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At a time when the world is becoming only more dependent on ever-evolving technology and given that computer science continues to be among the most lucrative professions in the world, it is perhaps not an understatement that learning coding is no less than a life skill today. Kids, grownups — we could all do with learning coding and what’s more, it doesn’t have to be that difficult either. The best way to start then is to begin with the simplest and work your way up. And while adults sure can learn coding, starting at an early age is highly recommended.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

At a time when the world is becoming only more dependent on ever-evolving technology and given that computer science continues to be among the most lucrative professions in the world, it is perhaps not an understatement that learning coding is no less than a life skill today. Kids, grownups — we could all do with learning coding and what’s more, it doesn’t have to be that difficult either. The best way to start then is to begin with the simplest and work your way up. And while adults sure can learn coding, starting at an early age is highly recommended.

In an increasingly competitive world, programming basics can help one have an edge over others. The question then is: which programming language must one start with? Rather which coding language is an ideal start for kids? There are several programming languages out there, so in this blog we bring you the top programming languages for kids:

1. Scratch

Scratch is a visual programming language and online community targeted mainly at children, by coding with ‘blocks’ in the editor. Users of Scratch can create online projects using a block-like interface. Developed by the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is thus an event-driven, block-based programming language that has been translated into 70+ languages, and is used in most parts of the world. It is used as an introductory language because creating interesting programs using Scratch is fairly easy, and skills learned in Scratch can be applied to other basic programming languages such as Python and Java. This is probably why it is popular in after-school centers, schools and colleges. Moreover, it has a very interactive online community where people share their artwork and games with each other; community statistics on Scratch’s official website state that more than 35 million projects have been shared as of October 2018. It’s an ideal choice given that kids can create animations, interactive stories, art or music using Scratch.

2. Python

Python is a programming language that is very similar to normal speech. One doesn’t have to add many comments to the code because Python code — if well written — can just do the job without extra comments. If you want your kids to learn coding, Python is a great starting point as it will offer your kid a basic understanding of how programming generally works. With Python, students can develop programming ideas and then convert these ideas into instructions that the machine can interpret. It’s an easy coding language to learn mainly because several common functionalities that programmers need are already built into this programming language.

In fact, Python provides constructs that enable clear programming on both small and large scales. Also, it features a dynamic type system and automatic memory management. It supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, imperative, functional and procedural, and has a large and comprehensive standard library; plus Python interpreters are available for many operating systems. CPython, the reference implementation of Python, is an open source software and has a community-based development model, just as most of Python’s other implementations. Using Python, a lot can be achieved by simply researching and using the core Python libraries.

3. JavaScript

If your kid is interested in web development and design and wishes to learn the basics of programming, then JavaScript is just the programming language for your kid. An object-oriented and procedural programming language (which means its actions are carried out on the user’s computer) that’s used for front-end or client-facing applications, JavaScript is indeed a popular programming language. It is, in fact, native on all web browsers and commonly used to create complex interactive web applications. Along with HTML and CSS, JavaScript is one of the three core technologies of the World Wide Web. What’s more, these days JavaScript engines are also being used to run software such as including web servers, databases, desktop widgets and non-web programs such as word processors and PDF software. Learning this language typically gives quick tangible results, in other words, the student actually sees something on the web page and how it is being put together.

4. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) / Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Learning HTML / CSS is certainly a good way to get introduced to programming as it lends the student a sense of accomplishment on having learnt languages that form an important part of most programming concepts (along with JavaScript). Both are easy to learn and use and are also very useful for kids who wish to pursue web designing. Bear in mind that almost every browser supports the HTML language; it is by default in every computer with Windows OS, so you don’t need to purchase any extra software to work with this programming language. HTML elements are denoted by tags, written using angle brackets. At the same time, it must be pointed out that HTML/ CSS do not really teach the student concepts such as looping or branching and they are thus not ideal for making dynamic pages. With HTML/ CSS, it’s more about learning to make tags for different things on a web page and learning how to perform tasks such as making a Word document colorful. Indeed, HTML can use a wide range of colors, objects and layouts. One of the biggest advantages of learning HTML is that it can embed programs written in JavaScript, which affects the behavior and content of web pages. Knowing CSS is helpful as it helps define the look and layout of content on these pages.

