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The Easiest and Hardest Programming Languages to Learnby@techreviewersula
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The Easiest and Hardest Programming Languages to Learn

by TechreviewerMay 1st, 2023
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Programming language learning can be an intimidating process, therefore, it is recommended to start with the easiest.

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Computer systems are completely dependent on human beings to train them to take decisions. Everything a computer does, is somewhere, sometime, instructed by a human being. As computers do not understand the languages human beings speak, in order to instruct the computer systems about the tasks to perform, computer-friendly languages are used which are called programming languages.


Computers only understand the language of 0 and 1, but programming in binary numbers is a tedious task and prone to frequent mistakes hence with time high-level languages have been developed which consist of English language words to help human beings program the computer systems easily and perform the required tasks. Different languages are used behind different technologies one sees today like Software, Websites, Applications, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications, Machine Learning (ML) processes, Natural Language Processing (NLP) conversational systems, and more.


Here is an elaborative discussion of the hardest and easiest programming languages.

Things to know before starting to learn any programming language

Any programming language, no matter how easy or hard, requires time and effort to learn.


Therefore, it is important to research thoroughly and choose a programming language that is aligned with the career path one is determined to establish. As such, it is important to take note of the factors below that make a programming language easier or harder to learn.

Factors making a programming language easier to learn.

  1. Availability of free resources: Various courses and tutorials make it easier for learners to grasp the language quickly.
  2. Consistent rules and simplicity: Programming languages that adhere to uniform rules will simplify learning new commands and functions, enabling beginners to grasp the concepts more quickly.
  3. Integration with other languages: Making it more versatile and user-friendly for beginners.
  4. Syntax resembling simple English: Programming languages with straightforward syntax that incorporates English words and closely resembles the English language structure are more relatable and accessible for beginners to comprehend and learn.
  5. Large developer community: A supportive community helps learners to grow and troubleshoot any issues they may face.

Factors making a programming language harder to learn.

  1. Complex and unusual syntax: Some languages have complicated rules for structuring code or unconventional ways of organizing it, making it difficult for beginners to understand and write.
  2. Multiple programming paradigms: A language that supports various programming styles can take more work, as it requires understanding different approaches to solving problems, such as functional programming, which emphasizes immutability and mathematical functions.
  3. Error handling and predicting output: In some languages, it is challenging to identify and fix errors or bugs, and developers may need to anticipate the results of their code before running it, making it more difficult for newcomers.
  4. Technical jargon and abstract concepts: Some languages use specialized terms and concepts or involve abstract ideas, making them harder to grasp for people without a background in computer science.
  5. Domain-specific focus and limited code reuse: Some languages are designed for specific purposes, such as artificial intelligence, making them less accessible to general users. Additionally, it can be challenging to reuse code snippets in specific languages, making it harder to learn from examples and build upon existing code.
  6. Expert guidance needed: Some languages require the guidance of an experienced tutor or mentor to understand and learn effectively.

Easiest Programming Languages to Learn

HTML

HTML is short for Hypertext Markup Language. There has been a lot of discussion on HTML language being a complete programming language mainly because of the fact that technically it is not a functionality-based language but a Markup Language. This means that HTML cannot create functions and perform typical programming tasks as it does not support the usage of iterative, conditional statements, or even simple mathematical operations like all the other programming languages.


However, HTML has no programming logic and cannot evaluate expressions, perform math, handle events or tasks, modify or manipulate data, declare variables, or write functions. That being said, HTML will be discussed as it is a fundamental language used to structure web pages and content.


HTML features the following:

  • Tags that define the type and structure of an element and usually come in pairs.
  • Attributes provide extra details or functionality to an HTML tag.
  • Elements that can be nested within other elements to create complex structures.
  • Comments for adding notes within the code.


The syntax of HTML includes angle brackets for tags, attribute name-value pairs within opening tags, and hierarchical relationships through nesting.


Despite being necessary for the web development industry, HTML is an extremely easy programming language to learn. It is recommended for fresh learners to get their hands on HTML first while stepping into the programming world and growing their skills onwards.

