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Afan Khan
Afan Khan

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Which programming language should I learn first?

Scrap the title. It is the wrong question to ask. The real question should be the following.

In which tech field can I make the most impact and help solve problems by building projects? Is it Web Development? Is it App Development?

If Web Development, which tools and languages can I use?

Let’s answer these questions. I created different roadmaps for various fields, including Data Science. Let’s take a look at them one by one and understand the reality of Software Development.


Even though you may want to pick your first language easily, I recommend putting in some time because you don’t want to waste your time quickly switching to another language and then repeat the loop wherein you switch languages when you lose interest.

The stakes are high. It will take hundreds of hours of practice to become good at a language, especially JS, Java, Ruby, C++, etc. You must select a set of languages, stick to them, and keep building applications using them before switching to another one.

Consider whether people will pay to build something using a specific language. For instance, take JavaScript. It gets used universally everywhere.

Hence, the market demands proficient and well-versed JavaScript developers. If you know JS, you can switch to any other high-level language.

Consider parameters like the job market, long-term vision, easiness of learning, and other factors when choosing a language. Don’t pick languages like C as your first if you want an easy language. Before we begin, use the following webcomic for a quick sarcastic overview.

By Toggl

Most colleges and universities teach low-level C, Java, Assembly, MATLAB, and C++ as introductory programming languages due to the confusion about whether Computer Science is an extension of Mathematics.

They teach most low-level languages because they are closer to Maths. However, we tend to use high-level languages in the real world. What is the difference between them? Read here.

Learning Programming while picking the wrong language is like using a hammer for a screw. It slows down your progress and demotivates while the programmer doesn’t get jobs even after spending hours trying to learn to program.

Unless you pick PHP as your first language, there’s always something to learn. You will attain valuable skills with any language, but some might not align with your interests and require you to learn something completely different.

So. Which language and tools should you pick?!

Choosing Languages

Don’t go based on the popularity of a language. For the past 11 years, JavaScript has dominated the market as the most-used language for various fields, and that is because every industry uses it. However, what if you want to get into Data Science? There JavaScript isn’t the ideal option.

It is similar to human languages. If I want to go to Germany, I’ll learn their native German language. If I want to visit India, I will learn Hindi. And if I want to go to France, I will learn French respectively. Your choice depends on what you’re trying to make.

For the same reason, I drew multiple roadmaps for you. Most of these fields choose JavaScript as their core language. It is worth prioritizing, but I will go over other technologies to give a broader view other than my personal opinion.

Remember that learning a single language will NOT propel your career. You will require other tools, like Git, Github, AWS, etc. I have considered relevant languages and tools with current or future potential in the Job Market.

Web Development

Web Development Roadmap by Afan Khan

Most frameworks and libraries in the roadmap are based on JavaScript and can be implemented easily with it. So, it’s crucial to understand the basics of JavaScript. Another essential topic in HTML is DOM. It is one of the requirements to understand React.

Learn those JS technologies after you get a substantial basic knowledge of JS. Even the experienced engineers at Google recommend engineers master the basic knowledge first and practice explaining their thought processes.

Full-stack developers are a combination of front-end and back-end. They handle both sides. Front-end developers create those beautiful interfaces, but the back end makes those elements and components functional.

Astro and Eleventy are efficiently used to make static websites. They are not suitable for website-based applications like Twitter. We would learn React and Next JS based on React for an application like Twitter or Twitch.

SCSS is a pre-processor. It improves the CSS writing process, and TailwindCSS and other libraries with the “UI” suffix are component libraries and frameworks that provide pre-written CSS.

Data Science — AI/ML

Data Science Roadmap by Afan Khan

There are tons of concepts in Data Science. People prioritize maths, statistics, and linear algebra with probability to understand other data-related concepts. Python appears as the best solution to process data. In reality, it is significantly slow compared to JavaScript. Python has more libraries and additional Data Science and AI/ML features.

Tensorflow is another library used to bring those maths concepts and coding together to create a solution for a problem. NLPs are crucial to understanding even outside Data Science. And Kaggle is like Leetcode with pre-processed data to train your robots.

Data Structures and algorithms will never leave your bedside. You will learn them in Data Science as well. It’s not because they are useful but because they allow you to build a problem-solving curious mindset even though developers treat it like an enemy that only serves its purpose in interviews.

Blockchain Development — Web3, Smart Contracts, etc.

Blockchain Roadmap by Afan Khan

Who would have thought I would speak about blockchain? However, this concept fascinated me during the research phase. I learned everything and the process wherein the back end depends on various blockchains and smart contracts to process user details and information. They are secure.

As the Web3 concept supports the view of anonymity, blockchain allows you to do it.

The front-end or the interface for the user gets built using React and Smart Contracts based on those blockchain systems that handle the back-end with tons of data.

