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  • Writer's pictureBy Alexander Batenhorst

Choosing the Right Programming Language for Your Project

Updated: May 28, 2023

• SDK • Scaffolding

If you are interested in becoming a software developer, one of the first decisions you need to make is which programming language to learn. There are many factors that can influence your choices, such as your personal preference, your career goals, and the availability of resources and mentors. In this article, I will share some tips on how to pick a programming language that suits your needs and aspirations.


Pick one code based on local geographics. Depending on where you live and work, some programming languages may be more popular and in demand than others. For example, C# is popular in the Omaha metro area in Nebraska. Although C# was my primary focus, I stuck with JavaScript since it was the first language I used when first learning how to develop over three years ago.


Find a Tech Mentor


Next, find a tech mentor that’s either been a software developer or is some kind of information technology professional. Learning a new skill can be challenging and frustrating, especially if you don't have anyone to guide you and answer your questions. A tech mentor can help you overcome obstacles, provide feedback, and motivate you to keep going.


IT professionals with over a decade of experience usually have enough coding background to point you in the right direction during the early learning process. Using an IT professional instead of developer was helpful making the decision to go into software development because at the time there were zero programmers in my old community in rural Nebraska.


Embrace Diversity


I was excited to find different cultures within the tech community. These individuals from a different cultural background single-handedly impacted my early tech career path. They were the best mentors early-on in the process.


Diversity can enrich your learning experience and expose you to different perspectives and approaches. You can also benefit from the support and encouragement of people who share your different diverse background and identity and work in technology. But much can be gained by embracing different cultures than your own—depolarization.


Community


Find resources and communities to support your learning. There are many online and offline resources that can help you learn a programming language, such as books, courses, tutorials, blogs, podcasts, and videos. As discussed in previous blog posts, immersion in programing via different medias support the lower level of Bloom’s taxonomy. Immersion is what helps you “remember” and start nailing down the schema of software development required to begin the early learning process. But don’t forget to use other in-person resources.


One resource in Omaha Nebraska is the Dotnet meetups. I believe they have been around for over two decades. Their mission, pulled from their website, is to facilitate a discussion environment for .NET developers and IT professionals focused on building real-world solutions using the Microsoft .NET platform. You can also join them online for hybrid in-person and online tech presentations if you don’t live around the area. Be sure to check via your favorite search engine, the local resources available in your area. These can be forums, chat groups, social media platforms, or events where you can network, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects.


Stick to One Language


Stick to one language during the first year of the code learning process: I cannot emphasis this enough. This was the best advice I have gotten from my early tech mentors before switching careers. Learning a programming language can be overwhelming at first, as you need to master it’s syntax, logic, and features. If you try to learn multiple languages at once, you may end up confusing yourself and losing focus. It is better to stick to one language until you feel confident and comfortable with it before moving onto another one.


Often, I wanted to learn the next best popular code. However, I remember one of my tech mentors slapping me on the hand and telling me to stop thinking about other programing languages. He gave this advice to stick to one language, no matter what, in a stern manner. The way a big brother talks to his little brother—with great sincerity.


Conclusion


I hope these tips will help you choose a programming language that fits your needs and aspirations. You may also benefit, like I did, from having a mentor from another culture. Remember that there is no one right answer for everyone, and that you can always change your mind later if you find a different language more appealing or suitable for your goals. If you are within your first year of learning code, stick with only one language that’s most popular in your area.


Sources as of 5/20/2023

Omaha Dotnet Meetup (n.d.). About Us.

2 comments

2 Comments


Matt R
Matt R
Jun 21, 2023

Hey Alex, great article. There are a variety of different paradigms in software development, but two standout in my experience: Static and dynamically typed languages. The paradigm choice new developers make for their first language can be a major influencer. The first language I used was dynamically typed, and I learned the hard way that while it's super easy to get started in this paradigm, it is wrought with pitfalls. It's definitely possible to build good software with dynamic languages, but you have to be extremely disciplined for it to be long lasting and adaptable to a changing business environment.


Static languages, on the other hand, are more difficult to learn and can take more time to build, but they…


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By Alexander Batenhorst
By Alexander Batenhorst
Jul 17, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for your comment. You have some good points about static and dynamic typing. I think both have advantages and disadvantages, and it depends on the project and the developer. My goal is to help new and aspiring software developers learn and grow in the tech field. Having almost a couple years under my belt in some form of software engineering, I like to share my own journey and challenges along the way with you. I hope you find it useful and interesting. 😊

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