Java vs. Python – Which programming language is best to start with?

Ayoola Falola

27 November, 2019 (2 months ago)

It is a common discussion nowadays, whenever a programming newbie asks what language he should learn, a debate would soon ensue involving whether they should go for one language or the other.

Most of the time, I try to avoid the needless arguments and say anyone willing to start a career in software development should just close eye and pick a language. Because really, it doesn't matter what platform/language you start with, the spirit/art of "programming/coding" is in fact one. Remember, the computer speaks only one language? Everything in programing often boils down to relationship with flows of Logic - Content - Data.

Interestingly, once you master one language, you already have good proficiency in crucial parts of (almost) all. Being a programmer with wide experience with different languages and platforms, I understand the truth that no language is superior to another. In general sense, the art is not in the material/equipment used in making it, the art is in the artist - the expression of the programmer himself/herself.

My first attempt to programming was with PHP programming language in around 2003 for fun/play. Picked it up again in 2011 in my course of professional practice and the knowledge and experience in mastering PHP was helpful when I wrote JavaScript, Shell, Python, C and some few other languages I had to get my hands on for one reason or the other.

Apparently, anyone who will engage in serious programming for a long time will have to get their hands on other programming language apart from the one they learnt originally. Whether for legacy reasons or for the money, it's a good thing to note that, once you master the art of programming, you have the liberty of language to accomplish tasks and your programming life would (seem to) be better because of it.

By the way, I will likely write C# for the first time in my 10yr professional career because I found it's best (or easiest?) for one pet project I am working on right now.  But, I am not leaving PHP despite the fuzz everywhere about its fate. In fact, I am already thinking of powering a part of my self-driving car technology in PHP in the nearest future.

Most people who would pitch one programming language against another simply still have some learning to do, or perhaps some growing ups to. I have been there, I have done it, but exposure changes everything. Sadly, no one can teach exposure!

As mentors and thought leaders, we should learn not to play God and impose our ideas of what the future holds. A lot of factors could determine the fate of any of the languages but this, I would leave as discussion for another day.  Whenever I am faced with an opportunity to mentor a newbie, I ask them what interests them. Vast programmers would know that software development is wide; the more you know about a part, the more you realize you don’t know about other parts. I cannot imagine someone who wishes to program games starting with PHP.  So I would ask a newbie, “What interests you?” “What do you intend to do with the knowledge of programming?” The answer gathered would determine where to guide in the many learning paths leading to proficiency in Robotics, AI, Web, Games, VR, etc. I have learnt that if someone would offer a good counsel, they must in fact learn to be a good listener and not just a mere soothsayer. Everyone deserves to have a say in his or her own life, right? Let’s give them that opportunity to lead it right.

On a lighter note, I won’t be surprised if the next big thing – a technology to save the world would simply be a printout from Microsoft office. Indeed, the people of the world have no direct say as to how their world changes and so, let us equip our next generation of developers with the only knowledge they need to get started with – “Problem solving skills”.

Ayoola is a leading cyber-security expert in Nigeria. He started out as a website developer in 2002 and today, he has founded PageCarton a platform that has championed a new set of tools to publish content to the internet through web sites and apps.

About Ayoola Falola

Comments

  • Adekunle Adedayo
    2 months ago
    I like your spirit sir. I want to learn how to write programs but am a bit lazy what can I do.
    • Ayoola Falola
      2 months ago
      Just like any other tasks which requires so much "brain-power", programming requires so much commitment and work to learn, stay abreast of what is going on and also to actually "code". I doubt that you are actually lazy though, you most likely have not found what interests you enough to commit the time and energy to it.

      Go try out programming, it might just interest you!

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