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I often receive questions like which is a first programming language to learn?, Is Java a good programming language to start with?, how good Java is as a first programming language, which is the best programming language for beginners, or shall I start with Java or Python?.
Well, the answer to all these questions is, Java is one of the most popular programming languages, and there are a lot of reasons to learn Java, starting with Job opportunities to leveraging community support.
But, in the context of beginning programming or choosing Java as the first language, my most significant reason is that it's simpler to learn.
People may argue that Python is even simpler and doesn't even require to compile but I personally found Java much easier to read and understand.
One reason for this could be that C and C++ were more prevalent in those days than Java, the other most curriculum was designed to teach C and C++, and there was no Python those days, at least not in our college.
This is true, *often we don't make a choice, and we learn as part of the programming curriculum at school and colleges. In my time, C was the first programming language in our engineering college, and then we learned C++, VB, VC++, and finally Java.
Now I am saying Java more straightforward and easy to learn, but I still remember saying it was more complicated than C++ because I had to type System.out.println() instead of simpler cout to print something on the screen, but that was just a momentary feeling.
When I started writing and maintaining bigger programs, I found Java much more readable, and you can think what code is doing. Debugging and finding a problem was also much more comfortable in Java than compared to C++ or C.
By the way, I learn professional programming, or you say real coding only on my first job, and that was when I seriously started learning Java.
Here are my couple of reasons, why I think Java is the right programming language to start learning to code:
1) Java is simpler, the syntax is much more readable than C, C++ or any other language.
2) Java is good to learn Object-Oriented programming, but not so good for procedural one, prefer C there. The OOP or Object Oriented programming is a useful skill because it handles the complexity of a real-world application quite well. It's easier to think in terms of class and objects.
3) Java has a rich API, and you can do a lot more with Java including graphics, sound and most likely writing small games like Tic Tac Toe, Tetris, etc.
Not that you cannot do that with other languages, you often need to download and install different modules and library, which is a tough job for a starter. When you install Java, most of these feature comes as part of the installation only.
4) Java has strong community support, no matter what kind of questions, doubt, or issue you have, Google can find answers for you. If not Google, then StackOverflow, Java forums and a lot of other communities are there to help you out.
This is really the single biggest reason I suggest beginners learn to code using Java because when you are starting to learn to program you will face many different kinds of issues to understand for both programming fundamentals and Java.
Because there are millions of Java developers around and a big community is there to support, most likely you will find answers quickly without getting frustrated and disappointed.
5) Java is a strongly typed language, which catches many newbie mistakes. Also valid, to a lesser extent, for static typing. This is another reason I suggest beginners learn Java first then Python because Python is dynamic typing language, you don't need to define types which make learning confusing a bit.
6) Java comes with in-built Garbage collection, which is a big plus for a complete beginner. Dealing with memory management is a big thing at the start of learning programming.
These are some of the reasons why I think beginners should learn Java first than any other language. I may be biased because I am a Java programmer, but I also know Python, and I have also done professional programming in C and C++. From that experience, I can say that Java is undoubtedly one of the best programming languages for beginners.
If you have already made up your mind to learn Java, then you can join The Complete Java Masterclass to start your journey into the beautiful world of Java. This is one of the best course to learn Java for beginners. It's comprehensive but at the same time hands-on and suitable for beginners.
Now the question is the difference, It's NOT. As a programmer, you must know a lot of things, like data structures, algorithms, memory management, object-oriented programming, scripting, etc. and different language teaches you a different thing.
To be successful in a programming career, you need to keep learning and evolving, that's the biggest challenge of this field. If you happen to love programming and learn new technologies and languages, then this is the right field for you.
Another important thing for a successful programmer is to develop debugging skill, which is a reasoning based skill. If you want to become a better Java developer, you can also see my recent post about 10 tips to become a better Java developer.
That's all on this folks. In my opinion, Java is definitely an excellent language to start programming with, because it's simpler than many others and focuses truly on programming rather than managing systems, like memory management.
If you are convinced to start learning to code with Java than pick up a copy of Head First Java or join The Complete Java Masterclass and start your journey of programming with one of the best programming language, Java.
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P. S. - If you like books, you can also check out this list of Must-Read Java Programming books to learn Java in depth.