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Don't ask what language you should learn, just get started 12 years ago

One of the weird results of my journey from "non-technical" to "professionally" technical in less than a year has been how I've been able to convince so many other people to do the same thing. Convincing someone to learn to code is a classic example of where voice matters: when I say I went from knowing nothing to getting a job coding in 6 months, somebody with no coding experience sees a path to follow, whereas when someone with a CS degree says it, they see a bunch of bullshit. I take this seriously, and I spend a ton of my time advising and helping people get started with learning to tell computers to do their bidding (i.e. learning to code).

The biggest hurdle I've found is that most people who are learning code ALSO have friends who have been coding for years who confuse them with a bunch of shit that doesn't matter. The biggest one: spending three months asking What language should I learn first?

OH MY GOD IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER! Especially when it comes to server-side languages, the differences between learning Python, Ruby, or Php are just not that important. I personally suggest Python to a real beginner, because grasping the syntax is really easy, but that really only matters for the first week or two. Once you understand what an if statement does, you can Google the syntax of if statements in ANY language at ANY time and then you know it. The concepts are generally the same across all commonly used server-side languages, and while the specifics of each language will matter to you at SOME point, it's certainly doesn't matter now because you don't know anything.

You need to do the following: 1. Pick a tutorial to start learning what code is and how you write it. I recommend Codecademy, but whatever. 2. Learn how to set up a Dev environment with an IDE and something like MAMP. Google it or ask your friends. 3. Start building something, anything, and when you don't know what to do, Google it. Watch YouTube videos, copy other peoples code (but don't copy and paste, write it out), and go from there. 4. Ask other people for help, but with tangible questions because you're actually building something.

You'll be surprised how fast you know what you're talking about if you follow those steps. What matters isn't what code you learn, it's that you learn to code at all. Mastery and being picky about what language to learn comes later, just get started!