What was your first programming language?

Everyone has to start somewhere. Where did your programming journey begin?
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A bunch of question marks


Whether you first learned to program in a classroom setting, on the job, or by teaching yourself, everyone who has contributed code to an open source project has a story of how they first picked up programming. And no matter if you still use it today, your first language played an important role in shaping your understanding of computer systems.

So which language did you begin with?

We know we can't possibly list every language that people might have gotten their start on. So if we missed your first language, let us know what it was in the comments, and if we start to see a lot of votes gravitating around a particular choice, we'll consider adding it as an option in the poll above.

And if you aren't yet a programmer, that's okay! Coding is a rewarding experience, even if you don't make it your full-time vocation, but there are plenty of ways to contribute to open source projects without knowing a thing about programming that are just as valuable as contributing source code.

But for those who are coders, we want to know: Where did you get your start?

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Jason was an Opensource.com staff member and Red Hatter from 2013 to 2022. This profile contains his work-related articles from that time. Other contributions can be found on his personal account.


Fortran IV in 1968. It was a requirement for all engineering and science students. If you wanted to learn COBOL, you had to switch over the the business school.

Ditto, but 1969.

In reply to by Robert McConnell (not verified)

ZX80 Basic was the first of my code to actually run anywhere, I'd studied Fortran somewhat, but had no access to a compiler (or a computer..!).

My first language was FORTRAN-66.

LOGO programming language.

Forth and 6502 Assembly

Algol 60 was my first language.

WATFOR was a reduced version of FORTRAN (yes both were written in all caps) from Waterloo University used to educate freshmen in computer science at NCSU in 1968.
Its cousin WATBOL was a reduced version of COBOL (again note the all caps) was also lightly used as was 360/Assembly language.

First was Basic on an Apple II+, but shortly after I wrote some Mantis (from Cincom Systems) on an IBM 4341. At the time I didn't recognize how language design impacts productivity. Took me 15 years to see that.

ActionScript3. Had to learn at uni because no one else in my game design group wanted to.

Fortran IV, then later WATFOR. Programming with punch cards was brutal -- you spent a lot of time writing your program (on paper), then using a keypunch machine, then handing in your "job" so it could be run, and the next day you either got back your printout as desired, sometimes sheets and sheets of output because you created some loop, or maybe you got nothing.
With WATFOR, no more punch cards! You had some memory space to save programs! You could edit, then run immediately, all by yourself!

I learned first HTML5

HTML 5 is not a programming language, I hope you're aware of that... ;)

In reply to by Sachin Saxena (not verified)

MS-DOS Batch, if you count scripting languages.

Fortan IV, ZX-80 Basic, GWBasic and Assembly language (if you count that as a language) in that order.
Fortran was part of the curriculum for Engineering, but it was all theory on the paper.
Many years later, I happened to come across a Fortran compiler.

I learnt MS Logo in class first. Then I learnt QBASIC, Small Basic, and later on HTML. A few days ago I taught myself JavaScript. I'm currently in Class 8.


Hisoft Pascal on the ZX Spectrum. It seemed more logical than Sinclair Basic though I did type in a fair few of those programs from the Usborne programming books. Think it gave me the the patience for debugging working out where the program needed adjusting from the TRS-80 version to the Spectrum.


(Laughs with arrays starting from 1)

My first programming language was Assembly.


Can you tell me which technology require before start a cloud computing certification

My 1st programming language was Actionscript 1.0 in Macromedia Flash 5 :)

I learned Basic on a GE timesharing system in 1968 as part of my high school freshman algebra class. Used a Teletype and punched paper tape. It was incredibly rudimentary, but it's served me well for years. I didn't take a formal programming class for two decades, but knew enough to do some basic things in dBase III. Never worked as a programmer, but knew enough to do things at work (I am a retired archivist) that others couldn't.

Old joke: A FORTRAN programmer can program FORTRAN in any language. I confess, that pretty much describes how I write (my relatively small) programs: linear code that I learned in Basic. Even so, I've developed a couple of database-drive ASP and PHP websites that are in fairly wide use.

6502 Machine Language (not the same as assembly language)

Tandy computer, back in the day. Not sure what programme or language that i was using, it all came from a book. But it was challenging, and the games that was played after all that typing was OK for that era. And if ya missed out anything it wouldn't load, and you would have to read through every line to see what was missing. I loved the Tandy.

my first programming language was Logo. I was maybe 8 or 9, during 80s. then C64 Basic and - yes on C64 - assembly too, using the Miki cartrdige.

ActionScript 2

Started with BBC BASIC in school and an Acorn Electron at home. But really cut my teeth with Pascal at College, then Uni.

VB.NET, amazing language.

C++ 2017! haha

I had an Atari 400 when I was a kid in the early 80s. It was marketed as a home computer but it was, for the most part, an advanced gaming system. It did, however, have a QWERTY keyboard and came with a game-like cartridge for BASIC. So I taught myself using that... to some extent.

While it had a full keyboard, it didn't have actual keys, but instead was a membrane keyboard, which made it difficult to type. Plus, we didn't have any way of saving anything we were working on. So if I spent more than 30-60 minutes working on a program, I felt like I was wasting my time since I couldn't save anything. But there's not much you can do in 30-60 minutes, particularly when you can't type. Still, I managed to learn quite a few things.

Algol! (early 70's)

8080 Assembler for the MITs Altair (though I didn't have an Altair, just the manuals) -- around 1975. Lots of programs written on notebook paper.

I remembered, I joining computer course in my school when I was 9 years old and started with Logo (programming language). It uses turtle graphics to draw diagrams such as square and circles. I still remembered some commands - #FD 100, #RT 90, #REPEAT etc. After two years, I moved to BASIC and later to Fortran coding.

Ada language

plankalkul was the first programming language by kenard zuse...

My 1st and current working language is ASM (assembly language ) . After that I learnt c , c++ and Java also

Software engineer

I actually learned to program with pseudo-code on paper :)

My first on-computer language was Pascal, though.

I already voted basic as my first. But if u consider machine language as programming, it was 8085 back in college in 1992. Learnt basic a year later. I forgot both now. Coding in avr c.

From what I see in the comments, I guess another good question would be: When did you write your first code, and at what age?


Autocoder / SPS on the IBM 1401. Assembly languages, one free form, the other fixed format. (Circa 1966)


BASIC, from the book "Basic BASIC" before owning a computer. The value of having everyone, TRS-80, Commodore, Apple, and so on, all with the same basic (ha!) programming meant learning was not just easy, it was portable. I know that C was supposed to be that way, but at the time it certainly wasn't. I still look at problems and know I could accomplish the task in 5 minutes if only I had a BASIC interpreter shell which acted like my TRS-80 did. But no, I have to slog though editors and compilers and all that first. All "progress" is not forward.

Technically, I think it was BASIC. I used to program my TI-85 with formula's in college so I could just plug and play whatever variable I needed the answer for. Then I took C++ in college and got int HTML and eventually self-taught PHP.

Actually Iam a student only 13 years old.
In class 10th, I started taking programming
lessons from YouTube. I love programming.

They tough me C first, but I learned Java First.

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