A Beginner’s Guide to Coding Languages

The beauty of mathematics lies in how every problem can be approached in a different way. You can reach the same solution by using different formulae and theorems. In the same way, when it comes to coding you have hundreds of programming languages at your resort. While the main goal of these languages is the same— executing the instructions given at hand, every coding language is different. These differences arise owing to their characteristics, methods and applications. There is no “best” language because all of them have their own specific uses. With everything going digital, learning to code has become more important than ever. Learning a language isn’t that hard, but the biggest question that everyone faces is “which language should I learn?”. To make your lives easier we have listed down a few languages and it’s attributes and purposes that are in boom and will be helpful for you in your future.



C is one of the oldest commonly used programming languages. Many other programming languages such as C#, Java and JavaScript have their roots in C. C++, on the other hand, is an enhanced version of C, it has additional features such as classes and inheritance that are not present in C. The primary difference between these two languages is that C is a procedural programming language and does not support classes and objects. At the same time, C++ is a combination of both procedural and object-oriented programming languages. A lot of programmers set their foot into the coding world by learning one of either language. C++ is one of the most popular languages and the best when it comes to competitive coding, thanks to its Standard Template Library. Due to its high speed, and proximity to hardware, it can easily manipulate resources and provide procedural programming over CPU intensive functions. This makes C++ the best choice when it comes to game development. It is also used to develop GUI based software and is also used in writing database management software. It is also an ideal language for writing an operating system.

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Java is a programming language, designed to be concurrent, class-based and object-oriented. Its syntax is similar to C++ programming language, but it is simpler to use. What gives Java the edge over other languages is its portability and security features. Java is known for its platform independence: “Read Once Write Anywhere” which allows developers to run the same application in a variety of systems making it appropriate for the distributed environment of the Internet. The set of security features protect a PC running a Java program not only from problems caused by erroneous code but also from malicious programs such as viruses. Java has a very rich Application Programming Interface for networking, utilities, and database connection, to name a few. Java finds its usage almost everywhere from complete applications for mobile and desktop to an applet (small application module) for a webpage. Java will continue to be one of the front runners among all the programming languages as long as object-oriented programming paradigms are relevant. The vast availability of Java programmers shows why Java is a crucial programming language not only to strengthen the foundation of your coding skills but for implementation in a wide variety of applications too.

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Modelled after the English language, Python is easy to learn, write and understand. It allows you to focus on the algorithm without having to bother about the syntax intricacies. Python is a multipurpose language due to the uncountable number of open source libraries, frameworks and modules available in Python. There are frameworks like Keras, TensorFlow and Pandas for machine learning, packages like NumPy and Matplotlib for data science, Tkinter and Pygame for computer graphics, Django and Flask for web development and, frameworks like Pytest for testing to name a few. A lesser-known application of Python is that it can be used as a scripting language for automation of specific tasks. Python is flexible and has several powerful applications integrated with other programming languages like CPython, RubyPython and Jython. Overall, Python is one of the fastest-growing languages with demand in the large industries and has an incredibly supportive community, be it answering queries on Stack Overflow or uploading python programs on GitHub.

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HTML, CSS and JavaScript

When it comes to developing web pages, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are the three languages that you must know. Although these languages are closely related, they are in charge of different tasks. HTML is used to add and divide the content into sections that you want to display on your webpage. CSS helps make the content more attractive and adds animations; its primary role is formatting the content you enter in HTML. JavaScript is used to make the webpage interactive and dynamic. Technically speaking, HTML and CSS aren’t programming languages; they add content and style the components of the webpage. But learning the basics of HTML and CSS is a must before learning JavaScript for web development. JavaScript is used to modify website content and make it behave in different ways in response to a user’s actions; any client can interact with the website owing to JavaScript.

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Kotlin is a cross-platform, open-source general programming language with type interface. It was initially designed for the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and Android that combines the features of both object-oriented and functional programming. Although the JVM version of Kotlin’s standard library depends on the Java Class Library, due to the type interface, its syntax is more concise. It also compiles in other languages, for example when it comes to web applications it compiles in JavaScript. Upon its launch, Kotlin was included as an alternative to the standard Java compiler. But in May 2019, Google declared Kotlin as its preferred language for Android app developers

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R is a vector programming language specifically designed for statistics and data science applications in business and industries. Every industry ranging from finance to medicine uses R for data analytics, portfolio management, statistical modelling and so on. R lends itself well to business because of its depth of topic-specific packages. The significant advantage that R has over other programming languages is its communication infrastructure with the ability to generate reports for business using the Rmarkdown framework. It can create detailed visualisations using packages like ggplot2, lattice, plotly and rgl, to name a few. R can produce machine-learning powered interactive web applications using the Shiny framework. R was considered as a challenging language to master in the earlier stages but now with the help of the Tidyverse ecosystema collection of open-source R packagesand robust integrated development environment (IDE) tools like RStudio it has become a lot easier.

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MATLAB stands for matrix laboratory; it was initially written to provide convenient access to matrix software. A matrix-based language, it has a lot of in-built math functions that help you to explore multiple approaches to arrive at the same solution quickly. It lets you execute your ideas from research to production by deploying to enterprise applications and embedded devices, as well as integrating with Simulink and Model-Based Design. MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages. The applications of MATLAB are numerous, ranging from mathematics computation to modelling to data analysis to graphic user interface building. It is used by a lot of engineers, scientists and economists. 

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If you are an ardent coder, chances are you are already using a Linux Operating System. If not, Linux is a more developer-friendly operating system and preferred by most programmers over other operating systems. Linux is open source and hence free to install. It is secure, robust and versatile, and supports most programming languages inherently. Bash is a Unix Shell and command language. It has been used as the default login shell for most Linux distributions. A shell is a command processor that provides you with a user interface to run commands. Bash can also read and execute commands from a file, called a shell script. The advantage of shell programming knowledge is it provides greater control over your OS and its functioning. Bash helps in manipulating file management, reconfiguring software and using different tools to integrate commands and create complex combinations. Bash is not meant for all applications but is very powerful and efficient when used for the right purpose. Bash improves the general interaction with your machine and is a desired skill in most IT companies. 

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Written by Ankita Ghosh and Aakanksha Mantri for MTTN

Featured image from Canva

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