Who uses HTML?

HTML is essential for everyone who works on website development and design as it creates all the web pages found on the internet. Front-end website development and Full-stack development are the major departments to use HTML as a base language. To maintain and fine-tune the web pages, HTML gives the most control over customization.

What makes HTML an easy-to-learn language?

HTML is one of the easiest programming languages. Its simple and symmetric code syntax makes it easy to learn. There are numerous free courses easily available on the internet that teach HTML in just a few hours. HTML tags adhere to consistent rules, making it simple to learn new commands and functions. HTML is a structuring language, it does not add any functionality but enables the developers to create a comprehensive blueprint of the website.

Where to learn HTML online?

Course Title: HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers


HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers

Course Author: Yaakov Chaikin

Platform: Coursera

Brief Description: This hands-on course, offered by Johns Hopkins University, teaches essential web development skills, focusing on creating responsive web pages using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Students will learn to build adaptive layouts for various screen sizes and explore the powerful functionality of JavaScript, including Ajax integration for seamless server-side communication. Master the art of crafting mobile-friendly websites without compromising the desktop experience.


Price: Free

Course Title: Step-by-step HTML and CSS for Absolute Beginners

Step-by-step HTML and CSS for Absolute Beginners

Course Author: Kathleen Farley

Platform: Udemy

Brief Description: In this beginner-friendly course, participants will master HTML5 and CSS3 to craft their own website, even without prior coding experience. Throughout the course, learners will develop a "Coming Soon" webpage using valid HTML5 and CSS3 code, gaining an intuitive understanding of the language's structure and function. By the end, students will confidently employ HTML and CSS while adhering to industry best practices.


Price: $119.99


If one prefers to read from books, there are many options on Amazon such as "HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites" or "Web Design with HTML5 and CSS: Learn how to design, create and build responsive websites using the best HTML5 and CSS practices".


Finally, W3Schools offers free tutorials on HTML online.

JavaScript

JavaScript, as the name suggests, is used for scripting. It is not used alone but with the combination of HTML and CSS to add functionality to the webpages and make UI and UX more appealing. This is done by making the pages interactive. Clients can see a certain change on each element while they hover, click, scroll, or type something.


The interactive features may be a change in color, font, shadow effect, or carrying out some logical functionality with pre-defined inputs. The fact that JavaScript is commonly used to transform HTML elements or provide UI functionality does not imply that these are its only capabilities.


JavaScript can perform more powerful operations including data analysis, search algorithm implementation, or solving complex mathematical equations. JavaScript is not only a client-side scripting language. The project environments like Node.js unlock server-side development capabilities for developers with JavaScript. JavaScript can be used outside of a web browser and on the back end. This enables web applications to run from the screen to the server using a single programming language.


JavaScript's features include:

  • Code execution is triggered by events like user interactions, making it ideal for creating responsive applications.
  • Native support for JSON, a lightweight data interchange format that is easily parsed and stringified.

Javascript syntax involves the following:

  • Declaring variables using var, let, or const keywords.
  • Declaring functions with the function keyword, arrow functions, or object methods.
  • Common control structures for conditional execution and looping
  • Using arrays and objects for managing the collections of values.

Who uses JavaScript?

Javascript allows for dynamic content creation, event handling, and asynchronous programming. JavaScript can also manipulate the Document Object Model (DOM) to modify HTML elements and attributes and can respond to user interactions through event listeners and callback functions. In addition, JavaScript can interact with web APIs provided by the browser and can be used for server-side development using Node.js.

To enable interactive features on web pages, web developers and full-stack developers should learn JavaScript to implement input-based logical operations.

What makes JavaScript an easy-to-learn language?

JavaScript is yet another language that is extremely simple for fresh programming learners yet very useful. It is a high-level, interpreted language that can be readily integrated with other programming languages such as HTML. It is easy to write complex codes in JavaScript and simultaneously run those codes while proceeding as part of the process. It is designed for non-programmers and is user-friendly for people who want to learn. It's an excellent beginner's programming language.