5. C#

C# is your best bet if your kid wishes to learn how to make 3D games. Pronounced “see sharp”, C# was developed around the year 2000 by Microsoft. It is a hugely popular programming language that’s used to develop most third-party applications for Windows. It’s certainly an in-demand programming language when it comes to software programming jobs, and is a great starting point for people who have never learnt coding. With a syntax similar to that of Java, C# is easier to learn if you have worked with the former language. C# can be used to make web applications, games, and other programs. It’s ideal for students who are interested in making applications for Windows. Some of its advantages include a strong memory backup, automatic garbage collection and rich class libraries.

6. C++

Best for a deeper understanding Pronounced “see plus plus,” this programming language is used to create applications that run locally on machines such as your computer. Despite the time and complexity required to learn C++, this language will provide teens with a very deep understanding of programming. C++ can be used to create systems software, games, and a variety of other programs. Great for: Teens who want a complex understanding of programming principles Students who want to program in the gaming industry Your student’s résumé — jobs expect programmers to have a level of familiarity with C++.

7. Ruby

For beginner programmers, Ruby has the most readable syntax. Which means that a large part of the code will be self-explanatory and less time is needed to explain the code to students. This makes Ruby an ideal choice for children who are still new to programming concepts. Also a dynamic, interpreted, reflective, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language, Ruby too has a dynamic type system and automatic memory management. It was originally used to create Twitter and its syntax is broadly speaking similar to that of Python.

8. Java

Easily one of the most widely used programming languages in the world — it is said that around 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use it — learning Java gives one a comfortable advantage over those who don’t. Java can be used to make Android mobile apps, large backend environments and game engines, among other things. Given that it is a statically typed language, Java needs one to specify a variable type. But it is also designed to have minimal implementation dependencies. Allowing application developers to “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), the compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation. So on one hand, applications created using this programming language offer greater scalability and stability, but at the same time, it can take longer to learn Java when compared to other languages. Students wanting a deeper understanding of coding can turn to Java. So can intermediate coders wishing to consolidate their skill set, kids wanting to learn Java principles in a game format (think Minecraft) and even teens who are preparing to take the Computer Science AP Exam.

9. Go

Go, also known as Golang, is a programming language designed by Google engineers Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson. It has been used by leading companies such as Google, YouTube, Apple Dropbox, BBC, IBM and Twitter among many others. Statically typed, compiled and syntactically similar to the programming language C, Go has a simple structure and syntax and is devoid of classes and type inheritance. Since it is based on functions, it is simple and easy to learn. It’s a compiled language, so developers need to be more accurate and attentive and the resulting code is usually neater and safer. Being simple, it is easily maintainable, and its development is faster and cheaper. Go additionally offers memory safety, garbage collection, structural typing, and CSP-style concurrency (it allows multiple processes to run effectively at the same time). The compiler, tools, and source code are all free and open source. Moreover, it can be used for different platforms, be it Windows, Linux or Unix devices. All of these are reasons why learning Go is an exciting idea.

10. Dart

Developed by Google, Dart is an object-oriented, class defined programming language. Like Go, it is a garbage-collected language using a C-style syntax that transcompiles optionally into JavaScript. Supporting interfaces, mixins, abstract classes, reified generics, static typing, and a sound type system, Dart is used to build web, server, desktop, and mobile applications. In fact, Flutter, the open-source mobile application development framework created by Google to develop Android and iOS apps, is written in Dart. This language is AOT (Ahead Of Time) compiled to fast, predictable, native code and because it has features that are familiar to users of both static and dynamic languages, it is quite easy to learn. Also, with Dart, it is easier to make smooth animations and transitions that run at 60fps (frames per second).

(This blog was originally posted in the Blogs section of the YoungWonks website on January 2, 2019. To read more such blogs and to claim a free trial coding class for your child, please visit:

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