I want to know how hard. I get many different answers to this.
Not hard at all if you familiarize yourself with the documentation at python.org.
Programming is not for everyone, and different learners need more or less time to cover the fundamentals. The main site (Codecademy) offers introduction to the basics and a little beyond, though it is not exhaustive or even a complete fundamentals course. It depends upon the learner to be motivated, determined and most of all, interested in exploring the language as they learn each new concept.
Will it help you get a job? Yes and no. An employer is looking for aptitude as much as knowledge and skill. They will want you to work with minimal supervision and direction, and to be able to work with a team, each member holding up their own end. If Python is your only skill, it will be a hard sell unless you are exceptionally gifted in information and data science, and/or computational science (engineering, maths, etc.).
For my own part, as a hobbyist one cannot really speak of being a programmer since I only dabble in the language, and do not make a living at it. That is why you will see me spending time with the beginners more than the experts.
If you are new to programming, that would make one an uber newbie who has no selection criteria to go on.
Q., “Which language should I learn first?”
A. Which ever one you can apply right away. The practice of programming is that first off… practice.
All languages start off the same wy, pretty much, but the lower lever languages will progress along at a brisker pace than the higher level ones. C, Java, C++, C# are lower level and without a lot of study and effort will get one bogged down early. They are also not very forgiving, with a strict need for accuracy and correctness. Well, that can be said of any language, though the higher level (interpreted) languages give us extra breathing room for errors, and often those errors do not require a verbose tracking report.
[ 'JS', 'Python' or 'Ruby' ] but subjectivity aside, either one is a suitable entry point from which we can springboard to the other languages and learn all three eventually.
Q. “Is it better to immerse one’s self in a single language?”
A. Subjectivity aside, that is an ‘it depends’ question, even still. The surest way to get a solid footing in any language is to do it until it hurts; then rinse and repeat. There is nothing to be gained by trying to have too much on our plate at once, unless we count confusion and a lot of errors as gains.
Best on the whole to review the overview of each language, dig around for some sample code that uses only what is introduced in that introductory reading and then decide which language you would have the most use for immediately.
JS is a nice place to start because every browser has it built in. It also melds with HTML and CSS very seamlessly, being one of the three defacto API’s in a browser. If you are not aiming at web development, then it is still a suitable language but will need an environment such as
Python is a delightful language to learn and use, and Ruby is so intuitive it makes us seem smarter than we are once we get a feel for it. (Oops, sounds subjective.)
Regardless the language you start with, keep in mind your main goal… Programming, which concepts should be at the forefront of all your early learning. It’s not just keywords, but logic, without which all programmes would be spaghetti code. It will be tantamount to acquire proficiency in the design and implementation of a program. Once we have that, the language is secondary.
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