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By Samantha Allen
04 Apr 2019

What's the easiest programming language to learn for web development? Python vs JavaScript vs Ruby

We’ve already discussed what the most popular programming languages in 2019 are, but if you’re new to programming you may be wondering; which language is the easiest to learn? In this article we share which programming languages are the best to learn for a career in web development. We’ll review and compare Python, JavaScript, Ruby, Java, and PHP. So if you’re looking to gain web development skills easily, read on to find out which language is the best choice for you.

What defines easy?

Everyone has different learning styles, previous experience and knowledge, so what one person may think is easy, another may struggle with. As everyone’s perspective of “easy” is different, the following languages are considered to be good starting points for someone new to computer programming - but it’s not an extensive list. In the interest of providing a useful overview we are comparing 5 of the most generally “easy to learn” programming languages in 2019. It’s also worth noting that while some languages may be more challenging theoretically, if they have a dedicated online community to support programmers this can balance out the initial difficulty level.

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1. Python

What is Python?

Python is one of the most popular programming languages in recent years and is a highly recommended language for beginners. Python is used to develop desktop apps and web apps. Dropbox, Pinterest, Instagram and Reddit are amongst the apps built with Python.

Python is definitely a good choice as a first language. Once you pick up the basics of coding in Python, your skills will never become outdated.

Many people are surprised by how easy it is to learn Python, and many experienced developers choose to learn Python as their second or third language.

Read more about Python HERE.

Is Python the best language for web development?

Python is a versatile language and is used for web development amongst many other things. It’s not the most popular language for web development so not necessarily the best choice if you’re dead set on becoming a web developer. But if you’re unsure what area you want to end up working in, Python is an easy to learn entry-level programming language and will lead you to a number of opportunities in your career.

How long will it take to learn Python?

Python is one of the easiest languages to learn - if not THE easiest. It’s so accessible that it’s now taught to kids in school. It’s also an open-source language so it’s free to get started and there’s a dedicated support community online.

The fastest way to learn Python to a high standard is to attend a face-to-face training course. These are available all over the UK in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. An instructor led course for Python will consist of 18 hours of training in total over 3 days.

How much does it cost to learn Python?

As with most programming languages, it is possible to learn Python for free or low cost through online courses and resources. The drawback to this will always be that it’s harder and more time consuming trying to learn it from scratch on your own. The best way to learn Python is to invest in a course led by an expert instructor, who you can interact with and ensure you’re learning the skill correctly.

Instructor-led Python courses held in locations all over the UK start from £1,550. If you’re booking training for your team you can also have the training delivered in-house at your own office.

Book a training course to learn Python HERE.

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2. Ruby

What is Ruby, or Ruby on Rails?

Ruby is considered to be a fun language to work with, and was popular with startups and newbies. Ruby is used mostly for back-end web development, and popular sites such as Airbnb, Shopify and Twitch were built with Ruby on Rails.

As Ruby is a high-level language it enables developers to build something from scratch with less code, taking away the complex details for you. The Ruby on Rails framework has tools that make common development tasks easier, making it perfect for beginners.

Is Ruby the best language for web development?

While Ruby is used for web development, it’s not the most popular. It’s also important to remember that Ruby is used for back-end development, so you may want to learn a front-end language such as HTML and CSS too. Although its popularity is now in decline, Ruby on Rails continues to get frequent updates and is likely to be a relevant language for a while. There are likely many companies still hiring Ruby on Rails developers, so even with entry-level experience you will likely get a decent job doing back-end web development using Ruby.

How long will it take to learn Ruby?

Learning Ruby is considered to be easier than many other languages because you don’t need to learn loads of commands. Ruby also has a loyal community with plenty of useful tools to make development easier.

The fastest way to learn Ruby to a high standard is to attend a face-to-face training course. These are available all over the UK in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. An instructor led course for Ruby will consist of 12 hours of training in total over 2 days.

How much does it cost to learn Ruby?

As with most programming languages, it is possible to learn Ruby for free or low cost through online courses and resources. The drawback to this will always be that it’s harder and more time consuming trying to learn it from scratch on your own. The best way to learn Ruby is to invest in a course led by an expert instructor, who you can interact with and ensure you’re learning the skill correctly.

Instructor-led Ruby courses held in locations all over the UK start from £1,995. If you’re booking training for your team you can also have the training delivered in-house at your own office.

Book a training course to learn Ruby HERE.

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3. PHP

What is PHP?

PHP is one of the most widely-used programming languages on the internet. WordPress, Facebook and Wikipedia were built with PHP, and it’s a popular language for WordPress web developers. Considered to be beginner-friendly, PHP was a language designed for the web, and despite its reputation taking a hit in recent years, PHP is still the backbone of the majority of websites today.

Is PHP the best language for web development?

PHP is certainly a popular language for web development - in fact PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page. It’s not generally as popular as other languages such as JavaScript, but WordPress is more popular than ever and is built using PHP. So if you’re interested in being a WordPress web developer, PHP is your language to learn. It’s also useful to know HTML and CSS alongside PHP.

