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What Programming Language Would You Recommend to Someone Who's Not Naturally Inclined toward Coding?

Hello, DEV community! We have an intriguing topic up for discussion: Which programming language do you think would be most suitable for individuals who don't possess an inherent inclination towards coding?

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

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Top comments (18)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern • Edited

I think it depends on the coding environment — so make sure they don't have to muck around with dependencies (i.e. get them going on Replit without much fuss).

For me I'd go Ruby because I think you can get a lot of mileage with the basics. Get them into an IRB session and start showing them how to code:

name = "ben"
# "ben"
name = name.upcase
# "BEN"
name = name.reverse
# "NEB"
name = name + " Halpern"
# "NEB Halpern"
5 .times do
  puts name
# "NEB Halpern"
# "NEB Halpern"
# "NEB Halpern"
# "NEB Halpern"
# "NEB Halpern"
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Start here, and then the follow-on story is that you combine this with a lot of other stuff you're building on top of, and this is how programming works.

If you get them nodding along with this, I think you can get them to install a simple Sinatra server (it won't be simple to them, but if you set it up for them, the important parts would be simple) and render some HTML based on a parameter. Now you've got them thinking in code!

The last thing you send them off with — in this day and age — is the knowledge that "These days AI might be able to do a lot of this for you, so if you have the basics, you can use modern tools to tie together what you know and don't know and soon you'll be doing surprising stuff!"

vulcanwm profile image

i thought ruby was hard...
it actually doesn't look that bad

tfantina profile image
Travis Fantina

Ruby was my first language that I actually learned (not counting playing around with PHP and Javascript), I don't think I would have learned to program without it.

fen1499 profile image

Either javascript or python, depending on the person's goal but I'm more inclined to recommend javascript

The reason is that I've seen many non-programmers taking javascript as a hobby, I think it's because making things that you interact with is more engaging to the average person than any kind of automation or backend you can do with python

rainleander profile image
Rain Leander

Hey there! Loved this question and wanted to share my two cents on this.

If someone is not naturally inclined toward coding but still wants to dip their toes into the programming world, I'd highly recommend starting with Python. Why? Well, a few reasons:

  1. Simplicity: Python's syntax is clean, easy to understand, and very intuitive. It's designed to be human-readable and it's great for beginners.

  2. Versatility: Python is an incredibly versatile language. You can use it for web development, data analysis, machine learning, AI, and more. It's a language that grows with you as your skills develop.

  3. Strong Community: The Python community is vibrant and supportive. There are tons of resources available, from online tutorials to libraries to forums where you can ask questions and get help.

  4. Popularity: Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, and its popularity is still growing. This means lots of job opportunities and a robust ecosystem of tools and libraries.

Now, it's important to note that the 'best' language really depends on what you want to do with it. If you're interested in front-end web development, you might want to start with HTML/CSS and JavaScript. If you're looking to get into mobile app development, Swift (for iOS) or Kotlin (for Android) could be the way to go.

Regardless of the language you choose, remember that coding is a skill like any other. It takes time and practice to get good at it. Don't get discouraged if you don't get it right away. Keep at it, and most importantly, have fun with it!

Happy coding!

lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

Most languages are equally bad when it comes to starting your developer career. So my pick would be Javascript, because it is ubiquitous, easy to pick up, robust and forgiving, thus making it the least bad language to be ones first one.

acoh3n profile image
Arik • Edited

I'd submit raw HTML & CSS because:

  1. They're relatively simple to learn.

  2. You get instant, tangible, visual feedback.

  3. You can build real world, useful projects.

  4. It's the very bedrock of the web which everything builds on.

  5. No "magic" happening behind the scenes as would be with frameworks and higher-level abstractions. And a great starting point once they "graduate" to using framework. Also once you do HTML & CSS the "hard way" it's easy to understand the point of higher level framework, templating, loops etc.

  6. Natural first step for web development.

  7. Huge array of wonderful, free course on YouTube and elsewhere.

ibrahimraimi profile image
Ibrahim Raimi

For me, I would say Python is the best language to learn, not only because of its popularity but also because it is less complex compared to other programming languages like Java, Go, or even JavaScript.

Moreover, it is quite easy to set up and get started. You can set up a development environment on your local machine or use a cloud-based environment or IDE like Replit

flavius_the_0th profile image

Either Python or Javascript. Both are easy to learn the programming basics (although Javascript has its own issues...) and have an active community.
Python because there's a hype towards A.I and that might get them to start programming.

fabriziobagala profile image
Fabrizio Bagalà

Hello to the whole community 👋

This is a wonderful question, which in turn suggests another:

If you know the difference between frontend and backend, in which of the two areas would you like to work?

If you like frontend, definitely one language I would recommend is HTML, even it is not a programming language but a markup language. It is easy, intuitive and that is where web programming starts.

If you like the backend, from personal experience, I would recommend C. Although it might initially seem impossible to learn, in the long run it opens your mind to certain topics that with any other programming language you can't "see". If you get into it, obviously the next step is to learn C# 😄

rachelfazio profile image
Rachel Fazio

I loved learning in Arduino (which runs on C++), because the physicality of it helped me better understand problem-solving! Also special mention to learning to code in After Effects Javascript and Processing, also same sort of deal, learning to code in something visual always helped me!

ervin_szilagyi profile image
Ervin Szilagyi

Something were you can express a lot by writing less, so obviously Python.

iamspathan profile image
Sohail Pathan

I personally started with C and that helped me build up my logical ability. So ye C programming could be the one :)

webbureaucrat profile image

Every answer is bad because the real answer is to ask them what it is that they don't like about programming and go from there.

renancferro profile image
Renan Ferro • Edited

I would perhaps indicate the old and pleasant Delphi

crt0r profile image
Timofey Chuchkanov • Edited

Racket. I'd just throw them a link to "How to Design Programs, Second Edition" :D

techwithdavid profile image
David Fabusuyi

Is scratch a programming language? If yes, I'd recommend scratch. :)