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Learn Computer Programming

Computer programming is a fun way to get creative with your computers, tablets or smartphones.

When learning to program a computer you need to start by learning a computer language. There are several different languages around with some more suitable for certain purposes. Although there are differences between the programming languages they also have a lot in common, so after learning one language it's much easier to transfer those skills on to the next language.

Which language to learn?

There are no hard and fast rules about which languages to learn. If you have a specific program that you want to write then it may be easy enough learn that language directly (eg. if you want a program to run in a web browser then most use Javascript). If instead you are wanting to learn programming in a structured way then probably the most popular languages to learn at the moment are Scratch (good for young children) and Python (useful for secondary school children and adults). A few of the most popular programming languages are listed below:

  • Scratch - Simple graphical based programming language designed for children
  • Python - Popular language with a rigid formatting which is good for teaching a good programming style. Professional language with lots of functionality and used in industry.
  • Javascript - Scripting language which runs in a web browser. Very popular for creating websites that can be updated without reloading the page. Note Javascript is NOT the same as Java.
  • PHP - Popular programming language for use in creating dynamic web pages. Runs on the server and is often used to generate pages from databases or frequently updated information.
  • Java - Portable language that can be written to run on lots of different computers. Very popular for creating smartphone apps.
  • BASIC - Old programming language, which was very popular in the 1980s. BASIC had a bad reputation for making hard to read code, but has improved greatly since then.
  • C, C++ - C and C++ are used a lot in the operating system and major software programming. These are very powerful languages, but considered by many to be difficult for beginners.
  • Perl - Less popular now than it was before, but still used a lot in system administration. Good for manipulating text files due to it's powerful regular expression support.

Programming examples

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