Advice - Python or Javascript?

Hey all - hope everyone is doing ok and have a nice weekend coming up. Reaching out from New York, USA here!

Through the summer, I purchased a few texts and books on coding languages - I have particularly been involved in using HTML and CSS for most of my life (unknowingly until I became older and realized I was coding websites in my “game-time” on the computer). Transferred this into my careers and light work-place projects for web activities and site management/changes.

I am looking to focus on an accelerated schedule for the responsive design program/projects and am doing research into next core focus. I know the traditional is Javascript - I personally feel I’m not confident enough yet to tackle this and/or on back-end development in full capacity for Java. I think at basic or intro level to Java coding I can manage, but from the texts I’ve read and videos/or overviews so far - I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to take on this beast yet!

I’ve had many recommend Python as a starting point - including a past developer I’ve worked with closely who has advised on so many useful resources that have helped me build a better foundation for working/writing code on ZenDesk and in small projects. I’m using Tableau in my workplace and trying to use Python for more complex projects and data extraction/data automation – I have a book with a few chapters on Python/a small text that’s a Python programming guide.

I’ve downloaded the software - I have played around with it a bit. Is it worth skipping over Javascript to go to Python (then visit Java later time - I’m unsure).

Just looking for insight here/am curious for the route others have taken. I work very hands on with learning programs (which is why I’ve found Java in past a bit difficult) but feel Python is something lightweight I can be flexible with. My largest challenge is anything really that becomes advanced mathematics - it completely overwhelms in Java.

Update - after exploring some of the recommended pathway to Java following HTML/CSS, it makes most sense to approach this first.


One thing to note: despite their similar name, Java and JavaScript are completely different languages. :wink:


Hello, I can offer some insight here as a developer with experience with those three languages.
I think you have the right idea - I would recommend starting with Python as a gentle intro to programming in general. It is commonly used in back end development so you can try out some mature web frameworks when you’re ready. When that time comes around, it would make sense to study JavaScript as well since it is more common to see it used one front end development. These two will open up more paths in terms of what’s known today as “full stack web development” rather than just focusing on one language.

Java is a separate beast… try to be familiar with OO concepts before tackling this language as it can be fairly complex to use effectively. Traditionally it is known to be used for “heavyweight” applications but not so much in web development. I feel that learning this language is on a separate track altogether.


Jay brought up some great points that I agree with. I recommend starting with a language that gives you quick feedback. As in type a line or two, save, run and see results. And for that a dynamic scripting language like JavaScript or Python is perfect! Languages like Java, Go or C# has to be compiled before you can run them so does take a bit more setup before you can start. Not s huge thing though but there are other reasons Python/JavaScript might be easier as well, like being more forgiving to the programmer (there’s a certain amount of guessing that the lang does for you in terms of what you want to achieve). I don’t want to get too technical, but yeah go for JS/Python.
The most important advice is perhaps that you start somewhere and keep at it. First steps can be daunting but as you get past that it tends to become a lot easier.


I’ll say start with python then learn Javascript.

For a web dev both are some what needed. But before starting you should plan out your career first.

What do you want to become? if for some reason can’t achieve your goal what then? What do you like the most? What do you feel most comfortable with?

These questions must be answered before you any one over the other. Python is commonly used in backend and data science specially at ai.

If you want to learn ai leter on, you should definitely focus on python. And more over python is being developed very quickly spreading over to other industries like app development and game development. It’s slowly becoming an essential skill to have for a programer to have because of it’s ease of use and wide spread of uses. In the future it could take over the coding industry. Though it’s mainly being specialised for data science. Like how java is being specialised for app development and C and C++ for os development.

So if you want to learn data science later on, or some form of app/game development go for python.

But as I mentioned every language is being specialised for one purpose mainly. As for JS (JavaScript) it’s being specialised for full stack web development, with tools like node, express etc. If things go as they are going it may even take over all the work related to web. It’s popularity on front and back end is ever increasing and unlike python it’s already too specialised with the web.

And because for full stacked developers it’s easier to learn one language for both back and front end it’s popularity at full stack web development will keep on increasing.

So if you only wish to learn web developement, full stack / back end / front end you should start with JS. It will save you some time on having to learn two languages for front and back ends.

I won’t suggest learning one or the other. You should always have a fallback to go to if something goes wrong on your current path. Consider your own skills and see which path YOU can really take. Try the one you like the most. Try on until you get it or you know for certain it will be impossible to get. When there is no way of getting your original plan to a success at your current path, switch path, get at a better situation and try again.

I’m learning coding as a side subject. I want to PhD in physics but my family is too poor to provide enough tuition for such a carrier as of now. So in the side line I’m talking coding which I have started liking much and the best part is coding and physics (theoretical) complement each other. I’m hoping to get a job and try to get my tuition fess myself.

I researched and found that web development and ai are the most in demand skills in my country as of now. So I’m learning them now.

TLDR seek your needs and your likings, you won’t get both in one package. Consider your situation and make your decision.

Hope this helped clarify what you need to consider while you choose your language to learn. Sorry for any mistakes that I might have made.


Thank you so much for the extremely detailed and thorough response. Seriously appreciate your help.

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Thank you so much! You know, I can honestly say I was unsure initially of the main differences.

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Thank you very much!

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