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12 of the Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2022

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12 of the Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2022

So, you want to learn how to program. Honestly, great choice — pursuing software or website development is a challenging but highly rewarding career path.

Now, for your next big decision: Which programming language should you start with? It can feel like a daunting choice, since your first language is your first exposure to the world of programming can set the tone for your learning experience.

If you pick one that’s too challenging, you might get discouraged and lose interest early on. Pick one that’s too simple and you may miss out on fundamental concepts you’ll need to lock down an entry-level development job. Plus, with hundreds of programming languages being used today, where do you even begin to look?

Fortunately, you don’t have to learn every language under the sun to break into the field. Many developers before you have come to a general consensus about which programming languages are best for newcomers.

To get you started coding as soon as possible, we’ve compiled 12 excellent beginner options you can pick from depending on your interests and desired career path.

If you’re a beginner, most software engineers recommend learning Python, Java, or C first. Below, we’ll give you a rundown of each of these programming languages and others, while describing what they’re used for and why you might want to try each one.

1. Python

Many new programmers will gravitate to Python as their first language. It has many qualities that make it perfect all-around for beginners.

Python is a high-level, general-purpose scripting language with syntax that is very simple and digestible compared to other programming languages. This makes it easy to learn relatively quickly and start building simple projects without sweating the details.

Python is also known for its broad range of libraries that allow you to extend the language to do just about anything, including software development, data analysis, machine learning, server-side web development, and a ton more.

2. Java

Java is another widely used general-purpose programming language that’s excellent for beginners. Not only is it a great introduction to the art and science of programming — it’s also one of the most sought-after languages at companies of all sizes (including HubSpot!), making it a solid foundation for a career.

The Java Virtual Machine lets Java run on virtually any hardware and operating system, making it among the most widely used programming languages in the world. It’s most commonly on the back ends of software applications, from large-scale enterprise applications to mobile apps. Notably, the Android OS is based on Java.

While Java does have a bit steeper of a learning curve than Python, it’s definitely manageable and one of the best options for first-time programmers.

3. JavaScript

JavaScript (no relation to Java, despite their similar names) is the de facto programming language of the web. It’s primarily used on the front end of websites and applications to make them dynamic and interactive. It can also be used server-side with frameworks like Node.js.

It’s also the most popular programming language according to Stack Overflow, used by 68% of professional developers. It’s also used on over 98% of all websites. With those numbers, it’s safe to say that anyone who wants to learn web development should make JavaScript one of the first languages they learn.

JavaScript is somewhat notorious in the developer community for its complexity, but that’s only if you dig into the advanced stuff. For beginners, JavaScript is intuitive, flexible, and easy to pick up. Plus, you don’t need to install another application or compile your code to see your code work — just run it in your browser.

4. HTML and CSS

Okay, HTML and CSS aren’t technically programming languages. However, if you’re interested in web development, these should be the first two languages you learn besides JavaScript. You can’t really build anything web-based without at least some HTML knowledge, anyway.

HTML is the language that defines the content and structure of web pages. When you view a web page, you’re looking at your browser’s interpretation of an HTML file. CSS is an accompanying language that defines the style of the page — it’s what makes websites look nice, basically.

The good news is that, since HTML and CSS steer clear of the programming part of web development, they’re both pretty straightforward and a great way to get a sense of what coding a website feels like without committing to a whole programming language. Take a few days to get comfortable with these two and, if you like them, consider an introductory JavaScript course.

5. C

Some programming languages, like Python, are ideal for new programmers because their syntax is simple and human-readable. Essentially, you can write programs that do a lot of things with less code. On the other hand, some other languages are more challenging because their syntax is closer to machine code (a very low-level, entirely numerical language that computers process). If you hadn’t already guessed, C is one of these languages.

So, why would anyone start with a lower-level language? Ultimately, starting with C can be more rewarding in the long run because it helps you build a better foundation of knowledge. So much of learning how to program involves problem-solving, rather than just learning syntax. For anyone who wants to dive into the technical side of things and really understand how their programs work, C is your best bet.

For this reason, C is widely taught in introductory college computer science courses. However, it also involves more complex syntax than some other programming languages — you need to write more code to get things done. But, if you want to be challenged, learning C will help you ultimately become a more well-rounded programmer.

A very influential language, C also forms the foundation for most modern programming syntax, so learning will give you key skills you can then apply to other languages. In terms of applications, C is most commonly used for desktop applications, operating systems, and databases.

