How to pick a programming language? 🌐

5 min read


How to pick a programming language? 🌐

With over 700 programming languages in the world, settling on a single language to learn or use for your next project may seem scary. However, it's important to realize that each language has its own advantages, disadvantages, and use cases. This blog article covers some use cases for some of the most common programming languages.

Markup Languages#

Often the easiest to learn and don't really have "logic" or a "control flow" like most other programming languages.


Perhaps the most "basic" of programming languages is HTML and CSS. These tools combine to form the building blocks of ALL websites. Similar to a human body, HTML is the skeleton and CSS is the nice clothes that one wears. HTML provides the semantic structure and content of the website, while CSS decorates the website and makes everything look nice! If you're completely new to programming, learning HTML/CSS is a great way to start.


Markup is very similar to HTML, except instead of tags such as <h1>, most items are denoted via symbols on the keyboard such as #, [], (), or !. Markup is able to be processed and rendered into an HTML webpage. In fact, the blog that you're reading this on right now is written via markup!

Object-Oriented Languages#

Languages that support objects or classes are one of the hardest concepts to grasp by beginners.


As of 2021, Python is one of the world's popular programming languages. Python can be used to build websites, automate boring tasks, conduct data analysis, and even perform machine learning. On top of that, Python's syntax is very intuitive. For example, if you wanted to output information to the terminal, you just type print(<info>)! Python is one of the relatively easier programming languages to master.


Java is arguably the most popular object-oriented programming language out there. Java is used for many desktop applications that you download from the web (Acrobat Reader, ThinkFree). Additionally, the backends of many websites rely on Java (Amazon, Broadleaf, Netflix, Google Earth, Uber). Moreover, Java is also used to create web and application servers. Java's syntax is a bit more complicated than Python's to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you'll start to like the clean and robustness of Java.


C++ is a language developed by Bjarne Stroustrup as the "object-oriented" version of C. Similar to C, C++ is also a low-level language but supports classes. Being a compiled language, C++ is very fast, hence its use in high-performance applications. C++ has been supporting widely-known games such as WorldWorld of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, and StarCraft. Compared to Python, C++ is much harder to learn, with the user needing to declare the types of everything and manage their own memory in C++.

Procedural Languages#

Procedural languages are more easily understood by beginners, as the flow of the program starts from the top of the code and ends at the bottom.


Though the name is similar to C++, note that C is NOT the same thing as C++. C is a low-level programming language in which users need to create all data types they need; almost nothing is provided to the user from C. C is a scripting language used to develop many system applications in Windows, UNIX, and LINUX. As a general-purpose programming language, it can work on games, apps, and works well with performing many calculations quickly.


Even though JS can be both an object-oriented and procedural language, we will label JS as a procedural one. JavaScript has often been thought of as the most popular programming language in the world. From being used in frontend web development (React.js, Next.js, Vue.js, etc) to being used as a heavyweight backend supporter (Node.js), javaScript has many uses. When paired with HTML and CSS, JS has the ability to make web pages interactive, giving buttons functionality and even creating animations. Furthermore, JS can even be f to develop mobile applications (React Native). Almost every single website (including this one) uses some form of JavaScript.


Developed by Google, Go is syntactically similar to C but comes with garbage collection, and structural typing. Go is often used in programs related to networking and infrastructure, allowing it to replace older, server-side languages such as Java and C++. GO is one of the faster languages.


PHP is one of the most widely used programming languages on the web. By creating dynamic websites, it allowed server-side languages to be embedded into HTML. As you may guess, this means that PHP goes hand in hand with HTML. PHP is great for sending information in form inputs, controlling databases, and developing interactive websites. Similar to HTML, PHP is relatively easier to learn compared to other languages on this list.

Final Note#

As you can see, there are many programming languages out there. However, don't worry about learning all of them at once. Being able to fully master one language, such as Python, means that you'll be much better prepared to grasp the concepts in other languages!

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~ Ganning Xu © 2024