Everyone who has spent any time learning to code has asked this question, and likely more times than they can count. When you first start out, you'll ask Google this question in several different variations, and you will ask some people online either on social media platforms or in digital communities like Discord channels. The reason this question is asked in such volume and in such a variety of ways is that there is no correct answer. At least not without answering some other questions first. The main thing you want to know is what type of coding you want to do. What is it that you want to code? There are several different career fields and focuses of computer science that all have their own path of learning. This is also one of the reasons that so many potentially awesome new people get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and decide that they just "can't" learn to code. The truth is, I'm pretty sure very few people that get started in tech actually know the right answer to this question before they get started, because you never really know until you get started if that's what you really want to do. So, let's talk about it, and see if we can at least come up with a decent place for you to get started!
Break It Down
You may already know that there are several different career fields that are considered "coding" careers. Each of these career fields have their own set of languages, tools, and technologies that engineers use on a daily basis, so depending on which of these fields you would like to work within, what you need to learn first will be a bit different. The fields that we will talk about in this reading are made to broad. This means that there will absolutely be niche careers that may require a bit of a different path; however, the 'first' languages for each of these different paths should be common even across the niche fields. The following are the main five fields we will discuss here.
- Application Development (web/mobile/software)
- Game Development
- Systems Engineering
- Data Science
- Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence
Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence