first programmers

My Answer on Quora

Kirby Urner
2 min readMar 9, 2023


Why should a beginner first master Java and PHP before rushing to Python?

I have no idea why this specific sequence. Python was never designed as a “teaching language” but is sufficiently compact and understandable to serve as such. I’d go from Python to Java (C#, C++…) and not the other way.

However, let’s dispel this nonsense that we have to learn languages in sequence, rather than in parallel. My advice to beginners is usually: put one language front burner (such as Python), and then study one or two more on back burner (such as Java and BQN, or maybe Hoon).

This “polyglot approach” has a lot going for it, in that we learn more when we have lots of comparisons and contrasts in the feed. If you immerse yourself in Python exclusively, it’s hard to tell how much of the terminology is specific to (local to) this language, versus global to computer science.

This same approach has been championed by the Lex Institute (author of Who is Fourier?) with regard to human languages. Their technique is to encourage multi-lingual babbling (my term for it).

When I say “back burner” I mean just feed your curiosity. Your goal is to develop your thirst for this kind of knowledge. Develop a taste for programming languages, like for fine wines. Of course you don’t want to stick to just one, what a silly idea, right?

Answer requested by CodingDrips