How To Pick A Programming Language

With so many programming languages to choose from, it can be difficult to choose just one. To tell you the truth, it all depends on your preferences. Nevertheless, the wealth of information out there can be confusing and may even steer you further away from finding the right programming language for you.

To make things easier, I’ve rounded up some tips and things to consider to help you pick the right programming language.

The Effects of Choosing the Wrong Language

One very common mistake programmers make is choosing the wrong programming language. Sadly, when this happens, it’s often spotted halfway into the project. This not only causes delays, but it can be quite tedious and frustrating when you need to rework and redo the project to fix it. Sometimes, it’s even too late and your code is already in production.

In addition, many of these errors caused by choosing the wrong language can be avoided by simply doing research first. Unfortunately, I’ve seen programmers (myself included) choosing the wrong language because they think it will make things easier or faster. For example, a lot of programmers are familiar with Python and JavaScript. These languages are fairly easy to pick up. However, choosing them can cause the programmer to ignore better options like Java when they know in their gut that it’s not a good fit.

Picking a language based on your current knowledge and preferences can also steer you away from finding the one that truly fits you. So as a general rule, ignore everything you know about other programming languages and try to keep an open mind.

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How to Pick A Programming Language

So you’re trying to figure out how to pick a programming language. Great! Where do you start?

Let’s take a look at some of the basics.

1. Algorithm vs Functionality

There are two approaches to picking a programming language; function, or algorithm-based, and business-oriented. Algorithm-based languages like Python programming focus on the nuts and bolts of programming like a skeleton that holds the program together. In other words, the language does most of the work for you. This is what makes it easier for you to create a program.

Functionality-based languages, in contrast, focus on the problem you want to solve. The purpose is to make your life easier by letting you write less code so you can concentrate on getting things done faster.

A good example of an algorithm-based language would be Java or C++ where classes are used as a skeleton to hold everything together.

2. Specialization vs Generalization

Another factor you need to consider is the specialization and generalization of the language. If you’re planning to create a large program, you’ll want to choose a generalized language that works for multiple purposes. That way, you can build on it and make more projects in the future without doing research again.

Conversely, highly specialized languages are usually intended for only one purpose. Some examples include special libraries built for games or banking or really anything that requires heavy security.

3. Code vs Scripting

Next, you need to decide whether or not you want to use a code-based language or a scripting language. Code means that you’ll write low-level program statements while scripting showcases the high level of the language.

In other words, there’s no need for you to manually write all the lines of code because the high level of languages can do most of the work for you.

A good example of the most used programming language for scripting would be JavaScript.

4. Ease of Use vs. Advanced Features

Check out the documentation, tutorials, and test runs. This way, you’ll get an idea of how easy or difficult it is to use the language for a beginner who still needs to learn about programming languages.

The more advanced features a language has to offer, the harder it would be for you to learn. If you’re a beginner, stick to the easier ones. For example, some of the popular programming languages – C++ and Java – have a lot of advanced features that are beyond a beginner’s scope.

How to Pick A Programming Language

5. Development Speed

Another factor you need to keep in mind is development speed. Here, you should factor in the timeline for your project along with the perceived time to completion. For example, a big project that needs to be completed quickly may warrant the use of a faster programming language. It’s important to note that languages that make it easier to code may mean that you have to spend more time debugging and testing.


Now you know how to pick a programming language. The bottom line is to consider what’s most important to you: simplicity, convenience, or speed. Remember that no matter which language you choose, the most important thing is to make sure it’s the right one for your project.

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