Where to learn Javascript online?

Course Title: "JavaScript for Beginners"

JavaScript for Beginners

Course Author: William Mead

Platform: Coursera

Brief Description: The University of California's "JavaScript for Beginners" course, offered on Coursera, is tailored for those new to programming or seeking a career change. Instructor William Mead guides learners through a series of modules and courses, providing a comprehensive introduction to JavaScript—a vital stepping stone in the realm of software development. Students gain hands-on experience through low-stakes challenges and projects in the applied learning project, while quizzes and honor options serve as primary assessment tools to track progress and mastery.


Price: Free

Course Title: "Javascript for Beginners Course"

Javascript for Beginners Course

Author: Dollar Design School

Platform: Udemy

Brief Description: In this Javascript training course, beginners can learn essential coding aspects in Javascript to enhance their skill set, start programming, or manage websites more effectively. The course is tailored for web designers, programmers, students, bloggers and anyone else interested in learning Javascript. Participants will be empowered to create dynamic and innovative web content and boost their careers and skillsets.


Price: $19.99

Javascript books to learn from include "JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Master the World's Most-Used Programming Language" by David Flanagan and "JavaScript from Beginner to Professional: Learn JavaScript quickly by building fun, interactive, and dynamic web apps, games and pages" by Laurence Lars Svekis.


Besides courses and books,  online resources for learning Javascript include W3SchoolsCodecademy, and javascript.info.

Python

Python is considered one of the popular object-oriented programming languages and has a clear, easy-to-read syntax based on English words, which promotes code readability. This readability is achieved through the use of indentation (whitespace) to define code blocks and a limited number of keywords.

Python also supports more than one programming paradigm, including Object Oriented Programming (OOP), which focuses on objects/datasets and Functional Programming, which focuses on using functions.

Python further features the following:

  • Simplification of code design and maintenance while supporting core OOP concepts. Such as inheritance, polymorphism, and encapsulation.
  • A standard library and cross-platform compatibility.
  • Concise list creation with first-class functions and list comprehensions.
  • Has robust exception handling.

Who uses Python?

Python is a versatile programming language that is widely employed in a variety of applications. Python in web development is often utilized with frameworks such as Django, Flask, and Pyramid.

For data analysis and visualization, Python makes use of libraries like Pandas, NumPy, and Matplotlib. The language also plays a significant role in machine learning and artificial intelligence, leveraging libraries such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and scikit-learn.

In addition, Python is effective in facilitating task automation and simple script writing for automation and scripting purposes. It is also used in game development, employing libraries like Pygame and Panda3D.


Most AI specialists, Web developers, and data scientists use Python due to its less complex syntax and flexible functionality. Data scientists are more concerned with their research and hence require a programming language that demands less of their time and effort but still works fine for their systems.

What makes Python an easy-to-learn language?

The usage of English language words makes it extremely easy to learn given the fact that it has numerous libraries for versatile applications and supports multi-paradigm. In Python, the simplest code is considered the most efficient one.

Where to learn Python online?

Course Title: 100 Days of Code - The Complete Python Pro Bootcamp

Course Author: Dr. Angela Yu

Platform: Udemy

Brief Description: The Complete Python Pro Bootcamp is a comprehensive course that transforms beginners into skilled Python professionals. Boasting a 4.8 average rating and over 500,000 5-star reviews, this course ranks among Udemy's best. Students will complete daily projects through more than 60 hours of content, covering Python 3, web development, data science, and more. By the end of the course, students will have created 100 real-world projects, building a remarkable portfolio to showcase their expertise and launching them into a successful career in the industry.


Price:$119.99

Course Title: Advanced Python Specialization

Advanced Python Specialization

Course author: Charles Russell Severance

Platform: Coursera

Brief Description: In this Python course, concepts such as data structures, networked APIs, and databases using the Python language will be explored. Building upon the foundation set by the Python for Everybody course, participants will gain hands-on experience in creating innovative applications for data retrieval, processing, and visualization in a culminating Capstone Project.


