Does Order Matter? The Best Way to Learn Programming Languages

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If you want to become a software engineer, you might have some questions about the best way to go about it. You might be wondering, “Should I learn CSS before JavaScript?” or “Do I need to learn HTML before Python?” Does it matter? Or is it really up to you?

Software engineers use many different programming languages, and they’re all related in different ways. Let’s take a look at how that might affect the best way to learn them.

Programming Languages All Work Together

Programming languages all have a particular relationship to each other. You can think of them a bit like people — they have their own unique personalities and quirks. No matter which programming languages you choose, however, front-end and back-end languages work together to form a final product.

Learning programming languages in a specific order may be easier based on how your brain works and your learning style. It might be easier for your brain to grasp the concepts of one language if you’ve already learned another. It can also be helpful to know how different programming languages are related to each other and how you can use them.

Learners often ask, “Should I learn HTML or CSS first?” or “Do I need to learn HTML before Python?” But an integrated approach to learning HTML and CSS is often the most successful because of the way they work together. It can also make other languages, like Python, more approachable.

How to Learn JavaScript, HTML, & CSS

Web and application development revolve mainly around the use of HTML and CSS. Therefore, learning HTML and CSS first can be beneficial because they create the structure and style of your content whereas JavaScript adds interactivity.

If you’ve found yourself wondering, “Should I learn HTML or CSS first?” you’re not alone. But, it’s best to learn these two programming languages together. CSS is used to enhance HTML with styling elements. HTML is like the cake, and CSS is like the icing. Learning them together can make both languages easier to understand, and you’ll be able to apply what you learned about one language to better understand the other.

If you’re asking, “Should I learn CSS before JavaScript?” it could be helpful to think of it like this: HTML and CSS are responsible for all elements of a website. Developers can use JavaScript to then make those elements dynamic and interactive. But JavaScript can’t be used to build a website from scratch.

JavaScript relies on HTML and CSS as its foundation. HTML elements are used to form the DOM (Document Object Model) API, which JavaScript is built on. JavaScript element manipulation relies heavily on the DOM, a tree-like structure representing various page elements. HTML tags are essential to the DOM while CSS is used to apply formatting to the content within the DOM.

If you want to study JavaScript, you should first become proficient in HTML and CSS. It’s possible you’ll have considerably more difficulty learning JavaScript without first mastering HTML and CSS.

How to Learn Python, HTML, & CSS

The ability to create functional websites depends on your familiarity with HTML. Additionally, learning Python will make you a more well-rounded programmer, able to apply your skills to a wide range of domains including data analysis, command-line projects, and the creation of web applications.  

If you want to be a full-stack web developer, you’ll need to be fluent in both HTML and Python. And if you want to work with Python web frameworks like Django and Flask, knowing the fundamentals of front-end languages like HTML and CSS will be helpful.

At this point, you might be wondering, “Do I need to learn HTML and CSS before Python?” While Python can be learned independently of HTML and CSS, there are some compelling reasons to learn HTML and CSS first.

If you’re interested in web development, for instance, learning HTML and CSS is a great starting point. Front-end web development relies heavily on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. When it comes to building websites, knowing HTML and CSS is essential.

Compared to learning a programming language like Python, learning HTML and CSS is often seen as more approachable but still challenging enough to keep you interested. After mastering these two languages, picking up a language like Python will feel more natural — you’ll already have a foundational understanding of how programming languages work.

But, you can jump straight into Python if you want to. And, depending on your interests and goals, you might not even need to learn Python at all.

Python has many uses, and it’s a good place to start if you’re interested in learning how to code but you’re unsure of what you want to do with your new skills. Though Python is a simple language, it’ll be more difficult to master if you haven’t mastered other languages, though not impossible.

How to Choose Which Language to Learn First

When deciding which coding language to learn first, there is no “best” option. Any of these languages can be learned by someone with the drive and the right mindset. But here are a few tips to help you choose which coding languages will be useful for you:

Think About Your Objectives

Pick the area of programming that most interests you. A good place to start is figuring out whether you want to focus on back-end development or front-end development and which languages help you build those skills. Think about the types of projects you want to work on and what you’ll need to know to finish those projects successfully.

Build From the Ground Up

Don’t overcomplicate the process for yourself. Learning programming is a process that requires you to understand the foundations of languages and then build on what you already know. If you start with a complicated language or project, you risk burning yourself out. Make sure you’re putting in the groundwork and learning the basics.

Pick a High-Demand Language

For most people, the point of learning a coding language is to have an in-demand skill that helps land you a job. Make sure you choose a language that’s in high demand to give yourself the best outcome possible during your job search.

How App Academy Teaches Programming Languages

App Academy prepares you for a career as a full-stack developer by covering both the front-end and back-end of software development. We integrate HTML and CSS with other web development modules, like Ruby on Rails and JavaScript, to give you a well-rounded education on programming languages in a way that makes sense. Our mastery-based teaching methods capitalize on students building on what they’ve learned earlier in the program.

Our online coding bootcamps are also a great option for those interested in learning Python.

Here’s a breakdown of the languages we focus on in each of our programs:

Get Started with App Academy

Our program curriculums are designed to set you up for success, no matter which path you choose. From our Campus Program to one of our online options, we’ll teach you the skills you need to build a new career as a software engineer.

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Written by Dev App Academy

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