“What should my first programming language be? Should I learn Javascript or C or C++ or Java or LISP?”

This is really very easy. First, not C++. God have mercy on your soul, not C++. The first plus means they added OO to C. The second plus means they added a whole bunch more WTF on as well. I’m not really trying to hate on C++ here: it’s the standard within its domain for a reason. I’m just saying you shouldn’t learn C++ until after C. When you reach the point in C where you find yourself cursing structs, you can go open that ++ box.

But, C isn’t it either, not as a first language. C (and every other production language in the world) has too much you have to learn to do anything neat. And if you are trying to learn your first language, you shouldn’t be worried about which language is going translate in 6 months into the big bucks. God have mercy on your soul if you go from nil to technology resume-padding in 6 months. Your ego is not going to enjoy that experience. Trust me. That way lies pain and horror and lots phone screens where someone on the other end of the line tries (and mostly fails) to be professional and not laugh at you.

Do not change your major to CS. Do not take out student loans for a career-changing night-school CS MS. Do not enroll in a coding bootcamp until you do this one thing.

My friends, the answer to “what is my first programming language” is “anything by Zachtronics.” Just look through the Zachtronics video game catalog and pick the (programming) game that has the most appealing theme to you. Buy it. Start playing. Don’t worry about high scores. Don’t worry about beating everything. Come back when you are approximately entering the midgame.

Are you back? Tell me, how do you feel about it?

It was hard. I agree. Tell me more?

Was it fun? Are you going to keep playing? Are you trying to figure out how to solve that problem while you shower? Did you forget to shower?

Yes? Go shower, and then…

Welcome kindred! You are a programmer! You don’t know a single production ready language, and you have probably learned some horrible habits from Zach, but you are a programmer. Now….what do you want to do? Let’s pick a real language for you, and let’s fix some of those bad habits. Go ahead and change your major. Go ahead and enroll in the mid-career, night-school MS CS program. Go to that coding bootcamp (if you must. :bleh: ) You have a lot of catching up to do, some of us started this at 8 years old. But that’s our entire career, catching up, isn’t it? You are already in the club, though. Welcome. Welcome.

No? You hated it?

You’re welcome. I saved you a lot of misery and probably a lot of money. Because, you aren’t one of us. And I really don’t mean to be exclusive there. We come in all colors, creeds, ages, and genders. We are white, black and every shade in between. We are male and female and n/a. We are Catholic and Protestant and atheist and Buddhist and sometimes just flat-out weird. We are baby-faced and greybeard. But, we all love this stuff, we would do it for free. No one is more suprised than we are that they throw bags of money at us. We would do it for free. We are your competition. And in every place you want to work, we have a veto on the hiring decisions. And even if you make it through, you will hate it. You will hate it every day, and you won’t be able to keep up. You will burn out and be bitter until you either leave or get the boot.

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01 June 2021