Price: Free


Key books for mastering Python include "Python Crash Course, 3rd Edition: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming 3rd Edition" by Eric Matthes and “Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with pandas, NumPy, and Jupyter 3rd Edition" by Wes McKinney.


In addition to courses and books, other online resources for acquiring Python knowledge are W3Schools, the Free Code Camp course on Youtube and learnpython.org.

Java

Java has established itself as one of the most popular, powerful, diverse, and easy-to-learn programming languages. Java is robust and secure and features multithreading for improved performance in concurrent tasks. Furthermore, it has a rich standard library that provides extensive functionality for various tasks.


Additionally, Java's syntax is characterized by classes and objects, which define the structure and behavior of instances. The language is statically typed, with eight primitive data types and support for reference types.


Despite the fact that Java is an old language, it remains relevant and popular due to its regular updates. Java programs are robust, and one program created on one platform is guaranteed to run smoothly on some other platform with almost similar efficiency. Java is adaptable enough to be utilized on any electronic device, not just computers and mobile phones.

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Who uses Java?

Java is a versatile programming language used by developers in the following areas:

  • Web Applications: Java enables the creation of web applications using technologies like Servlets, JSP, and frameworks such as Spring and JSF.
  • Enterprise Applications: For large-scale, complex applications, Java is a popular choice, utilizing frameworks like Spring and Java EE.
  • Mobile Applications: Java is the primary language for Android app development, using the Android SDK and libraries.
  • Desktop Applications: Java is used for creating cross-platform desktop applications with technologies like Swing and JavaFX.
  • Scientific Applications: Java's portability and performance make it suitable for scientific applications, simulations, and data processing tasks.
  • Big Data and Cloud Computing: Java is widely used in big data processing and cloud computing, leveraging technologies like Hadoop, Spark, and various cloud platforms.

What makes Java an easy-to-learn language?

The easiest languages to learn are those that have a larger community of developers to support each other and grow, and Java is one of those languages. It has an easy syntax that is close to the English language.

Where to learn Java online?

Several well-known online courses are available for learning Java, such as the “Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization by Duke University” course on Coursera and the “Java In-Depth: Become a Complete Java Engineer!” course by Dheeru Mundluru on Udemy.


Additionally, two recommended books for mastering Java are "Effective Java 3rd Edition" by Joshua Bloch and “Java: Learn Java in One Day and Learn It Well. Java for Beginners with Hands-on Project" by Jamie Chan.


Besides courses and books, there are various other online resources for acquiring Java knowledge, such as W3Schools and Codeacademy.

Ruby

Ruby is a programming language that is centered on convenience of use and productivity. In fact, Ruby is simple to use, and its syntax is similar to Python's as it supports mixins through modules and metaprogramming, promoting code reusability and extensibility.


Ruby features built-in exception handling ensures application stability, while its syntax includes snake_case variables and methods with optional questions or exclamation marks. Blocks, enclosed by do-end or curly braces, allow for efficient iteration and versatile code structures.

Who uses Ruby?

Ruby is commonly used for web development (particularly with Ruby on Rails), scripting, test automation, APIs, and rapid prototyping. Its simplicity, readability, and expressive syntax make it suitable for tasks like automation, data processing, system administration, and working with testing frameworks like RSpec and Cucumber.


As such, Ruby attracts the attention of people like web developers and AI professionals. In addition to that, Ruby is used in data processing operations, automation tools, and web scraping.

What makes Ruby an easy-to-learn language?

One of the language's key attractions is its straightforward syntax, which many Ruby programmers feel to be the closest to simple English coding. Ruby programming language adheres to the "less is more" philosophy. Despite its simple syntax, Ruby is powerful enough to be employed in a wide range of paradigms and operations. Ruby has a large and supportive developer community all over the world.

Where to learn Ruby online?