Mobile Development

Mobile Development Roadmap by Afan Khan

Since 1993, when IBM was digging around mobile development, there were fewer technologies to rely on. Nowadays, there are many. We divide them into pure Android, hybrid, which can create applications on every platform, including desktop, and IOS, which only has one language with more restrictions than the military strength of Costa Rica.

Frameworks like React Native, Flutter, and Ionic convert the code written using a common language into applications other platforms can adopt. Using the write code for one platform, I can make desktop, web, and mobile applications with them.

They are hybrid and all-in-one solutions. But Java and Kotlin are ONLY for Android development and cannot create a desktop replica with the same code, and the same goes for the Swift language of IOS.

Desktop Development

As stated earlier, frameworks like React Native and Flutter allow you to write code that transpiles to all platforms. Hence, if you’re making a mobile application, you are more likely to develop a desktop version of it, and you can do that with those frameworks without learning anything additional.

However, if you want to make desktop applications exclusively, I have something for you besides Java because most features released by Oracle for Java are useless (Applets were a thing).

Desktop Development Roadmap by Afan Khan

A desktop application with HTML CSS JS?! Yes. It becomes easier for you to make desktop applications if you hold fundamental knowledge of all those core web-based technologies. You don’t require quirky Java or .NET pain.

Most platforms, including Notion, convert the web-based application code of their platforms into desktop code using frameworks like Electron. If you try to press a specific shortcut, you will get the Chrome Developer tools on your desktop app even though you are not using a browser, and that’s magic.

Try pressing CTRL + I on the desktop application of Notion, and you will get a tab to view the HTML elements on a darn desktop application.

Game Development

Mobile Development Roadmap by Afan Khan

Either C++ or C#. No negotiation. It is because these are the popular languages used in most popular engines. These engines provide drag-and-drop solutions for complex mathematical movements in various games.

C++ and C# are extensions of C, the mother of all languages. However, I wouldn’t recommend learning C first. I don’t want you to give up on programming after three days of getting started. It depends on your learning pace.

These fields are like different trains. You can either pick one and stick to it daily, or first experience a gist of destinations travelled by all the trains and then pick one to travel daily.

Optimize for what fits your personality and goals. I like to try everything first, gain experience, and then pick one.

Exploring Coding

JavaScript or Python are the perfect beginner-level languages because they are used in most fields and are easier to learn. Most companies use frameworks and subsets of JavaScript. You can travel to different places with JavaScript and switch trains whenever you want without buying a new pass.

I’d recommend you pick a language that allows open-source contributions to improve the packages and libraries created using that language and make better projects for other developers. Companies like Oracle often sue various companies for attempting to expand Java beyond its current capabilities.

JavaScript avoids such behaviour, and that’s why so many companies adopted JS & TS together. Java wanted to conquer the entire market. They came up with Applets and other features. None of them lasted, and only JavaScript dominated the space. It has a large and supportive community to help you out.

I recommend starting with Web Development because it is the easiest to learn and gives a sense of fulfilment or progress when you see your code representing your vision on the Internet.

It is also because Web development-related concepts, frameworks, and libraries are present in other fields, like Web3, Desktop Development, Mobile development, and even AI/ML.

You will master the basics of JavaScript and use it in other fields as you expand. Learn one language deeply. I would not recommend joining a boot camp either because they teach multiple languages and tools concurrently with no real purpose.

You end up in a vicious cycle. Instead, pick a specific field and become a master of it.

Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript. — Jeff Atwood, the co-founder of StackOverflow.

You should prioritize C over JavaScript because C is a low-level language. It is closer to hardware than other languages if you are intellectually curious and want to learn more about computers.

If you don’t know which one to pick, watch a few YouTube videos of people from those various fields and verify whether it is something you would want to do. If yes, double down. Otherwise, move on to the next one.

But what next? I decided to pick the Web Development route and learned the technologies through practice with trial and error. What can I do next?

How do you use these languages and tools?

Begin by building projects. When you have the fundamentals cleared, you can start using them. I created a 4-step framework for building projects while learning new skills. Hence, I won’t delve deeper into this topic, and you can purchase the 20-page eBook on Gumroad with over 70+ downloads.

Build to solve problems — A 4-step framework guide to build impactful projects, learn skills, and build a portfolio.

