What coding language to learn?

So I have gone through the Welcome to Codecademy, Learn How to Code, and the Code Foundations courses, and I was wondering what I should start next. I’ve been looking through, and I have 2 main questions.

  1. Are the Career Paths and the Skill Paths worth it, or is it better to go course by course for learning?
  2. What courses would you recommend?

In terms of my own research, what jumps out at me are:
Computer Science Career Path (Python, Data Structures, Command Line, Git)
Data Science Career Path (Python, SQL, Data Visualization, Machine Learning)
Web Development Career Path (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React)
Analyzing Financial Data with Python
Analyzing Data with SQL
How to build websites skill path
HTML Course
Python Course
JavaScript Course
CSS/SASS Courses
SQL Courses
Ruby Course

This is just based on what I thought was interesting, but the world of coding is completely new to me. I don’t want to spend my time learning a language that isn’t useful, or is “dying”.

1 Like

@armyrobeking Welcome to the forums!
It really depends on what you want to do. If you’re just learning for the fun of it, then I wouldn’t do a skills path or Career path, I would just do individual courses. There are two reasons for this: One, the Paths require Pro Subscription, and Two, they teach and give a very in-depth course on the language, which you might not want to sit through. So, if this is you, and you just want to learn for the fun of it, I would pick a language like Python or Ruby to get to grips with programming concepts (like variables, functions, classes, etc.). Also, if you do want to learn Ruby or Python, you can also learn SQL or HTML on the side, as they are quite different languages, so it is easy to learn side-by-side.

If you do have a particular career/job/language use (i.e. web development, etc.) then absolutely do a Path, if you want to get a Pro Subscription. This is because the Paths give a greater insight into particular areas of a language, and therefore give you a better chance at getting a job.

Don’t worry too much about this, although I do agree, it would feel like a waste of time, but everything you learn can help in some way!

I really hope this helps!


Welcome to Codecademy, @armyrobeking!

This is typically the kind of statement that you’ll see all over in places like Quora. Many, many people are wary of this, and waste more time trying to figure out what to study, than actually studying. And it’s understandable, there’s way too much choice out there.

But as @tera5288723178 said, don’t worry about this. Seriously.

None of the languages taught here are dying. What’s happening, though, is a shift in popularity for some.

Take Python, for example. It’s exploding in popularity right now, and will only keep growing for the foreseeable future. It’s at the top of the “language chain” for now, and will remain there for a while (so a lot of job opportunities, especially considering the wide range of application domains it covers).

But much like Fortran before it, then Pascal, then C, then Java… I suspect it’ll naturally “fall from grace” eventually – being replaced by the latest flavor of the time. This is normal. Does it mean one should avoid learning Python? Absolutely not. Because it will be useful for years to come. And if you’re one day required to learn something new, after years of experience programming in Python, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make the transition to something else. Don’t just fall in love with one language, they’re merely just tools one can used to get the job done. If your tool breaks, you replace it.

Ruby was, a few years ago, quite popular, especially among startups. It seemed as if everyone and their mothers was using Ruby on Rails. Not so much anymore. The fad has passed. And yet, Ruby programmers remain handsomely paid. And it’s still a great language, albeit its obvious limitations.

And then you have languages that aren’t going anywhere… for a long time still. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript –the front-end part of web development– are still required to build User Interfaces, until the day we perhaps have GUIs that’ll replace them entirely. Or a completely revamped web architecture. Not tomorrow, though. So if you want to do web-developement, you can’t go wrong studying those.

SQL, absolutely crucial. You’ll likely deal with databases at one point, so just study it.

Command Line, Git, are important things to know. Learn how they work.

But then again, it depends on what you want to do. If you want to work within the confines of the Apple ecosystem, learn Swift and don’t bother with much else.

If you want to do web development, you have so much choice. You can literally pick anything you want.

Mobile development? Swift, Java, Kotlin, or C#.
Game development? C++ or C#.
Desktop? Probably C++.
Data Science? Python, R, Julia, SQL, Scala.
OS dev? C, or C++.
Web Browser? Probably C++.

Also, learning several tools could make you a better programmer.

It depends what you want to do. If web dev, start with the basics, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
For other things, it depends.


Depends on which desktop. If we’re talking development for Windows, C# would be a much better shout these days.

On the topic of “dead” languages… ever heard of COBOL? It’s been around, in one form or another, since the 50’s, and is a pretty popular choice for business programs.

The state of New Jersey is currently looking for COBOL developers to help with some legacy software systems… so I wouldn’t worry too much about “dead” languages. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Based on the list you wrote about what jumps out to you (near the top of the list): start with Python. Learn it inside and out!

If you find yourself after some time wanting to be more visual (i.e. website development or game dev) then go to JavaScript.

Knowing both of those languages will give you lots of choices for creativity and careers.

Any language you learn after those, will be much easier because you’ve done the grind of understanding what programing is.

Also, check out (in a relaxed way) the Computer Science intro videos for Harvard.

I would love to learn to code in COBOL. In a perfect world, I would like Codecademy to offer that as a course, but they might have a hard time finding content creators :slight_smile:

Or enough students, in my humble opinion :wink:

This is very niche, I’d never expected to read a post such as yours. Pretty cool, though.

That said, I’m not convinced that this is the best decision to future-proof a career. It might, for legacy reasons and a shortage of COBOL programmers, but we might eventually migrate the COBOL code base to something else. Or not, hard to say.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, for such legacy code base maintenance, I doubt these companies would let a junior COBOL programmer handle this kind of responsibility.

If it’s just to learn one the first programming languages, then absolutely. Pretty cool.

Well, I’ve been in coding (or coding adjacent) for many years. I was in university when Y2K happened, and that was the first time I heard that all this legacy COBOL code was going to end the financial system. Fast forward 20 years, and it seems that nothing has really changed, because although COBOL is rather niche, it is still the optimal language for many large business and financial institutions. I realise that it isn’t sexy like game development, but at this point, I’m thinking of how to upskill myself, particularly for a job where there don’t seem to be a lot of other candidates.

Fair enough, that makes complete sense.

My thinking was that, in an environment such as Codecademy, COBOL might not be the best use of time and resources, as there probably wouldn’t be enough students interested. Although they do offer a Go course, which is still pretty niche in itself. COBOL is something else, though.

But yes, it’d be a pretty cool course to have.

Oh and I made a wrong assumption about your experience (as most users on here are generally getting started, junior-level). My apologies.

No problem at all. I have been teaching coding for eight years (Python, JavaScript, Java, a bit of C), and used to do simulation coding for my physics group in some mixture of FORTRAN, Matlab, and C. Despite that, I’m sure I would be considered a junior-level programmer. I’ve taken a few courses through Codecademy Pro and was trying to figure out how to submit a course request for COBOL.

1 Like

Check this out: Course Poll

Once in a while they ask the community. That said, since this poll, they added C++, C#, Swift and… Go, at a mere 3%. But not Lua, which came second though.

I think you could start a topic requesting COBOL, and tag Daniel O’Duffy (oduffy).

If the topic gathers enough interest, this could maybe work? Maybe run a poll? I’d vote yes, although I think there are more important courses to add ASAP (like TypeScript, for example).

Learn Cobol at these places:


Our neighbor told us her parents coded in COBOL many years ago and while there was a time when that work was diminishing, those few COBOL coders are getting work again.