What are some options for learning Ruby online? Online course options include the “Comprehensive Ruby Programming” course by Jordan Hudgens on Udemy and “Ruby Scripting for DevOps” offered by Coursera’s Project Network. There are several popular online courses available for learning Ruby.


Additionally, two recommended books for mastering Ruby are “Eloquent Ruby” by Russ Olsen and “Ruby Programming for Beginners: An Introduction to Learning Ruby Programming with Tutorials and Hands-On Examples” by Nathan Metzler.


Furthermore, aside from courses and books, other online resources are available for learning Ruby, such as Tutorialspoint and try.ruby-lang.org.

PHP

PHP, which stands for "Hypertext Preprocessor," is an open-source server-side scripting language that's widely used for web development. Initially created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, PHP has since evolved into a powerful language that enables developers to create dynamic web pages and applications. It's particularly well-suited for handling server-side tasks, such as form processing, file handling, and database interaction.

Who uses PHP?

PHP is used by a wide range of developers and organizations, from freelancers to large enterprises. Some notable examples of popular websites built with PHP include Facebook, WordPress, and Wikipedia. PHP is the core language behind content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, which power millions of websites around the world. The language's flexibility, ease of use, and compatibility with various platforms make it a popular choice for web development.

What makes PHP an easy-to-learn language?

PHP is an easy-to-learn language for several reasons. Its syntax is straightforward and shares similarities with other programming languages like C, Java, and Perl, making it accessible for beginners and those with prior programming experience.


PHP integrates seamlessly with HTML, allowing developers to embed PHP code directly within HTML documents and easily add dynamic content to web pages. The language also benefits from extensive documentation, thanks to a large and active community that contributes to comprehensive resources, making it easy for newcomers to find answers and learn new concepts.


Additionally, PHP offers cross-platform compatibility, working on a variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and UNIX, making it accessible to developers using different operating systems. Lastly, PHP has a rich library of built-in functions that simplify common tasks like database interaction, file handling, and string manipulation.

Where to learn PHP online?

There are many resources available for learning PHP. For example, there are online courses on Udemy and Coursera, such as "Learn PHP Programming From Scratch" by Stone River eLearning and "Building Web Applications in PHP" by the University of Michigan.


For books on PHP programming, you can check out "PHP & MySQL: Server-side Web Development 1st Edition" by Jon Duckett and "An Introduction to Programming in PHP: Stomping Zombies with Variables, Loops, Functions and More" by John Rhea.


In addition to online courses and books, there are also many free online tutorials available such as W3Schools and PHP Tutorial.

Hardest Programming Languages to Learn

C++

C++ is considered to be one of the most powerful, fastest, and toughest programming languages. It can be used for a variety of purposes and carries out the same efficient and robust programs.


With C++, programmers can easily work on different programming styles. It gives beginners a deep level of understanding of how computer systems respond to programming language instructions. C++ provides a lot of flexibility and robustness that makes it popular among developers. C++ is adopted by programmers when the requirement is to create reliable, efficient, and high-performing systems.


C++ features the following:

  • Object-oriented programming (OOP.)

  • A Standard template library (STL) that provides a collection of template classes and functions for common tasks.

  • Resource acquisition is initialization (RAII) ensures proper resource management and error handling through the use of try, catch, and throw statements.

  • Exception handling with templates.


C++’s syntax requires variables to be declared with a type before use and provides control structures such as if-else, switch-case, and loops for flow control. Functions can be defined using a return type, a name, and parameters, while classes and objects allow the creation of custom data types with member variables and functions.

Who uses C++?

C++ is used in various domains, such as:

  • Low-level system programming (operating systems, device drivers, and embedded systems).
  • Game development (3D games and game engines).
  • Desktop applications (word processors, web browsers, and multimedia software).
  • Scientific computing (efficient complex calculations and simulations).
  • High-frequency trading (financial applications requiring low latency for trade execution).


Statistics show that C++ is still a popular programming language among game developers. Additionally, due to its versatility, developers readily use it, especially those with a substantial understanding of computer programming.