How long will it take to learn PHP?

Depending on your previous programming experience and your learning style, PHP can be learnt in a matter of hours through online courses such as THIS one. Mastering the language can take months, depending on how much you implement your learning.

How much does it cost to learn PHP?

There are plenty of free resources from the PHP community, such as https://phptherightway.com/

An online course in PHP for beginners such as THIS one can be very inexpensive, and depending on the status of the flash sales it can cost as little as £10 from sites such as Udemy.

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4. Java

What is Java?

Java is one of the oldest and most popular programming languages, and is used for web apps, desktop apps, operating systems and more.

Java has inspired other languages and therefore shares some similarities, making it easier to transition into another language later on. If you’re familiar with Java you’re likely to find it easier to pick up other languages such as JavaScript, C# or C++.

Java is not to be confused with JavaScript - they are 2 very different languages.

Read more about Java HERE.

Is Java the best language for web development?

Although Java is a versatile language and can be used for web development, it has better uses. If you’re committed to mastering web development in particular, there are better languages to choose from, including JavaScript and PHP. But if you’d like to try your hand at a variety of projects, Java can prove a useful language to know.

How long will it take to learn Java?

Despite its enormous popularity, Java is considered to be more challenging to learn compared to other entry-level languages. As Java derives much of its syntax from the likes of C and C++, it’s not uncommon to start with C or C++ before moving on to learning Java.

Java has a stricter syntax and rules than the likes of Javascript and PHP. This has helped Java to retain its status as one of the most popular language choices for the last few decades. However, Java is a slightly more difficult programming language for beginners to learn.

The fastest way to learn Java to a high standard is to attend a face-to-face training course. These are available all over the UK in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. An instructor led course for Java will consist of 30 hours of training in total over 5 days.

How much does it cost to learn Java?

As with most programming languages, it is possible to learn Java for free or low cost through online courses and resources. The drawback to this will always be that it’s harder and more time consuming trying to learn it from scratch on your own. The best way to learn Java is to invest in a course led by an expert instructor, who you can interact with and ensure you’re learning the skill correctly.

Instructor-led Java courses held in locations all over the UK start from £1,690. If you’re booking training for your team you can also have the training delivered in-house at your own office.

Book a training course to learn Java HERE.

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5. JavaScript

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a widely used computer programming language mostly used for front-end development, to make websites and web apps interactive.

JavaScript is already popular but is expected to become even more popular as it can now also be used for back-end development (in the form of Node.JS). JavaScript continues to get more updates at a fairly fast pace, so you can expect it to remain extremely important in the future.

JavaScript is not to be confused with Java - they are 2 very different languages.

Is JavaScript the best language for web development?

If you are serious about becoming skilled at web development, JavaScript is an excellent language to learn. As web apps continue to thrive and websites have become an essential asset to all businesses, learning JavaScript in 2019 is a wise choice. Having JavaScript in your skillset also gives you a good foundation to then learn more complicated programming languages such as C++ and C#, if you desire.

How long will it take to learn JavaScript?

The fastest way to learn JavaScript to a high standard is to attend a face-to-face training course. These are available all over the UK in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. An instructor-led course for JavaScript will consist of 30 hours of training in total over 5 days.

It’s worth noting that if you want a career in web development using JavaScript you should also be skilled in HTML and CSS.

How much does it cost to learn?

As with most programming languages, it is possible to learn JavaScript for free or low cost through online courses and resources. The drawback to this will always be that it’s harder and more time consuming trying to learn it from scratch on your own. The best way to learn JavaScript is to invest in a course led by an expert instructor, who you can interact with and ensure you’re learning the skill correctly.

Instructor-led JavaScript courses held in locations all over the UK start from £2,730. If you’re booking training for your team you can also have the training delivered in-house at your own office.

Book a training course to learn JavaScript HERE.

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Is HTML worth learning too?

The short answer is yes! If you’re learning any programming language for web development purposes then learning HTML is also a wise investment of time and money. HTML is NOT a programming language, but is a markup language (hence the name HyperText Markup Language). It’s used for the front-end development and the visual aspects of websites.

If you’re planning to learn JavaScript, PHP or Ruby then knowing HTML is a definite must. Knowing CSS is also advised, which is why most courses will cover both HTML and CSS together.

So which programming language is the best choice for web development?

You have options to choose from, but if you want to become a web developer, learning JavaScript is definitely a wise choice, followed by PHP. If you want to do any back-end web development, you will also need to know some form of data access language - one of which is SQL (more on this later).

Java is a great language to learn but not the best choice for web development. Similarly, Python is an easy language to learn and is handy for machine learning/AI and a wide variety of uses, but for web development you’re safer choosing JavaScript (and HTML) and building on your programming knowledge from there.


Wondering if you should learn programming languages online or face-to-face?

Read our previous article "Online learning VS instructor-led training - which is the best investment?"