Introduction to Programming: The right age and what language to start with

I get this question all the time “I want to learn programming, what is the best language to start with?”

Also I get the popular notion about age, hearing a lot of folks complaining that they want to write code but that they are “too old” for it and that programming is for the young. Well by the end of this article, that question must have been answered by you!

Somehow newbies to programming tend to flow the popular misconception of how the C# programming language should be the place to start, well because it’s simple and easy to learn they say, and that it helps you to easily learn and switch to other programming languages after knowing it.

There’s also another popular misconception about how great Java is and that it’s the greatest language ever and should be first language to learn and also that you must know Java as a programmer. Hmm, a mouthful right? Yea, I know.

OK let’s pause for a moment while we clear the air here, Java is a great programming language, no doubt. Personally I love Java. As a matter of fact, I love all programming languages.. lolz! OK that’s not true, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. We’re soon to get to the point though.

That being said,

What then is the best language to start with?

Well, the answer to that question can be summarized with one word, “None”. None?? Well yes! There’s no programming standards that says Java is the basics, or that PHP, C#, C & C++, Ruby, Python etc is the place to start.

The point is it is not about the language, it’s about the platform. As a Programmer, you build or develop apps for a specific platform or platforms. In simple terms, you target a platform to build your app for, and then you go ahead and build for it!

By platform, I mean operating systems like Windows and Windows Phone from Microsoft, Android from Google, Macintosh and iOS from Apple, Symbian from Nokia etc or the Web(generic).

So each platform has a native code that runs perfectly on it. For example, iOS apps are built primarily with the Objective-C programming language, Android apps are built with Java, Windows Phone apps with C#, Web Apps with PHP, JavaScript, Python etc..

And lest I forget, JavaScript is not Java! Despite the fact that they sound alike, they are completely different and stand-alone programming languages.

So you see, each platform, one native code. However, there’s are languages that let you target multiple platforms and there are platforms that support multiple languages but it still boils down to concept of “know your target platform, learn the language.”


Even if it can be summarized to “know your target platform, learn the language“, it’s not that simple. Just like normal human languages have ways of writing and understanding them, so does Programming languages. Each Programming language has its syntax and it’s ways of writing it. This is the very basics.

Apart from syntax, there are other programming basics common to all languages that newbies needs to understand. Concepts like Loops and iterations, If-statements, Inheritance, Polymorphism, Object-orientation, Encapsulation etc.

So each has its own syntax(or ways of writing it) but these concepts are the same in all languages. All you need to know is how to write or implement the concept in your programming language of choice. Knowing these concepts allow you to easily switch between languages if need be.


Whether you’re a teen or a grown man or woman who just likes code and would love to code, all you have to do is learn programming concepts, choose your target platform and then learn the syntax for the language used on that platform. And then you build your app with language that platform understands. That’s it!

This has been a very brief overview, from my perspective of course and I sure hope it has been informative and has cleared some common misconceptions. Drop you views and opinions in the comment box. And also if you have any questions, drop your questions and I’ll try to answer them.

Thanks and see you next time.

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