How to choose the right programming language for students

Programming for middle and high school kids

VBScript (Visual Basic Scripting Edition) is a programming language developed by Microsoft that is modeled on Visual Basic: this will probably be the first formal programming language learned. You, as a teacher, should also learn it!

Teachers might also like to look at Lua, and Papyrus for Skyrim.

Building a website for business, pleasure, or education

If you, or a student, are interested in building a website, you will need to know the following programming languages:

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). HTML is an example of a Markup language: the programming language that is used to write the code for your website: currently HTML5.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). This is the programming language used for describing the web pages written in a Markup language. It controls the actual appearance of the web pages that you see when you visit a website.

JavaScript is a programming language that is used to create an interactive environment within web browsers.

jQuery is a JavaScript library of codes, which is noted for its speed, compactness, and feature rich content; it has changed the way that people write JavaScript: most web developers prefer to use this than write straight JavaScript because jQuery is easier and can perform all the same tasks with less code.

You might also like to look at one of the following programming languages: PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), Ruby, or Python. Incidentally, it is said that Python is currently the most popular language for teaching introductory courses in computer science at top-ranked U.S. university departments.

Incidentally, building an educational website can be a great tool for teaching English as a foreign language, humanities students, and other foreign language students: it shouldn’t be thought that websites are only for sciences and math students. Build your own website and use it for setting online homework, multiple choice tests, and quizzes – include a students’ blog and then sit back and watch your students enjoy it.

Building a website may seem challenging, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. HTML is, comparatively speaking, an easy language to learn; furthermore, CSS code can be mastered with a little bit of perseverance, and jQuery is well worth learning to use.

(Next page: when to pick COBOL, SQL, C, and more)

Programming for business

If a student is interested in becoming a programmer in the business world, two programming languages to become familiar with are:

COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) is used for payroll, accounting, and other business application programs.

SQL (Structured Query Language – for databases) is a specially designed programming language for managing data in relational database management systems; it is mainly used for its ‘Query’ function, which is used to search informational databases.

Programming for academia, education, research and industry

If you as a faculty or IT member are involved in research, education, or industry:

MATLAB (matrix laboratory) is widely used in all fields of applied mathematics, in academia, education, research, and in industry. As a programming language, it is one of the easiest for writing mathematical programs.

C languages   (C, C++, C#, Objective-C) one or more of these general-purpose programming languages are well worth knowing, wherever you go.

Frank Evans is a British mathematician, information technologist, translator (Greek-English), and EFL/ESL teacher.

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