6. C++

A successor of C, C++ is also popular among programmers. The name comes from the “++” operator in C, which adds a value of one to an integer. (Yes, even developers like to have fun sometimes.)

C++ builds on C by including classes and objects, which allow you to represent real-life objects in the code. This added sophistication opens many more possibilities to the language and makes it much better equipped for developing sophisticated applications, like system or application software, drivers, client-server applications, embedded firmware, and video games.

And, fun side note, C++ was also my first programming language. 🎉 🎉

7. C#

Another popular offshoot of C, C# (pronounced “C sharp”) was developed by Microsoft to run on its .NET platform for Windows applications. C# is still very common in desktop applications, it’s also known it for being the language of the Unity game engine. This means that those interested in video game development will likely need to learn C# at some point.

Once you’ve learned the basics of C, consider taking on C# next, as it will be easier to pick up once you’re familiar with the syntax of the C family of programming languages.

8. Ruby

For you aspiring web developers, this is another popular choice for beginners. Ruby is a server-side scripting language that’s one of the easier ones to read and pick up as a first language.

A big reason for Ruby’s popularity is the open-source web application framework Ruby on Rails, which has been widely adopted by startups and large tech companies like Square, Shopify, Airbnb, and Hulu, making it a valuable skill career-wise.

A main philosophy of Ruby on Rails is convention over configuration. In other words, it trades flexibility for convenience, and a lot of programming decisions are already made for you. While learning Ruby on Rails will be a heavier lift than the basics of Ruby, you’ll eventually be able to help build impressive web applications as a result.

Still, we recommend learning the basics of the Ruby programming language first, before diving into the Rails framework that goes on top of it.

9. PHP

Here’s one more popular server-side scripting language that’s valuable to know if you’re interested in web development. PHP is an open-source language that’s used to build dynamic web pages on-the-fly, making for a more personalized browsing experience. Highly flexible, beginner-friendly, and with tons of frameworks, PHP tops the list for most-used languages by beginners and professionals alike.

PHP is also the core language for the WordPress content management system and is a staple in the WordPress developer’s toolkit. Since WordPress is free and open-source, peeking at its core files is a good way to get some exposure to how PHP powers websites.

10. SQL

Are you interested in working with databases, or any kind of job that involves storing, fetching, and analyzing data? In that case, it’s definitely worth your time to pick up SQL at some point.

SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language (and is often pronounced “sequel”) is the standard programming language for managing relational databases. A relational database is one in which data points are related to each other, organized in tables of columns and rows.

SQL allows you to add data to, extract data from, and change data inside relational databases, making it most useful for data analysts and scientists, as well as product experts, business analysts, and marketers who wish to factor business data into their decision-making.

You can’t exactly “build” things with SQL in the same sense as other languages here — it has a much more specific purpose. But, if you aspire to work with data in any capacity, SQL is a must-know.

11. Swift

Swift is a newer programming language created by Apple to develop iOS and macOS applications. If you think building apps is something you’d want to do, learn Swift — you’ll need to know it eventually to make a career in iOS and macOS development.

Like other languages we’ve discussed here, Swift has relatively straightforward, human-readable syntax and is a pretty forgiving language when it comes to mistakes. It’s also a very scalable language that makes it easy to translate your projects from small experiments to full-blown app pursuits.

12. Go

To close out our list, we have Go (also known as Golang), a general-purpose. Go was created by Google to support software development projects. It’s similar to C, but with easier syntax and some added functionality to support more efficient building and more scalable projects. Some people see Go as combining the more user-friendly aspects of several programming languages into one.

Go has gained traction among developers of cloud-based applications, AI and machine learning, web servers, data tools, and command-line tools.

For more general advice on how to pick which language to learn first, check out this great video from Codecademy.

Learn to code.

As I said, picking a first programming language is intimidating. But, the good news is that once you get a feel for one language, it’s easier to transfer your knowledge to other similar programming languages. For example, if you started with C, you can take on C++, JavaScript, or PHP without having to relearn a ton of new concepts.

Whichever language you choose, the most important thing isn’t the exact syntax of the language you’re writing (though, yes, that is important). Rather, it’s the fundamental concepts of computer science, the problem-solving skills you pick up along the way, and, eventually, the ability to think computationally as second-nature.

That might all seem far off to you right now. But, with diligent practice and dedication to the languages you’re learning, a new career can be closer than you think.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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