Selecting A Programming Language and Mapping Out Your Career in Tech

What are you looking to build? That should be the first question when selecting any programming language to start with. On your journey, you will hear many different opinions about which languages are best. Many will say JavaScript is a great language to start with and others may say Ruby on Rails but it’s very important to do your own research and to assure that you aren’t wasting your time learning how to code in a language you may not use. Hence, choosing a language is like choosing a spouse; you don’t want to marry the language that won’t be conducive to your future and you definitely don’t want to continue divorcing one and moving on to another. In this post, I will demonstrate how to marry the language suitable for you and hopefully help you map out your career path.

Technology is evolving at a much faster pace than ever before. Programming languages popular a decade ago are no longer popular. This is largely due to the influx of computer usage and programmers over time with their passion to build improved, and more efficient products. In turn, they’ve mastered the ability to tailor the former languages which were mostly lower-level, machine code languages requiring a compiler (which I will explain in more detail later) into higher level scripting languages that do not require a compiler. Programmers have always searched for shorter and more convenient methods to use code to convey instructions using the simplest most readable syntax. Keep in mind, a lazy programmer is an effective programmer because he/she saves a lot of time executing an instruction using fewer lines of code. As a result, there are approximately 256 programming languages to date. However, you’d want to hone in on the top 5 most relevant languages in 2016:

1. JavaScript

2. Java

3. Python

4. Ruby



What Would You Like to Build?

Stay true to your goals and do not let anyone convince you otherwise. What do you want to achieve as a programmer? Before I started coding I became very overwhelmed with the number of languages there were and which ones would suit my dream idea. I started with JavaScript because I’ve heard so much buzz (and also confirmed via research) about it being the most significant, front-end, beginner-friendly language, that allows you to build almost anything on the web. And because my focus at the time was to build web applications, JavaScript was definitely the first choice. However, not only did I notice that JS was moving down the spectrum in demand a bit but my interest in building iOS and Android applications increased. Therefore, I decided that I should focus on Java and Swift. I ended up practicing in Ruby and Python just to grasp the skill of coding in various languages when I really didn’t have to. Focus on the one you are going to need to develop that prototype you’d like to create even though your language of choice may not be relevant in a few years. It’s perfectly fine to take the route I did and explore a bit with different languages but like with everything in life, if you are willing to get anywhere fast with the least amount of confusion, focus on one thing at a time. Wait until you’ve mastered programming in one language before moving on.

Stay In Demand

Your main objective should be to stay in demand. Not only do you want to be true to your goals but you also want to choose the most relevant and profitable tools to help you achieve those goals. Once you’ve mastered coding in one language, chances are it may not be the most in demand next year. Although there’s always a need for developers in every company, your salary may be contingent on the type of language you use. This can apply to independent web-app developers, mobile application developers, freelancers, tech start-up entrepreneurs, and job seekers searching for employment in the tech industry. For example, I work in Investment Banking and we rely on legacy code and tons of data with high security. Due to the exorbitant amount of data and security, our risk management software is built on C#, WPF, and Java. Unfortunately, my skills lie primarily in Javascript but this has been a great learning experience for me. My team also has plans for migrating to Javascript to get up to speed with the newer technology of the time but of course, they prefer the AnguarJS over the ReactJS framework and this will for sure be a slow process.

The diagram below ranks the demand for programmers in 9 language fields according to the amount of available positions for each in 2016.


Also, keep in mind the importance of developing good data structure and algorithms problem-solving technique. It’s important to fully understand these concepts in any language you choose.

In conclusion, choose the programming language that best suits the industry you’d like to pursue, focus on mastering that language first and all the concepts and then start learning other languages.

Happy Coding!


Author: Vanessa Mack

A Christian millennial, fascinated with grace, passionate about learning, tech, finance, expressive writing and encouraging others.

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