio IDE is far superior to Eclipse. But!!! Eclipse is free.
    Certifications: Computer Science Degree, A+

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