5 answers

What is the best programming language to learn at a young age to prepare for programming in college?

Updated Forest, Ohio

5 answers

James’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

"Programming in college" is pretty broad, but it seems like you're thinking about pursuing a computer science degree or similar in college? If that's the case, the programming languages taught first at each college will vary. For example, UCLA starts with C++, while Berkeley starts with Python. If you already know what language your target school starts with, great! That'll be the one to learn.


However, it's likely you don't know that yet, which would be fair. In that case, I'd recommend learning some kind of C-family language (most programming languages fall into this category). What this means is that the languages' syntax (the "grammar," if you will) is pretty similar between each other, so the skills and conventions you learn will also be easily transferrable. I learned Java in high school, because my school offered the class, but I understand not everyone will have had that opportunity.


That being said, college courses typically at least start by assuming you have no knowledge of the language in question, and will be designed around you picking up the language as you go. Learning programming before entering college is good to familiarize yourself with the paradigms that exist, but don't feel that you need to know everything or else risk falling behind. The hardest part of programming, I've found, isn't learning new languages, but rather learning how to use the tools available to you to solve problems.

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

The whole area of computer science that involves programming is very broad and your area of programming concentration should be based upon your interests and how you see yourself applying programming. It is good to get to know yourself early on to know how your personality traits relate to people involved in various areas of computer science and programming and then to talk with them to see what they do, how they got there, and what advice they have for you.


Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

Lev’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

Python is a good general programming language.

Javascript is what is used to build web sites and web applications, pair it with HTML and CSS.

Swift is also a good option if you want to start building some apps for iPhones and iPads.

Lev recommends the following next steps:

  • https://developer.apple.com/swift/
  • https://www.codecademy.com/
  • https://learncodethehardway.org/

Michael’s Answer

Updated Bend, Oregon

I believe learning to get comfortable solving problems and learning any language can be a benefit. The specific language is not as important leading up to college.

I got interested in programing by experimenting with HTML and custom DOS prompts (old). When in High School, I was lucky enough that classes were offered. The language was Turbo Pascal whichI have yet to encounter again in school or work. Still, when I got to college and started having classes in C, C++, Java, etc. this wasn't a barrier. I had exposure to programming concepts and solving problems. What followed in college was more in depth learning of the syntax/semantics, algorithms and generally more learning how to learn.

In short, learn what most interests you and will keep you engaged.

Best of luck!

Matthew’s Answer

Updated

There is an app called Grasshopper it's a great start. I would say HTML is a good start