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Post University Blog

Our lives depend almost entirely on computers. From the workplace to the conveniences of home, we look to trusted devices, websites, and applications to educate and entertain us. Behind every device and program is a talented computer science professional who has worked hard to make the digital experience as enjoyable and secure as possible.

Computer information systems (CIS) make the most of data and digital communication, customizing technology to meet users’ needs.

Programming languages are not only crucial to success among both tech professionals but also to the functioning of society. Master these, and you will be empowered to make a difference.

To help you get started, we have compiled a guide to programming languages and their role in the modern digital landscape. Along the way, we will answer common questions, such as: Which programming language should I learn first? Keep reading to discover the answer.

Computer Science 101

Computer science is a broad field that centers around computing processes: the hardware, software, and algorithms that underscore computer systems. This field should not be confused with the everyday use of computers and devices within the general populace. Rather, computer science focuses on the principles and processes needed to program computers so that they can carry out desired functions.

Programming is by no means the only crucial element of computer science. The algorithms designed and utilized by computer scientists also play into analyses of hardware and software performance. Furthermore, these are essential for designing new applications and implementing effective security solutions. The broad field of computer science incorporates many important subfields, such as:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Computer architecture
  • Computability theory
  • Data mining
  • Graphics and visualization
  • Distributed computing
  • Coding theory

Job Market

Because the field of computer science is so vast, the same is true of relevant job opportunities. Many employers actively seeking professionals who understand the foundations of computer science and how to apply technical and problem-solving skills in the ever-evolving technological landscape. Potential jobs available to applicants with computer science skills include:

  • Web developer
  • UX designer
  • Systems architect
  • Software quality assurance analyst
  • Web developer
  • IT project manager
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Video game designer

Long-Term Career Vision

It can be tough to predict the future for programmers and other tech professionals, as the industry is changing so rapidly. Many of today’s most in-demand tech jobs look dramatically different than they did a few short years ago—or they may not have existed at all.

If we can predict anything about the future of the computer science job market, it is that artificial intelligence will play a greater role in this field moving forward. The foundations of computer science will remain important, however, and may grant professionals increased flexibility when working with AI solutions. Career planning can help you develop a vision you are passionate about, but you should also be adaptable enough to change your approach as new tools and technologies become available.

Programming: The Difficulty Curve

You can expect to face a relatively steep learning curve in modern programming. At the outset, you will need to absorb a wide array of new concepts while also working diligently to develop high-level technical skills. If you stick it out through the initial challenges, however, you should increasingly find it less difficult to obtain new skills.

Start With One Language

While there is no one way to master programming, some students find it easier to focus on a single language at the outset. Think of this as the tech version of learning world languages; it may be easier take a deep dive into, say, Spanish before tackling Mandarin or Finnish. Through the effort to master that first language, you could gain valuable skills that make it easier to learn each additional language.

This concept holds true for computer science, but with a major distinction: It may be more difficult to determine which language to study first. There is no right answer, but career aspirations can provide some guidance. If you want to work in game development, for example, your language-learning trajectory may look a bit different than that of a future cybersecurity analyst. As such, we have highlighted a few of the most important languages and the advantages they can provide for specific computer science professionals:


HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is a must for web developers. Like other markup languages, it involves a strict set of rules that determine how text and images will be formatted. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) complements HTML, describing exactly how elements written in HTML will be stylized.

HTML and CSS are typically learned together, and, chances are, you already have some familiarity with these, even if you are not consciously aware of it. No worries if it feels completely new; it is widely agreed that HTML is one of the easiest languages to master. All it takes is an overview of tags and basic elements. The downside? HTML on its own will not get you very far, and, even if complemented by CSS, you will only have a surface-level understanding of web development.


As one of the most widely used and trusted programming languages, Java is classified as multi-platform and object-oriented, meaning it focuses on objects that will be manipulated, rather than the logic that underscores this process. Advocates believe that Java is portable, robust, and highly secure. Most also argue that it is incredibly easy to learn and, as such, a great candidate for a starter programming language. Its syntax is simple, so before long, you should be ready to tackle a variety of practical applications.


As a central technology underscoring the World Wide Web, JavaScript is a must for creating dynamic content. The vast majority of today’s websites rely on JavaScript for client-side functions. This near-universal application makes JavaScript a compelling option for a first language, although, as with HTML and CSS, its applications beyond web development are limited. Still, most web developers will need to use JavaScript at some point, so it is a great language to start learning and experimenting with early on.

Java vs. JavaScript

Those with a limited understanding of programming tend to confuse Java and JavaScript. Their names are certainly similar, but differences abound, beginning with the syntax and rules which, for JavaScript, are more relaxed and do not call for compiling into executable files. JavaScript is more frequently used for web development and game development, while Java is preferable for big data functionality. Java has a cleaner syntax but involves more complications with testing.


Like Java, Python is an object-oriented language. It is relatively easy to learn and highly flexible compared to other object-oriented languages. Enthusiasts find it fun to experiment with, to the point that Python has developed one of the field’s most active and engaged communities. This, alone, makes the thought of learning Python compelling. Meanwhile, its ease of use and adaptability make it a great option for professionals outside of programming, such as accountants and even scientists.


Yet another object-oriented language, C# (pronounced ‘C-Sharp’) is best known for its strong ties to Microsoft. It is highly scalable and ideal for expediting the development process and benefits from the extensive capabilities of the .NET framework. Because this is so closely tied to other C languages, learning it can serve as an excellent introduction to C or C++.


Not to be confused with the previously described C#, C++ is another object-oriented language, but the similarities end there. C# is a higher-level language, and due to its simple syntax, it is easier for most people to learn. C++ calls for more extensive study, but the rewards can be considerable; its performance and general memory management are superior. Versatility, adaptability, and lightning-speed execution also make C++ stand out.


