What programming language should I learn?

You will become a good programmer only by – programming a lot. Many students don’t program outside their labs and college projects, and they never become good programmers. Try to do some coding in your free time. Try to solve Project Euler problems in your favorite programming language, or try to build a website of your own.

Having said all these here are some specific tips. These may or may not work in your case:

  • Enterprise development:  Learning Java is a good. Java is used in many software shops as the primary language. It will take you a long way in most situations. At the same time, I have some objections with using the language from a startup programmer point of view. Read the discussions here too.
  • Web development:  Learn HTML , XHTML,CSS, JAVA Script and PHP. PHP is most common used language. If you prefer Microsoft technologies use ASP.Net MVC.
  • Windows development:  Learn C# (and probably not Visual Basic). For running C# applications in Linux, check out the Mono project.
  • There are many excellent programming tools or IDEs you should try to master. Eclipse is a popular IDE. Notepad++ is a popular code editor.
  • You should be learn about stuff like Regular Expressions, Unicode, Information Security etc. (I cannot even attempt to list all the topics)
  • Try to keep up with new technologies. You don’t have to learn all the latest languages, but try to have an awareness of the latest trends in programming. For example, web development, mobile phone development etc are areas where lots of innovations are happening. You don’t want to miss any of those if you are intersted in those fields. Then again, the forums I mentioned above will come handy.
  • Learning just one language is not very good idea. Learning a lot of languages is also not a good idea. Strike a balance between the two extremes and try to be good in at least 2-3 different programming languages in different fields. (As explained earlier, different languages are used to solve different types of problems)

Good luck!

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