[Techtalk] Programming language for a beginner?

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Fri Nov 23 03:56:12 UTC 2007

AstroGirl writes:
> I'm interested in learning to program for a living.. :) I was looking for a 
> suggestion for a language. I've never really programmed before - but looking 
> around, Python looks interesting (mostly because of pygame, admittedly!). Is 
> that a good starting language, 

Python should be an excellent starting language, especially if
you're motivated to start playing with pygame (you'll learn faster
if you're working on projects you find fun and interesting).

Python also has really good documentation and there's a lot of
good information on the net -- when you're stuck on something google
will very often find the answer (in fact, when I'm stuck on projects
in other languages, googling tends to find more python help than
whatever language I actually want, and I often have to add -python
to my search).

> or is there something that employers would be 
> looking for instead? 

If you're just starting with programming, I wouldn't worry too
much about picking the most marketable language. Python is somewhat
marketable -- there definitely are jobs for it, so it's not just a
"toy" or "teaching" language -- but the important thing is that
once you get some practice in programming, you'll almost certainly
want to learn several more languages. Picking up new languages isn't
that hard once you understand the basics and have some practice with
programming -- in fact, it's fun to learn new languages.

If you're aiming at a programming job, you're probably doing
well to start with a scripting language like Python (other options
are Perl and Javascript). You're more likely to see junior
programming jobs in those languages than in the compiled languages
like C, C++ and Java, where they usually want programmers with
quite a bit of experience.


    "Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional": http://gimpbook.com

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