What makes C++ a hard-to-learn language?

For beginners, learning C++ is challenging because of its advanced-level syntax and multiple paradigm support. Simply put, it may or may not perform intuitively. In some instances, it can yield the result required, but in some cases, the developer may face a number of errors/bugs, and to rectify those bugs, a sufficient amount of experience and understanding is required. Hence, it takes a long time to learn C++ and even longer to master it.

Where to learn C++ online?

Course Title: Programming in C++: A Hands-on Introduction Course

Programming in C++: A Hands-on Introduction Course

Author: Anh Le

Platform: Coursera

Brief Description: The Introductory C++ Programming Specialization is designed for individuals with no prior programming experience who aim to acquire C++ skills and grasp foundational computer science concepts. Over four comprehensive courses, participants will explore topics ranging from basic principles to object-oriented design, enabling them to create small automation programs as well as larger applications. Through applied learning projects, learners will develop practical C++ programs and create graphical outputs and animations using the Clmg library.

Price: Free


Course Title: Complete Modern C++

Complete Modern C++

Course Author:Umar Lone

Platform: Udemy

Brief Description: Complete Modern C++ is a comprehensive course designed for individuals looking to expand their knowledge of C++ and its modern language features, including C++11, C++14, and C++17. The course provides an in-depth understanding of object-oriented programming using advanced techniques such as move semantics, automatic type inference, threading, lambda expressions, smart pointers, and more. With a focus on clear examples and concept-building, learners will explore complex programs, classes, operator overloading, composition, inheritance, polymorphism, templates, concurrency, and even assembly. Regular quizzes help reinforce learning. Note that this course is not suitable for absolute beginners or those seeking basic programming knowledge.


Price:$149.99

For books, you can check out Amazon’s best sellers in C++ programming language, such as “C++ Primer (5th Edition)” by Stanley Lippman and “Tour of C++, A(C++ In-Depth Series) 3rd Edition” by Bjarne Stroustrup.


Some popular online tutorials include W3Schools’ “C++ Tutorial” and Codecademy’s “Learn C++

Haskell

The language is named after a mathematician and is usually described to be one of the hardest programming languages to learn. It is a completely functional language built on lambda calculus.


Haskel is known for the following features:

  • Purely functional programming that makes the code more predictable, easier to reason about, and facilitates parallelism and concurrency.
  • Statically typed, which means that type checking is done at compile time. This helps catch many common programming errors early and leads to more robust code.
  • Type inference reduces the need to annotate types explicitly. This makes the code concise and more readable.
  • Lazy evaluation: Haskell uses lazy evaluation by default, which means that expressions are evaluated only when needed. This allows for more efficient code and infinite data structures.
  • Pattern matching: Haskell supports pattern matching, allowing you to destructure data and match specific values or structures. This makes the code more expressive and easier to read.
  • Algebraic data types: Haskell provides algebraic data types, which are a way to define composite data types using sum and product types. This enables you to model complex data structures in a concise and type-safe manner.
  • Type-classes: Haskell has a feature called type-classes, which are similar to interfaces in other languages. Typeclasses allow you to define a set of functions that operate on different types, promoting code reusability and abstraction.
  • Immutability: By default, data in Haskell is immutable. This means that once a value is assigned, it cannot be changed. This leads to less error-prone code and simplifies reasoning about the program.
  • High-level abstractions: Haskell allows for the creation of high-level abstractions using functions and types, making it possible to express complex ideas concisely and elegantly.

Who uses Haskell?

Haskell is the primary technology that allows the development of high-quality software. The most significant factors for judging software quality are correctness, performance, and maintainability, and Haskell makes it so much easier to write code that excels in all of these areas.


Developers use Haskell for the following:

  • Web development with frameworks like Yesod and Servant.
  • Concurrent and parallel programming.
  • Data processing and transformation.
  • Formal verification and theorem proving with tools like Agda and Coq.
  • Compiler and interpreter development.

What makes Haskell a hard-to-learn language?

