What is the best programming language to learn first and why

“What is the best Programming language to learn first” is often met with a response of “It doesn’t matter what programming language you learn first”. I get it, everyone is on a different journey, and one answer may not suit everyone. Well, in this article, I will go out on that limb and provide you with my answer as a beginner. I have been where you are. I am someone in your shoes who wishes I had an article like this when I started my coding journey (January 2022).

When starting to code, the most important thing is not which language you learn but that you start. Any language can teach you the basics of coding. The best way to learn a new skill is just to start doing it. Writing one line of code in a markup language means more than watching 10 tutorials on Python and not opening VS code.

That being said, here is where I suggest you start and why.

Start with the fundamentals

Learning to code is becoming an increasingly important skill, and for a good reason. It can allow you to create a website, build an app, or even create a whole new software program. I know how excited you are to build the next “big thing”, I am too. If you want to find out what I am trying to achieve, you can go check out my recent blog, “Why I am learning to code“. However, if you don’t understand how computers and the internet works, learning to code can be a daunting task.

That is why I believe it’s important to start with a basic understanding of computers and the internet. By understanding the basics, you’ll be able to code with a better understanding of what you’re doing, and you’ll be able to ask better questions when you get stuck. It doesn’t matter if you can build the most advanced algorithm if you don’t know how to register a domain name, build a basic website or add a security certificate. (Tasks that are easy to do with tools like WordPress, Elementor, and hosting platforms like Siteground.)

In addition, learning the basics will help you become a more well-rounded coder. As you learn more about coding, you’ll better understand the principles that underpin it. This will make you a better coder overall, and it will also make you more marketable to potential employers.

The FREE CS50’s Understanding Technology Course presented by a Harvard lecturer teaches you about all of the above. I found this course extremely helpful. It explained all of the concepts above and more in a very informative and engaging way!

Best Programming Language to Learn First

Learning to code is a long journey, and at times it can feel endless, which is why in my opinion, HTML is the best programming language to learn first. HTML is a very easy language to learn, even as a beginner, making it an ideal programming language to learn first. Once you have that first language down, it will motivate you to learn your next one, and you will also have confidence in knowing that you already have one language under your belt.

While technically speaking, HTML is not a programming language; it is a markup language. HTML is a noble markup language that makes up the structure of pretty much every website that exists!

I have started my coding journey multiple times with different programming languages, from Python to C, then an obscure language called MQL5. Every time I started, I failed hopelessly. 

Looking back, I failed because there was so much to take in, and honestly, I felt so overwhelmed! No matter how easy the python syntax may look, it is still a complex language, especially compared to HTML.

What will you learn with HTML as your first language

HTML is one of the best programming languages to learn first because it is

HTML is a markup language that stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is used to create and structure content on web pages. HTML is a core technology of the World Wide Web, alongside HTTP and CSS. When combined with CSS, HTML can create beautiful and responsive websites.

With HTML as your first language, you will be able to create and structure your own content on the web. You will also be able to understand and work with content created by others. HTML is a foundational technology, meaning it is essential for any web developer to know. Some backend developers even need HTML.

Now admittedly, if you create a website with just HTML, it will not be a very attractive site – that is where CSS comes in, which in my opinion, should be the second programming language to learn.

HTML and CSS go hand in hand, which is why I suggest you start learning them together. You can read more about why and if you can learn two programming languages at the same time here

What are the best Programming Languages to Learn First for backend development

Many resources I have found say that a backend developer should understand the frontend and vice versa. So even if you are learning to code to focus on the backend, HTML may still be one of the best programming languages to learn first.

Worst case, you spend a few hours learning something that you don’t need to use, but even in this worst-case scenario, you will know that you can learn a programming language. This increase in your confidence will help you as you continue your journey and make the concept of learning to code seem significantly less daunting. 


Learning to code can seem daunting, but when you start with a strong foundation and core principles, you will learn faster and feel more confident throughout your journey.

You will face difficult days on your coding journey, but your first few days don’t have to be, which is why in my opinion, the best programming language to learn first is HTML

If you are still on the fence about starting your coding journey, check out this article on 6 Reasons why you should learn to code.

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