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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 06 Mar 2014

Does the programming language matter?

At some level, ends and means in computer programming dictate that whatever language gets you there is the right one.

If you want to work on a certain project, and that project's code happens to be written in PHP, that is something to think about.

Do you want to attract collaborators? From among the languages you like, pick a popular one.

If you're just starting out, anything will do. I do quite a bit of my code as Bash scripts because it gets the job done and I understand it. I'm dabbling in Perl because people I collaborate with and respect also use it. I'm keeping an eye on Python and Javascript because they are both growing rapidly.

Once you've been coding awhile, if you know enough to really do anything in one language, picking up another one shouldn't be too hard. The programming principles you've learned in one language will help carry you through with another.

In fact, anything you know about making a program work in Language A will help you figure out what you need to know in Language B.

If you don't know anything: Don't get hung up on which language you should learn. Instead, if what you want to do has anything to do with the World Wide Web, start learning all you can about HTML and CSS. Don't skip over them and go straight to Python and Javascript. Knowing how markup and styles makes things look on the Web is incredibly important, and this is knowledge that will repay your effort many times over.