Resumes do not matter anymore. Most high-ticket clients look for skills and practical knowledge. The best way to showcase practical knowledge is by building projects. Not only experience, but you get to learn new skills as you progress in making your projects.A degree has only become a piece of paper that signifies you worked hard for four years continuously, and dedicated yourself to merely ONE priority because they want to check whether you would leave their company or stay loyal to them for years.But how do you make impactful projects? Colleges and universities don’t teach the steps to building projects and creating a collection of those projects called a portfolio.Do not worry. I will provide a four-step framework to build great projects repeatedly. These projects will become great by providing value or solving a solution. Experience, projects, and skills matter more than mere knowledge as AI advances to memorising internet data.AI can provide the same knowledge through the internet. There are many resources. However, AI cannot give answers to problems developed by experience. When you build projects, you understand how one module interacts with the other. You face common issues and bugs. Some of these get addressed publicly, while others remain inside the minds of the top 1% of professionals.I’ll help you become a part of the 1% of professionals across various industries. You can apply the framework to any field, especially Computer Science. Everybody suggests we make a portfolio to get clients, but nobody gives the steps or path.I will answer the following questions in this eBook —How can I build great projects that add value to others?How can I acquire skills that will help us build those projects?How to build a portfolio?How can I make a mindset shift of building projects first and learning with experience?Many people waste their time trying to learn skills before creating projects, but it is the opposite, as I uncovered in the eBook.This eBook is for you if —You are someone who wants to achieve financial freedom by creating a service-based business because clients require proof of work.You are an unemployed person looking for new opportunities as projects become the utmost priority of clients and recruiters.You are a beginner, especially in industries like Software Development and want to get a head start before others with elusive work experience.You are a college student who wants to upskill themselves because the curriculum supports rote learners, not problem solvers. You cannot become a problem-solver without making projects.As I uncover the beginning of my Computer Science and hackathon journeys, I will explain how I built projects that mattered and how you can do the same.


Practising is only the first step. If you don’t use those skills and knowledge to build something, you are essentially the human version of ChatGPT who only knows to spit out answers but cannot create anything.

Engineers solve computer science-related problems using coding and leverage Programming to make websites and products to solve real-world problems. They fix those problems by building or doing something.
They use their wisdom and experience.

If you don’t use what you know, you will forget it and further blame yourself for failing to remember it. You will enter an endless loop. Hence, build a project and show it to your friends and family. Web Development is reasonable for showing.

Once you build many projects and have a portfolio, you can apply for jobs or establish a service-based business (freelancing business). You offer your skills to a company through a job or an individual client through freelancing. I chose the latter.

Build something that helps solve a problem in your daily life. Do you require a to-do list with reminders, dates, and other functionalities? Build it.

Is it a PNG to SVG converter? Build it. Without looking at tutorials and solely based on documentation or articles, you build the application and learn the skills required to create these applications while creating them.

Competitive Programming

You might have heard this term. What does it mean? When programmers avoid caring about building projects and want to win competitions and interviews based on mathematical, data structural and complex algorithmic knowledge.

I wouldn’t pick this route because competitive programmers live their lives inside a CLI, the command line interface, and fail to build projects they can deploy and show to the world or their friends and family. They can’t construct something that helps other people.

There are a few times when this type of programming helps, and that is during interviews. After the discussion, people usually don’t come back to these concepts. They enter the real world where companies build things rather than solve complex leetcode problems.

I suggest focusing on the roadmap provided earlier and returning to competitive programming once in a while with your desired language. I’m a JavaScript guy, so I use JavaScript and partially Python or C++ to solve leetcode problems whenever I decide to ruin my life (sarcasm).

Most prefer Java and Python for leetcode problems, interviews, and tough coding questions. However, I don’t remember when I last solved a leetcode problem. Even ChatGPT can do that. I focus on building projects and dislike competitive programming.

It could be because I’m an entrepreneur and freelancer now. However, if you’re optimizing yourself for a job, you will require competitive programming once you get the fundamentals correct with your respective field from the flowchart.

The Dunning-Kruger effect

More often than not, you will experience this effect. You will feel confident when you begin, then realize there are many things to learn. After reaching the lowest point of depression, you will get yourself back together, make a plan, and execute it.

From Jason Culloo

I used to watch at least five videos of JavaScript on Udemy every day without fail. If I had to stay in my college library to complete them, I would till 5:30 PM. And while I did this, I realized that I don’t and can’t know everything. There’s so much to learn in JavaScript. I lost confidence, but I got back up eventually when I realized even seniors make mistakes.

Hence, I started to focus on the crucial fundamental concepts I could learn and were within my reach instead of setting unrealistic expectations of completing JavaScript in 2 months.

I also focused on embarrassing myself to learn more. What would be the best way to embarrass yourself? Hackathons!


Once I had completed that course on JavaScript, I felt significantly confident in building complex applications. Rather than creating a project, I participated in a hackathon with other random strangers. And then I realized — I know nothing.

I came, revised all concepts, built more projects, and participated again with the wisdom and experience gained from those previous hackathons. I embarrassed myself, but I quickly entered a state of enlightenment.

To become a problem solver and great developer, you must know the basics of your field. Look at the flowchart, pick a topic like JS, and begin getting your hands dirty. There’s always a solution for something. You only need to find it.

The computer is never wrong. Stop taunting it for your mistakes. Grasp humility. There’s a lot to learn, and you cannot do everything. If there’s something you don’t know yet, use AI models or Google.

Become a problem-solver.

If you want to contribute, comment with your opinion and if I should change anything. I am also available via E-mail at Otherwise, Twitter (X) is the easiest way to reach out - @justmrkhan.

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