As an open-source scripting language used on the server side, PHP is a great general-purpose option and especially ideal for web development. It is relatively accessible, yet it manages to provide many of the advanced features that today’s most talented programmers demand. While most programmers do not start with PHP, its similarities to HTML make it a great candidate for a second or third language.

Practice Your Coding Skills With Tutorials

Once you have determined which programming language to learn first, you can seek resources to help you as you embark on this exciting journey. Coding tutorials can provide valuable insight and motivation every step of the way. These are easily available online and can take many forms: Coding bootcamps, videos, and apps should all provide a strong start.

Programming Languages for Specific Use Cases

We have already touched on the general applications for several types of programming languages, but now, get ready to dive into even more detail. After all, if you have specific aspirations for your career, you will probably need to focus on a few core languages. Other languages may be complementary, but it is often better to gain an in-depth understanding of the languages most relevant to your chosen career path.

What Programming Language Should I Learn for Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity represents one of the fastest growing and most important areas of computer science. As threat actors become more sophisticated and cause more damage, it takes an increasingly knowledgeable workforce of cybersecurity analysts to combat these attacks or, at least, minimize the damage. Programming languages are a central part of this effort, and the following are most valuable from a cybersecurity perspective:

  • PythonWhile a variety of programming languages can play into modern cybersecurity initiatives, Python is one of the most reliable. Its value lies largely in its automation capabilities, which streamline the information-gathering process known as reconnaissance. Beyond this, Python is beneficial because it is so versatile. It can be used for creating payloads, decoding packets, port scanning, and more.
  • Ruby on Rails. Although it qualifies as a framework and not a language, Ruby on Rails deserves a mention. It is an excellent option for securing websites, especially against common concerns such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and other injection attacks.

What Programming Language Should I Learn for App Development?

App development is a quickly growing area of computer science that calls for both strong technical skills and an abundance of creativity. The possibilities are practically endless, but it all begins with a strong programming foundation. Programming languages that support app development include:

  • JavaAs the go-to language for Android app development, Java is flexible and user-friendly. It also offers plenty of security advantages. Advocates are impressed by Java’s portability, which makes it the most versatile option for modern app development.
  • Swift. Created by Apple, Swift is the preferred programming language for iOS. It was developed with safety in mind, bypassing many unsafe code classes for preventative reasons. Clean and concise, Swift is easier to use than many of its C-based counterparts, but also limited given its close association with Apple.

What Programming Language Should I Learn for Web Development?

Programming for web development often looks considerably different than the processes used to create applications or boost cybersecurity. With web development, the central goal is to create dynamic sites that are fun and easy to navigate. Programming languages (and frameworks) capable of accomplishing this include:

  • JavaScript. We have already touched on JavaScript’s prominence across the modern virtual space, but this cannot be overstated. In fact, JavaScript could arguably be referred to as the language of the web. Mastery is an absolute must for any aspiring web developer.
  • Python. It might not seem like a natural fit for this category given its strong association with cyberspace, but Python is actually a web developer’s dream come true. Much of this appeal lies, as per usual, with its strong community support, although its adaptability also makes it appealing to web developers.
  • Ruby on Rails. Again, a cybersecurity essential enters the web development space. Ruby on Rails is heavily utilized by many of the online names we take for granted, such as Airbnb and Shopify. This full-stack framework has all the tools needed to tackle a variety of web development concerns on the front and back end.

Front-End Web Development

Front-end developers draw on the power of code to bring clients’ unique visions to life, calling for a unique blend of programming and design skills. The goal is not only to create websites that are pleasing to the eye but also virtual spaces that optimize user experience so that they feel effortless to navigate. Other front-end responsibilities shared by web developers include:

  • Implementing mobile-friendly designs that make sites easier to access on smartphones.
  • Fixing issues in the code via debugging
  • Following search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.
  • Taking steps to improve cross-browser compatibility.

Back-End Development

Focused on server-side needs and activities, back-end development involves everything that is not readily visible on a website. This may not receive as much fanfare as its more visual front-end counterpart but the accomplishments of front-end web development would not be possible without strong back-end practices as a foundation.

Back-end developers focus on the nitty-gritty of how a website actually functions. This means writing code that emphasizes functionality, even if these efforts are never directly seen by users. Key responsibilities that support strong back-end performance include:

  • Creating application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Performing quality assurance (QA) testing
  • Assessing website performance and scalability

Full-Stack Development

Centered around the end-to-end process of development, full stack incorporates both the front and the back end. Full-stack developers are the web’s jacks-of-all-trades, capable of creating both client and server software. This role, above all others, calls for the mastery of numerous programming languages, including client-oriented essentials (like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) along with server software (such as Java, C#, PHP, and SQL).

Can and Should I Learn Multiple Coding Languages at the Same Time?

No single approach to learning coding is ideal for every individual. A lot depends on why you want to learn to code and how you want to use that knowledge. As we have discussed, many aspiring programmers choose one language to tackle at the outset to build comfort with the actual process of learning and using programming languages.

Once you begin to feel confident with your first coding language, you will be ready to experiment with others. Future language-learning initiatives will require a lot less time and effort, so you can more easily divide your focus between multiple languages or frameworks. In fact, at some point, tackling multiple languages at once may be preferable, as you can learn a lot by comparing the syntax.

How Your Degree Program Can Help You Master Programming Languages

Ready to expand your coding skills? Tutorials help, but nothing matches the support and accountability you get from a respected degree program. Post’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems is an excellent option, providing a thorough overview of programming languages, paradigms, and methodologies. Reach out today to learn more.

Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s programs and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.