Which programming language should I learn?

Hey fellow Sitepointers!

I’ve kludged around in PHP for about a decade, but have never really learned even the fundamentals for any programming language.

My question to you good people is this: Which language would you recommend learning, for a complete noob?

My requirements:

  1. preferably “easy” or at least semi-intuitive for a non-programming type to pick up and learn with minimal tears. I’m a visual thinker, and have never had much success with math and programming/scripting (again, other than kludging existing scripts). I realize this is a loaded requirement, as everyone defines “easy” differently!

  2. forward-thinking – though I’ve traditionally utilized apps for website use, I’d adore learning a language that would be applicable for emerging technologies – be it mobile phones, virtual world environments, that sort of thing.

A pro developer friend of mine suggested Python might be a good choice, due to its “batteries included” scope of having a large built-in library.

I don’t realistically plan on becoming an expert programmer by any means–I just would like to learn the basic fundamentals so I don’t have to stumble around blindly. :slight_smile:

Any guidance would be appreciated!

Why don’t you try something that won’t work if you kludge it, like Java or C#?

Because I’m trying to reduce the odds of driving myself into a padded cell. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I’m really not a math-and-programming person–much more of a visualizing, creative wordsmithing sort of individual. Probably why I’ve been relegated to hacking others’ code instead of creating my own. :slight_smile:

PHP’s the place to be, then. Start building something of your own without anyone else’s code. No reason to switch languages unless you have a fetish for lining up tabs (use Python) or neat-looking syntaxes (use Ruby).

This forum, Facebook, Yahoo! Answers… they all run on PHP. It’s not just a language for hacking things together.

As far as driving yourself into a padded cell, you’d want to do some LISP/Scheme programming for that. Even computer scientists have been known to go briefly insane learning it, but once they do, their IQ increases a few points.

Groovy, I appreciate that input, Dan. From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like Python is pretty “noob friendly” but you’re probably right in embracing PHP, if for no other reason than the fact that it’s the language I’ve been using for a decade already.

Thanks for the feedback. :slight_smile:

Also, if anyone agrees or disagrees, please do post! I value the input, sincerely.