Before I talk about these programming languages, let me clarify:
- I’m not arguing that any one language is objectively better than any other
- I agree that developers should eventually learn more than one language
If you’re learning to program purely out of intellectual curiosity, feel free to skip to the next reason. But if you — like the vast majority of people learning to program — want to use this skill to get a job, this is an important consideration.
Data from Indeed.com
There are 2.7 Java developers competing for every open Java position. Competition for PHP and iOS jobs is similarly fierce.
Source: The GitHub’s 2016 State of the Octoverse
This type of inter-company cooperation is harder to find with Java. Oracle — who effectively owns Java through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems — often suescompanies who try to expand upon it.
This is a parody of an XKCD comic.
Even though universities still teach languages like Java and C++ as first languages, they’re considerably harder to learn.
And with each passing month, Atwood’s Law holds strong.
Java once promised to run everywhere, too. You may remember Java Applets. Oracle officially killed them off earlier this year.
Python suffers from much the same problems:
“How can I give this game I made to my friend? Even better, is there a way can I put this on my phone so I can show it to kids at school without them having to install it? Um.” — James Hague in Retiring Python as a Teaching Language
By contrast, here are some apps that members of our open source community built in their browsers on CodePen. You can click through and use these right in your browser:
Learn one language well. Then learn a second one.
If you keep jumping from language to language, you won’t get far.
In order to move beyond the basics, you need to learn your first language well. Then your second language will be much, much easier.
From there, you can branch out, and become a more well-rounded developer by learning lots of languages:
- C is a great way to learn how computers actually work in terms of memory management, and is useful in high-performance computing
- C++ is great for game development.
- Python is awesome for science and statistics.
- Java is important if you want to work at large tech companies.
OK, now I’m going to attempt the impossible — I’m going to try and anticipate objections from the comments section.
It is also nearly as fast as high-performance languages like C++, Java, and Go.
Here are the results of the most comprehensive recent cross-language benchmark:
exampleArray to be an array. I set its values, then check its length — meaning the number of elements it contains.
exampleArray = [1, 2] -> [1, 2] exampleArray.length -> 2
But then I accidentally assign it to be a string.
exampleArray = “text” -> “text” exampleArray.length -> 4
These kinds of errors happen all the time in dynamically typed languages.Most developers just put checks in place to prevent them, and write tests accordingly.
Objection #3: But I really want to make a mobile app
- In order for your mobile app to actually do anything interesting, it will probably need a proper back end, which you’ll want to build with a proper web development framework, like Node.js + Express.js.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that the mobile app development’s best days may very well be behind it.
About 50% of respondents identify as full-stack developers, and about 17% consider themselves mobile developers. The median number of developer type identifications per respondent this year is 3, and the most common pairs are combinations of back-end, front-end, and full-stack developer. Pairs that are highly correlated include database administrator and system administrator, DevOps specialist and site reliability engineer, academic researcher and scientist, and designer and front-end developer.
The occupations of 81,335 responses, based on responses to the 2019 Stack Overflow survey.
The grand vision of “there’s an app for that” has not come to pass. Instead, most smartphone owners have stopped downloading new apps.
Sure — they still use apps. Mostly Facebook, Google Maps, and handful of others. As such, much of the demand for mobile app developers is concentrated in a few large employers.
As of 2019, pretty much all development is web development. Everything touches that big platform that is “the web.” And the next wave of devices that you’ll talk to around your home, and cars that pick your kids up from school — they’ll all be piped together using the web, too.
You will undoubtedly hear people crack jokes at its expense.
“There are only two kinds of programming languages: those people always bitch about and those nobody uses.” — Bjarne Stroustrup