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Discussion on: I want to learn a new programming language. What should I learn?

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Daniel Brady

If you want to tie your decision to a language that a lot of people use for similar purposes, I find StackOverflow's annual developer survey to be a useful resource when considering this question.

For AI, machine learning, and data science, Python is the reigning monarch of programming languages at the moment, and has been for awhile.

For robotics, I don't have much experience to draw from. But I was told while at university to start by looking at languages often used in embedded systems and rule-based systems; to me, that means some variant of C, Rust, and Lisp (my personal favorite Lisps are Racket, Clojure, and Scala).

If you're mainly interested in personal growth, rather than how applicable a tool might be to your programming practice, I recommend designing/choosing a project and then doing that project in a language vastly different from the one(s) you're comfortable with in some way. (For me, this would probably be something with strict typing and/or DIY memory management.)

I see this a bit like traveling to a place with a vastly different culture from your own: the things you take for granted will start slapping you in the face, your world views about "the way something is done and why" will be turned upside down more than once, and you'll come back home with a valuably different point of view.