Which language to learn

Hi people…

I am 60. I have been programming for over 35years. Many different languages ( some you wont have heard of ), VB6, Forth, IBM Mainframe, Modula-2, ASP, VB.Net, C#, HTML, Access, VBA, DBase, Javascript, SQL, PHP, MySQL, Mirth etc etc.

I am now having to work fully remotely as I am a carer aswell

I am NOT an expert in any language, probably classed as a jack of all trades…I get asked to look at a problem and I fix it…maybe not in the most elegant way but it works ( some of my websites and desktop applications are still running after 10 years ! )

Anyway , I’d like to learn a another language that keeps me interested for the next 5 years but that will pay the bills.

What do people think of these languages and their industry demand…bear in mind my age as unfortunately in the UK ageism is just a fact of life


… and an old language ( remember I was brought up on cardreaders )

Many thanks

Each platform has it’s own major language knowing which normally results in some sort of a job:

  • Web: JavaScript
  • Mobile (Apple): Swift
  • Mobile (Android): Java
  • Gaming/Graphics: C++
  • ML: Python
  • (Server: Go / Rust / Java / PHP / JavaScript)*

*Server as platform is dead and mostly is a part of Web platform

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Your list there is leaning heavily JavaScript (React, Node, TypeScript), and that’s probably the suggestion that you’re going to get here. We’re mostly developers or students of JS based technology. If part of what you’re looking for is a community to be part of, you couldn’t find a better one than freeCodeCamp, which is MERN stack based.

As you know, the language choice depends on what you want to do. If you’re a mathy sort or love a fast scripting language for automating your life, Python is a lot of fun and also has a bunch of good resources.


I have heard about python. Is it linked to other languages, js, Ruby etc or is it something to learn on its own?


Python is its own language. It’s pretty popular for rapid prototyping of ideas and its math libraries are pretty strong.


I’ll take a look and find an online course to learn it… In lockdown the next few weeks would be ideal

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VB6, Forth, IBM Mainframe, Modula-2, ASP, VB.Net, C#, HTML, Access, VBA, DBase, Javascript, SQL, PHP, MySQL, Mirth

First, I recognize all of these, even if I have worked with them :wink:

Here are the ones from your list that are still considered mainstream and you can get a job with today (in no particular order):

  • C# - My area may be biased as I live near Microsoft…
  • Javascript - It has changed a lot in the last 10 years, you’ll need to update your knowledge
  • PHP - not as popular, but plenty of companies have code to be maintained and improved
  • SQL - not much has changed in a long time
  • MySQL - (not a language… but still heavily used)

Someone mentioned that server is dead. Not 100% sure what was meant by that, but at least in my area demand for backend engineers is significantly higher than frontend.

Even during corona the only recruiters that reached out to me were ones hiring for backend teams. They build the infrastructure that allows everything else to work on. Not going away any time soon.

Primary language today for that stuff: Java

Also growing in demand for backend:

  • Javascript (since the advent of Node)
  • Typescript - transpiles to javascript, so still good to learn js first.
  • Go (people tired of Java or C++ :stuck_out_tongue:)

Last thing, believe it or not Cobol is still actively used. It’s not taught in schools anymore, but many “legacy” systems were built with it decades ago - and built well. Since the mindset is generally “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” - these systems are still alive and need Cobol developers.

Recently, in the US, many unemployment processing systems began failing with the increased use from covid-related layoffs. Those systems were (are?) hiring people with Cobol skills to help out. Perhaps that’s worth looking into.

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My wife always laughs about some of my decisions… Before you sent your reply I decided that I would go Python and retrain myself in javascript and php but now you have thrown sql, mysql and cobol back in the ring lol

I really like working with sql and mysql but I don’t think I’ve ever had a single remote contract offered in them.

So my list to learn/retrain in 24hrs is!


Should be finished my lunchtime tomorrow!


Go was mentioned in one of the other replies: semantics should afaics be somewhat familiar from other languages you’ve used. It’s designed to be very simple and easy to learn. It’s definitely in demand. One key thing it has going for it from your point of view is that remote positions are IME more common relative to everything else you’ve listed.

Edit: just re usecases, was designed to replace C++ at Google, that didn’t happen, but the language has some terrific characteristics (v simple to learn/read, statically typed, built for concurrency, v good stdlib, v fast compiler that emits single binaries for any platform). It’s used a lot for tooling (where it eats into Python’s dominance in some areas, mainly DevOps), for servers & for web services.