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Learning to code-What programming language should you learn first?

Programming is how we talk to the machines (computers) that are increasingly woven into our lives. If you aren’t a programmer, you’re like one of the unlettered people of the Middle Ages who were told what to think by the literate priesthood. We had a Renaissance when more people could read and write; we’ll have another one when everyone programs. Tim O’Reilly Founder, O’Reilly Media

Programming is the language of the future and of now. If you can understand, much less speak code you can build anything!

With the vision of making Lagos the technology frontier in Africa, the Lagos State Government of Nigeria few months ago set for itself the audacious goal of teaching  1 million Lagosians by 2019 how to program through the Code Lagos project, an initiative of the Lagos State Ministry of Education. It has by this effort set the pace for other states in the federation to follow.

There is no doubt that countries all over the world are now beginning to see the benefit of the adoption of technology in governance. They have come to realize that for their societies to survive, thrive, and remain competitive in a technology-driven world; they must develop a population that can effectively leverage technology in day-to-day living and in the world of work.

If we are to prepare Lagosians and every Nigerian for the next 50 years, the State and Federal government needs to encourage  more of our citizenry to learn programming skills, regardless of their future profession, age or gender. Coding gives you the basis to understand the world of today, so that we can control the world of tomorrow

Why Learn to Code?

The Code Lagos project is aimed at preparing the citizenry to communicate in the language of the future, harnessing the benefits of technology and meeting the new workforce demands in a technology driven economy. The initiative will also enhance the lives and promote the livelihoods of its citizenry.

Coding is today’s language of creativity. Learning to code is a fantastic opportunity equalizer – if you’re good at it, it can help you achieve your dreams.  Yishan Wong, CEO Reddit once said,

One hundred years ago, people were faced with the choice of learning to read or remaining illiterate laborers who would be left behind as have-nots in a rapidly modernizing world. In the coming century, being able to command a world that will be thoroughly computerized will set apart those who can live successfully in the future from those who will be utterly left behind.

With this in mind, the Code Lagos initiative by the Lagos State Government should be applauded and adopted by all.

There is no doubt about the fact that learning to code is tremendously empowering.  It lets you go from just being a consumer of technology to being a producer of it. Learning to code is a pathway to full participation in the modern workforce and in public life. By providing every citizenry of Lagos State with the opportunity to develop coding skills is an essential part of the work of governments to create opportunity for its citizenry, eliminate inequity, and prepare students for success in school, in career and success in life.

You need to learn a programming language

And whether you are interested in learning how to program out of sheer interest or because of the career opportunities or both, you’d need to learn a language first. The question I often get asked by first time coders is what programming language should they learn?  To most if not all the Code Lagos trainee this question is equally important more so with loads of different programming languages with different learning curve to choose from.

To be honest programming is hard enough without the confusion of what programming language to master first. This is because we have programming languages such as Python, Java, C, C++, and JavaScript, C #, Ruby, PHP, Objective C, HTML and more to choose from. This is the reason why for a first timer in the world of programming, it can be a nightmare choosing the right language to learn.

My answer to this question has always been to think about what you want to do when it comes to coding as your end goal will dictate what language to learn. Basically, it is down to one question, what do you want to do with the code?

What Programming language should you choose?

It is our belief with the information displayed in the table below, the confusion as to which programming language(s) to learn will finally be taken out. Nonetheless, whatever programming language you end up learning, there is a high demand for them.

Programming language Brief Description What it is used for Used to Build
PYTHON A server side interpreted, open source, non-compiled, scripting language. Web development, Video Game Development, Desktop Graphical User Interface(GUIs), Software Development Instagram



JAVA A programming language that developers  use to create applications on your computer Android &IOS  app development, Video Game Development, Desk Top GUIs, Software Development Minecraft


C A general purpose imperative programming language, ideal for developing firmware or portable applications. It was originally intended for  writing system software Operating systems, Software Development, Hardware Amazon Kindle,


C++ An object-oriented programming language viewed by many for creating large scale applications Software Development, Search Engines, Operating  Systems , Video Games Google, Outlook
JAVASCRIPT The most commonly used client side scripting language, which means JavaScript code is written into an HTML page. It adds interactivity to your website Front end of websites, Analytics, Widgets, Web Interactivity Used on parts of PayPal, YouTube
C# (Sharp) It is a powerful and flexible programming language which can be used to create a variety of applications limited only by your imagination There is no constraints on what you can do with this language but it has been used for Windows Applications, Business Enterprise Applications and Software Development Stackoverflow


RUBY A dynamic, object –oriented, general purpose programming language. Desktop Graphical User Interfaces(GUIs),Web Applications, Web Development Hulu



PHP A server -side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general -purpose programming language. Web Development, Creating Database Enabled pages, WordPress Plugins Facebook


OBJECTIVE-C A general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. It is the main programming language used by Apple for the OS X  and iOS operating systems, and their respective Application Programming Interfaces(APIs) Choose this language if you want to focus on developing iOS and OS X apps only. It is the primary language used by Apple. Used to build Mac OS and iOS

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Which is the easiest language to learn?

Python programming language is a great language for beginners into the exciting world of programming and is widely regarded as the easiest to learn. In the United States for example, 8 of the top 10 universities computer science departments as well as 27 of the top 39 schools now use Python to teach coding at the introductory level of the computer science course.

You don’t have to be genius to learn Python programming language. You do not need any previous knowledge of programming either but just a familiarity with how to use a computer application like MS-Word, e-mail and Browsers like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Mozilla Firefox.

If you are the creative type, and you love problem solving, and if teamwork is your strength and if you want the power to change the world – then programming – is for you!