Haskell is a statically-typed functional programming language with a strong emphasis on purity and laziness. This means that functions in Haskell are pure by default and only evaluate their arguments when needed.


These features can make Haskell code very concise and expressive, but it can also make learning it more challenging for those used to imperative programming languages. Additionally, Haskell has a rich type system that allows for powerful abstractions but can also require more effort to understand.

Where to learn Haskel online?

Unfortunately, no online courses on Coursera or Udemy teach Haskell. However, there are some great books available on Amazon that can teach Haskell. One such book is “Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner’s Guide” by Miran Lipovaca. Another book is “Haskell: The Craft of Functional Programming” by Simon Thompson.


In addition to books, there are also many online tutorials available. One such tutorial is available on tutorialspoint.com, while HaskellWiki has a page dedicated to tutorials.

LISP

LISP, short for LISt Programming, was developed in the year 1959. Despite being one of the oldest programming languages, LISP has not lost its charm and is surprisingly still used by a fair number of programmers working on high-level AI applications. Studies reveal that when a similar code is written in C, C++, Java, and LISP, the LISP programs are relatively smaller and run within the least amount of time. LISP was initially designed with the purpose of seamlessly manipulating data strings and is used for the most logical AI applications in the present.


LISP features include S-expressions, symbolic computation, dynamic typing, homoiconicity, garbage collection, and support for functional programming. Furthermore, LISP's syntax is characterized by its simplicity and consistency, with programs consisting of expressions that can be atoms or lists.


Functions are applied by enclosing the function name and arguments within a list, making it easy to parse and manipulate programmatically. LISP's ability to handle symbolic expressions and metaprogramming makes it particularly well-suited for AI, mathematics, and computer algebra systems.


Studies showed that when similar code is written in C, C++, Java, and LISP, the LISP programs are relatively smaller and run within the least amount of time.

Who uses LISP?

LISP is commonly associated with AI research professionals as it has been widely used in expert systems, natural language processing, and machine learning. Furthermore, LISP's homoiconicity and macro system make it an excellent choice for creating domain-specific languages specialized for particular tasks or industries, while LISP dialects, such as Emacs Lisp and Guile, are employed as embedded scripting languages to extend and customize applications.


Additionally, LISP's dynamic typing, REPL, and interactive development environment allow rapid prototyping to test new ideas.

What makes LISP a hard-to-learn language?

Learning LISP can be challenging due to its unique syntax, functional programming paradigm, and reliance on recursion and higher-order functions. Its distinct S-expression syntax and abundant parentheses can be overwhelming and error-prone for beginners.


Adapting to the functional programming mindset, which emphasizes immutability and the avoidance of side effects, may also be difficult for those accustomed to other programming paradigms. Lastly, mastering LISP requires a strong grasp of recursion and higher-order functions, both of which can be challenging concepts to learn.

Where to learn Lisp online?

Course Title: The Lisp Programming Language: Learn Lisp basics in one day!

The Lisp Programming Language: Learn Lisp basics in one day! 

Course Author: Nikoloz Sanakoevi

Platform: Udemy


Brief Description: This introductory course on the Lisp Programming Language is designed to teach the fundamentals of Lisp through practical examples. Participants will explore basic concepts, including numbers, strings, Lisp logic, functions, lists, structs, and vectors. This fast-paced course is ideal for computer programmers, engineers, computer science majors, and anyone with interest in coding. By the end of the course, students will gain a solid foundation in Lisp and be ready to tackle more advanced topics.

Price:$34.99

Course Title: Most Complete Teaching of LISP

Most Complete Teaching of LISP

Course Author: Arash Deljoo

Platform: Udemy

Brief Description: In this course, participants will delve into the Locator ID Separation Protocol (LISP), a network architecture and protocol designed to address the challenges of Internet growth. LISP enhances routing scalability, multihoming efficiency, and ingress traffic engineering by separating IP addresses into Endpoint Identifiers (EIDs) and Routing Locators (RLOCs). Students will learn about LISP-related devices and configurations, gaining the knowledge necessary to implement LISP in real-world scenarios and improve overall network performance.

