Want to Be a Developer? Learn These Programming Languages First

June 22, 2017

If you want to get into coding, a good language to start with is Python.

If you are in the process of picking your career or thinking of switching careers, there are few options more lucrative than web developer.

Our research shows web developers are among the most in-demand professionals in the world and the average American software engineer makes $95,000 a year. Clearly, it’s a smart financial decision to learn how to code.

But where do you get started? There are at least 256 programming languages in the world, all with their own unique pros and cons. If you are looking to become a software engineer, what programming language should you learn first?

Well, we can help. Using both LinkedIn data and industry knowledge, we’ve identified the programming languages you should learn first if you want to become a software developer.

The first language you should learn if you want to become a developer

For someone new to software development, Python is a straightforward entry point. It is easier to write applications because it requires less code to get an application running.

Python is consistent, rather than having idiosyncrasies like those found in languages that have evolved over time. It’s also open source, has an active community of developers, runs everywhere and is well suited for everything from programming IoT devices to analyzing data to building desktop and web applications. It's also popular, listed fourth on the TIOBE Popular Programming Language Index.

A LinkedIn Learning introductory course that covers Python is Python 3 Essential Training. We also have a Learning Path for becoming a Python developer.

But just saying you want to be a programmer is relatively vague. Software engineers generally fall into three categories: front-end developers, back-end developers and full-stack developers.

To help you find out which one is a better fit for your skills, you can view our course Becoming a Web Developer: Full Stack vs. Front End.

The languages you should learn to get into front-end web development

If you're starting out in front-end web development, you need a solid understanding of HTML and CSS. These core foundations, while not strictly about programming, define the structure of your projects and how those structures look.

Even if you know you want to focus on programming, you should learn at least the basics of HTML and CSS first, to know what you'll be manipulating. LinkedIn Learning courses that teach these skills are HTML Essential Training and Introduction to CSS.

Once you’ve mastered those, you should learn JavaScript, which remains dominant for front-end web programming at all levels, from simple scripting to large-scale application development. JavaScript is the only programming language supported by most web browsers and has proven itself capable of supporting complex projects.

A good language to learn after you've mastered JavaScript is TypeScript, which adds a type system that many developers from other languages find comfortable. It's growing quickly; as "developed by Microsoft, used by Google" is an easy pitch, and recent builds of Google's Angular framework rely on it.

LinkedIn Learning courses that cover these topics are JavaScript Essential Training and TypeScript Essential Training.

You may also want to add another tool to the core languages.  Many developers building web applications use a framework to handle common tasks and provide a logical structure for their project. Angular, React and Bootstrap are the most popular frameworks at the moment.

LinkedIn Learning courses that cover these topics are Angular 2 Essential Training, React Essential Training and Bootstrap 4 Essential Training.

The languages you should learn to get into back-end web development

For someone looking to dive into back-end web development, PHP is a great entry point. More than 50 percent of the web is built using PHP.

PHP is known for being easy to get started with, yet powerful in its functionality. Back-end developers should be basically familiar with front-end tech as well, like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Server-side programming languages often integrate with databases, so learning the basics of a popular relational database management system like MySQL is useful.

Ideally, aspiring developers should also learn a framework along with PHP to help them provide structure to their projects and support better coding practices. Laravel is a very popular PHP web framework to try out.

To make it easy on you, the LinkedIn Learning Learning Path Become a PHP Developer covers all of these core skills.

Finally, Node.js is a valuable skill to have for back-end developers – it’s popular, it’s growing quickly and it allows you to write JavaScript code on the server side for fast, light-weight applications.

A LinkedIn Learning course that covers this topic is Node.js Essential Training.

Bottom line, becoming a developer can seem like an onerous task. But, by prioritizing these few languages, you can quickly learn the skills you need to be a successful software engineer.

LinkedIn Learning teaches all the skills you need to become a software engineer. Start your free trial today.