Today's DateJune 13, 2024

JavaScript Or Python, Which Should I Learn First?

As a beginner in programming, choosing the first programming language to learn is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. After learning the basics of markup languages like HTML and CSS, what next? Let’s take an in-depth little, JavaScript or Python, Which should I learn first?

There are plenty of programming languages to choose from, but the two which are mostly considered, and which we’ll be talking about, are JavaScript and Python. In some ways, the two languages are comparable but their approaches, syntaxes, and applications in programming are significantly different.

JavaScript is a scripting language that was originally developed as a front-end language. It provides browsers with dynamic functionality that wasn’t possible with only HTML and CSS.  It is used for making static websites dynamic, interactive, and user-friendly. It does this by automating website and app processes.

As a scripting language, JavaScript does not require an individual compilation step. What this means is that browsers have built-in engines that already understand and execute JavaScript commands, therefore you can include JavaScript code directly into your HTML document.

Python, on the other hand, is an object-oriented, high-level programming language. It allows programmers to build apps and websites using virtual building blocks (objects). Languages like Python use the object model to reduce complexity by letting programmers create objects, assign attributes to them, or set them to perform actions.


According to the Developer Survey of 2021, JavaScript is still the leading programming language. However, Python has risen significantly in popularity over the years. It is the Second Most Loved Programming Language after Rust and takes number one position in the Most Wanted and the Fastest Growing Programming Language categories.

‘JavaScript is only for front-end (client-side) web development and Python can only function on the back-end (server-side)’. How true is this?

Although JavaScript was initially created as a front-end programming language, with the introduction of Node.js environment in 2009 JavaScript codes can now run outside the browser, i.e on the server.

Python is a general-purpose language and is technically applicable both on the server-side and client-side. However, it is not recommended that you replace languages that are front-side in nature with Python. Therefore, Python is traditionally used for the server-side.

Factors to Consider When Choosing A First Programming Language

When considering what programming language to learn first, there are some important factors that should come to play: Is the language easy to learn? Is it scalable? How versatile is it? How does it perform? Does it have an adequate job-market?

Two things determine whether a language is scalable or not. The first is its ability to handle a large number of users. The second is its capacity to handle large volumes of minimal server utilization. Both Python and JavaScript support asynchronous programming (the latter, thanks to Node.js which does support co-routines, which in turn, supports asynchronous programming).

In terms of versatility, both languages are widely used in web development. Python, though, is used more in upcoming fields like Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Financial Technology.

Both languages also have plenty of job opportunities. Python jobs range from entry-level positions in quality assurance and software engineering to more advanced roles in Machine Learning and Data Science. JavaScript also has junior front-end developer roles as well as senior roles for architects and full-stack developers.

Between JavaScript and Python, Which Is More Beginner-Friendly?

It is advisable, to begin with, a language that is relatively beginner-friendly and has a shorter learning curve. Python wins on this score, especially for those learners who have zero experience in programming. The reasons are:

  1. Python code is easier to write and understand.
  2. It has fewer lines and structural rules than in other languages.
  3. It has many frameworks containing pre-written code which helps speed up the development of projects.

Dr. Charles ‘Chuck’ Severance, foremost programming, coding, and technology tutor on the online learning platform Coursera gave an insightful interview on the subject. When asked whether he would recommend Python or JavaScript as the first language someone new to coding should learn, his reply was:

‘I would say Python is the first to learn, from a class perspective. It’s pretty hard not to run into JavaScript because it’s right there in every browser, but I think it’s not a good first language to learn. I teach JavaScript as a third language, after Python and PHP. JavaScript is an amazing language, but it’s also very sophisticated. It’s not a simple language, loaded with so many rough edges and sharp points and lots of places to get confused’.

He goes on to say:

‘Python has fewer distractions. You can more easily learn about variables, statements and data structures. To learn how to program, you should study programming formally. If you really want to be a programmer, you must learn the concepts of object-orientation first – in Python. Then you can learn more about the concepts when you learn a second programming language’.

When asked whether Python and JavaScript are worth learning this year? His response was:

‘Python is one of those languages that I guarantee will be used more than 10 years from now. JavaScript isn’t going away anytime soon either. It’s embedded in our browsers and a lot of advanced people are using it. What we see is that languages like Python and JavaScript are being moved from one application area to another. So basically we have the same language, but with different libraries, so what used to require a new programming language doesn’t anymore. We just add a new library’.

This does not imply that learning Python is a walk-in-the-park. After mastering the basics, you’ll still need to look through available frameworks, understand their purposes, and how they can help you create applications.

However, given that both Python and JavaScript are new-age programming languages, you must not have a formal education in computer science or years of coding experience to learn either. Although there are lots of good online courses to start with, as a complete beginner, it is best to go with an offline course that combines the advantage of an online curriculum and the physical tutorship of an experienced instructor.

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