Price:$19.99

For books, "LISP, Lore, and Logic: An Algebraic View of LISP Programming, Foundations, and Applications" by W. Richard Stark and "Common LISP: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation" by David S Touretzky are available on Amazon for the Lisp learner.


Online tutorials, such as those provided on tutorialspoint.com and lisp-lang.org, are also available.

Prolog

AI applications, Computational Linguistics, or NLPs are where one can see the most use of Prolog. It is the first-ever programming language in which any automated customer care bot was developed, named ELIZA.

Who uses Prolog?

AI and NLP professionals in applications such as automated reasoning systems, natural language interfaces, and expert systems still use Prolog. It is also used for pattern matching over natural language parse trees.

What makes Prolog a hard-to-learn language?

While PROLOG may superficially appear easy to learn due to its simple program constructs and syntax, learning PROLOG can still be a challenge for many novices. One reason for this is that PROLOG is an unconventional language with data structures that are unlike other programming languages.


Prolog code cannot be easily used with the copy-paste method, and it is highly probable that the developer might face some compiling errors if he/she is not well-versed in the language beforehand.

Where to learn Prolog online?

There are many resources available for learning Prolog online, including Udemy's "Learn Prolog Programming From Zero to Hero.


Course Title: Learn Prolog Programming From Zero to Hero

Course Author: Lucas Bazilio

Platform: Udemy


Brief Description: The comprehensive Prolog Masterclass, designed by Lucas Bazilio, offers learners an opportunity to acquire essential Prolog programming skills for various career paths. This beginner-friendly course covers basic to advanced concepts, making programming more accessible. Students will learn Prolog keywords, functions, expert system structures, and more. By joining thousands of satisfied learners, they can unlock their potential as a Prolog developer with this seamless, easy-to-follow course.

Price:$84.99

For books on Amazon, best sellers on Prolog programming include "Clause and Effect: Prolog Programming for the Working Programmer 1997th Edition" by William F.Clocksin and "Prolog Programming for Artificial Intelligence (4th Edition)" by Ivan Bratko.


Finally, for online tutorials, Tutorialspoint has a Prolog tutorial and Javatpoint's also provides an online Prolog tutorial.

Malbolge

This language is so hard that it has to be set aside in its own paragraph. Malbolge is by far the hardest programming language to learn, which can be seen from the fact that it took no less than two years to finish writing the first Malbolge code. The code readability is ridiculously low because it is designed to be as challenging as possible, providing programmers with a challenge.

Who uses Malbolge?

Malbolge is not preferred in the software industry as it has no use cases. It is self learned as a test of a programmer's skills.

What makes Malbolge a hard-to-learn language?

Malbolge, by nature, is counterintuitive because it has a counter-intuitive ‘crazy operation’, base-three arithmetic, and self-altering code, which makes it very difficult to understand.


To make things worse, Malbolge's syntax comprises of only eight instructions, represented by the characters i, j, p, m, d, r, c, and <.  The “crazy operation” scrambles register and memory values for the instructions providing a huge challenge for aspiring Malbolge programmers.


Programmers who seek to learn this esoteric language would have to be motivated purely for the challenge of learning this language

Where to learn Malbolge online?

No specific Malbolge courses on Coursera, Udemy or books on the subject exist. However, online tutorials are available for the truly dedicated, such as the Malbolge Tutorial at matthias-ernst.eu.

Conclusion

Programming language learning can be an intimidating process, therefore, it is recommended to start with the easiest and then grow into the domain that supports one’s career path. It is always better, to begin with, those programming languages which have a vast community of developers and strong support programs to enable a seamless learning experience.


Most software developers prefer learning a set of programming languages rather than a single one. This enables the developers to handle projects single-handedly and adds to their market value at the same time.


Featured image generated using Kadinsky 2 using the following prompt: “programmer typing on his macbook pro”.