Why You Should Learn Multiple Programming Languages πŸ‘©πŸΎβ€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’»

MacBook Pro showing programming language

If you are new to coding or software engineering, I would suggest sticking to one programming language until you are comfortable with it before trying to learn another one. A good test is to see if you can read through someone else’s codebase and offer suggestions. That gives an indication of not only how comfortable you are to offer suggestions but shows how confident you are. 

//Javascript 
//countries.js
let countries = ["England", "Spain", "Italy"]
countries.forEach(country => console.log(country))

//Kotlin 
//Countries.kt
fun main() {
    val countries = listOf("England", "Spain", "Italy") 
    countries.forEach{
        println(it)
    }
}

//Java
//Countries.java
public class Blog {
    public static void main(String args[]) {
        final List<String> countries = Arrays.asList("England", "Spain", "Italy");
        countries.forEach(System.out::println);
    }
}

//All code will print out 
England 
Spain 
Italy 


Rule of thumb: if you understand and can apply these principles – K-I-S-S (Keep It Stupid Simple), D-R-Y(Do Not Repeat yourself), and Y-A-G-N-I (You ain’t gonna need it) – to the programming language you are currently working on at work or learning, then you are probably ready to try another language.

Learning your first programming language takes time and effort. To understand syntax, conventions, and general rules of that language takes long hours of frustration and commitment. But the fun should not stop after learning one.

I once worked with an iOS developer who had also built the android app that I was working on at the time. I was surprised by how good the code quality was, so I asked him how was he able to write for both platforms and to a good standard. Firstly, he told me that he has been a programmer for over 20 years and that picking up another language was fairly easy for him. Secondly, he said that he just explores a lot of the time and tries something new in his spare time. The latter stood out to me, as I like to try different languages here and there but I find that the code quality drops as I am still getting to grips with a new programming language. Then I took the time to reflect on the fact that I have been fortunate to work on a lot of different programming languages in my career. I remembered how quickly I was able to learn Kotlin and then switch to java without any issues.

The first reason why you should experiment with another programming language is that your aim should not be to become the best Swift developer or Java programmer, but you should want to be a great software engineer. As engineers, we have to solve problems daily, be it complex or simple. We have to know what tool best solves our problem, so having exposure to another programming language really helps in finding better, easier and quicker solutions.

The second reason is that you would be surprised at how quickly you pick up the second or third programming language. It’s been almost two years since I started learning Kotlin for android development. I already knew java well so that helped, but it was my exposure to javascript that really helped me pick Kotlin up really easily. I was able to understand functional programming literals like functions as first-class citizens and lambda expressions because of my exposure to javascript. 

The third is that it is beneficial for you and your career. If you are a C# backend developer, why not try to build a website in Javascript’s react. Try to build something in iOS using swift, challenge yourself. You will see that not only would it be exciting for you as you open yourself to a whole new challenge, but you are expanding your knowledge and also having fun. For your career, the more programming languages you know the more job opportunities you are open to. It really is a win-win situation, plus you can be on the receiving end of a much higher salary. You are now flexible and more desirable in the job market as you know different sets of tools to problem solve. 

black laptop computer displaying blue screen

To wrap up, do try and expose yourself to different programming languages as there are huge benefits. The documentation will always be there to help you in case you forget when you come back to your first programming language.

2 thoughts on “Why You Should Learn Multiple Programming Languages πŸ‘©πŸΎβ€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’»

  1. Good read! Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts on this Kunle. I’m currently learning JavaScript but bounced around previously trying out various languages. I’ve decided to stick with JavaScript until I feel comfortable that I know it very well before exploring another language.

    Like

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment. Yeah, it will take time but once you are comfortable you will be able to pick up another language in no time.
      Keep me posted on your journey.

      Like

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