Programming is quite challenging for many people, no doubt about that. As a programmer or web developer, there's a high chance that your relationship with doing a program is a love-hate one.
By the same token, it's one of the highest paying professions out there, with an average salary of $118,000 for seniors in the United States. So, if you want to be more competitive, check out our best programming certification review. In addition, we answer your coding vs programming dilemma.
Many programmers and software enthusiasts enjoy their job because it's challenging. However, for others, it can be a living hell. So, is programming hard? Yes or no? Let's explore that in more detail as we break down specifically which programming languages are hard to learn and which are easy. Keep reading!
Is Programming Hard to Learn?
Well, to be honest, a question like "is programming hard to learn?" is very generic. There are over 700 programming languages with varying degrees of complexity applied in a wide variety of industries, making this question impossible to answer.
Due to this specialization's diverse nature, many variables and lines of code can determine whether programming is hard to learn or not and how much time it takes, like the chosen language(s), industry, firm, and interpersonal skills. Soft skills also come into play, as programming demands excellent communication skills with colleagues from other functions and clients.
The job satisfaction rate among programmers is estimated at 67.7%, which is an above-average score compared to other jobs.
What Computer Science Majors Think of Programming
Computer science is defined as the study of computation, algorithms, data structures, and computational machines. Programming is one of the many computer science fields that include other disciplines, like data science and artificial intelligence. Some of these specializations still use programming to varying degrees, though.
While it's true that many computer science majors specialize in computer programming later on in their career, it's hard to ignore the fact that a computer scientist's job can be quite different from that of a programmer or software developer in several situations.
However, it's not uncommon for CS majors to consider a career shift at least once in their lives. This is especially true for women, as it was found that women are twice as likely as men to quit programming. Depending on your experience level, you may find that learning how to code is getting easier as you gain more experience.
Which Programming Language Is Hard?
Not all languages are on the same page when it comes to learning difficulty. Some languages are actually relatively easy to understand, while others could take a lot of time for you to master.
Easy-to-Learn Programming Languages
Here's a quick breakdown of some easy computer programming languages that anyone can learn in a relatively short time:
Python is perceived as the most straightforward programming language to learn, even for complete beginners and new to the programming industry. It's usually taken as an introductory course in many computer-related college programs.
If you're an engineer, there's a high chance that you've taken at least two Python courses throughout your academic journey, even if your specialization is unrelated to computers. It's a high-level, general-purpose language, meaning that it can really be implemented in various industries.
Ruby on Rails
The popularity of Ruby on Rails has really skyrocketed among programmers in the past decade. Programmers actually enjoy writing code because it helps them get used to good coding practices to help them with other languages.
Another big plus for Ruby is that it's open-source and has a vast user base, making it an excellent choice for those who like learning with others. It's a great language for developers to build websites and applications because it simplifies systematic tasks.
Java is yet another popular programming language that shouldn't be hard to learn for beginners. It's an object-oriented, class-based, general-purpose programming language that uses a clear syntax, which can be second nature to you in a short time. It's highly structured, so learning how to write code in this language shouldn't be complicated.
Android, the operating system that runs a big chunk of smartphones worldwide, is written in Java, which explains why Java is present in every mobile software developer's arsenal.
C is a core programming language that the vast majority of software developers and programmers are familiar with. It's one of the oldest and first programming languages out there, with its origins dating back to 1972.
As a programmer, learning to know how to code in C can be quite helpful, as it'll help you learn other programming languages. The code of some of the world's most high-end supercomputers is written in C, which just gives you an idea about how legendary this language is.
Hard-to-Learn Programming Languages
If you want something a lot more challenging, let's introduce you to some of the most demanding coding languages out there:
Programming is hard, but C++ is like the devil's advocate in this thrilling field. The C++ language is based on C, and it's one of the most challenging programming languages to learn.
We know you feel a bit confused right now because we said earlier that C is an easy language to learn, so why is C++ hard to learn? Well, primarily because of its complexity, in addition to the fact that it's a permissive language. We wouldn't like to write a program with this one without being proficient in C.
Objective C is yet another difficult-to-learn language based on C. Writing code in Objective C is one of the most challenging tasks a programmer could go through. Its syntax is very complex to the point that a few code lines can take you an hour to write.
If you google "Why is Objective C.." and let the search engine give you some autocomplete suggestions, you'll notice that a lot of people ask why this language's syntax is so weird.
You need to learn C first before giving Objective C a shot if you want to avoid the hassle of learning it from scratch.
Prolog is one of the oldest logical languages that ever existed. A lot of programmers aspire to learn it in this day and age because of its wide array of artificial intelligence applications. Learning to code in Prolog isn't something that you can master overnight, though.
The language is unique, and its syntax isn't anywhere close to other programming languages, which makes things super challenging. Not to mention, it can require a highly professional compiler to translate the code into machine-language instructions.
Haskell is a functional language built on lambda calculus, with numerous teaching, research, and industrial applications. So, what exactly makes Haskell challenging to learn? Well, it relies entirely on a functional paradigm, for starters, as opposed to imperative commands that other languages use. On top of that, debugging a program written in this language can make you go mad.
Another vintage programming language is LISP, a high-level language that dates back to 1958, making it the second oldest language right after FORTRAN.
Just like Prolog, LISP is extensively used to write AI programs. Among the main challenges that face a programmer when writing code in LISP is that it contains a considerable number of parentheses, making it harder to understand and get used to. Not to mention, it's highly fragmented.
Markup languages utilize tags to define elements in a document to be syntactically distinguishable for the computer. They're still considered programming languages, but not in the full sense of it.
Some of the most popular markup languages used in web development include HTML, XML, and XHTML. These languages aren't difficult to learn, and they're most commonly used in web development.
Is Programming Stressful?
As we've mentioned earlier, not everyone has the same feeling about programming. A lot of people may consider a career shift because of how stressful their computer programming job can get at times.
Nevertheless, even the happiest programmers may feel stressed at some point when they can't figure out that small bug that ruined the whole program. The job does require some patience; in the end, that's something we need to make do with!