Easiest Programming Languages to Learn for Front-End Development

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Curious about learning programming languages for a front-end development career? HTML gives you the basics, but there are four other languages that are relatively fast and simple to master. Learn more here.

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Programming languages like CSS, HTML, and JavaScript are among the simpler languages to learn for front-end development. Coding can be challenging, but if you start with one that’s easy to learn and geared toward your career goals, it may further your aspirations. 

As a front-end developer, your work has a large impact on websites or applications that users directly interact with, including elements like:

  • Design

  • Content

  • Structure

  • Navigation menus

  • Behavior of applications

Typically, your major objectives are to ensure performance and responsiveness. To do that, you may use unique programming languages. Here are five programming languages and resources to help your front-end development training. 

Create web pages with HTML

Technically, hypertext markup language (HTML) isn't a programming language; it's a markup language [1]. However, it’s a great starting point for beginners learning how to code. It uses tags to define data, allowing the web browser to read it and know its purpose to display it appropriately. You'll use HTML to create headings, paragraphs, links, bullet points, and other formatting elements.

What makes it easy to learn?

HTML helps get you into the habit of thinking like a coder. It's broadly used, and as you're getting started, you may find that at its core, HTML relies on basic, simple rules that you can learn in a matter of hours, without any strong programming foundation needed. 

Websites have been using HTML since the 1990s, and it hasn't changed much since. So what you learn now will likely still be relevant years from now.

Usage

As a front-end developer, you'll use HTML to lay out a document’s content and structure. Other roles, including full-stack developers, web developers, website editors, bloggers, and mobile app developers, also use HTML to execute tasks. 

Style websites with CSS

Like HTML, cascading style sheets (CSS) is considered one of the building blocks for creating web pages. CSS lets you change the appearance of your website, such as the background colors, animation definitions, and text color. All of these abilities can help enhance the website or page's readability, aesthetics, and function for a better user experience.

 What makes it easy to learn?

Like HTML, CSS is simpler than many other programming languages. It's a rule-based language that you can learn through formal education, but many people are able to teach themselves using books and online tutorials. If you're like many learners, you'll likely be able to grasp the fundamentals of using CSS within a few weeks and be well on your way to building websites and pages.

Usage

As a front-end developer, you'll use CSS to style web pages and websites. While it's easy to learn, CSS has a lot of nuances. For this reason, many front-end developers use it with CSS preprocessors, which compile the code and provide additional features not found in CSS. This includes loops, which you can use to repeat instructions, and variables, which define values to use for your document or program without retyping the definition.

Code interactive websites with JavaScript

JavaScript has been around since 1995 when Netscape Communications first created it as a programming language designed to let you create complex functions on websites and pages [2]. Today, JavaScript enhances the user experience by creating dynamic, user-friendly web pages.

According to data from Stack Overflow, JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language, with 69.7 percent of its survey respondents using it for everything from web, app, and game development to building web servers [3]. Berkeley Extension also mentions that it's one of the easiest programming languages to learn, even if you don't have much coding experience [4].

What makes it easy to learn?

While JavaScript is easy to learn, it helps if you have some experience with HTML since both languages coexist in web pages together. Once you've got the fundamentals of JavaScript down, you'll be able to use it relatively quickly. It has intuitive features that make it suitable as a first programming language. Because it shares many similarities with other languages, learning other ones may be easier, and if you're already familiar with other languages, you should have an easy time learning JavaScript.

Usage

As a front-end developer, you'll use JavaScript to create a rich user experience with interactive elements. You'll use it to create tabs, site navigation menus, image sliders, form validations, accordions, pop-ups, and more. JavaScript has been used widely to create some of the most popular websites including Facebook, Google, and YouTube.

Build UI components on web pages with React

React is a programming language and JavaScript library that Meta created. When you use it, you'll be able to create dynamic pages quickly and switch between different elements smoothly. You'll also be able to place HTML coding within JavaScript and use it along with Virtual DOM.

As a front-end developer with user experience as a top priority, you could benefit from learning this programming language, especially given how user friendly the elements are and how functional and fast the web pages will be.

 What makes it easy to learn?

React isn't a complex tool. Instead, it is a simple library. This open-source, free programming language streamlines the process of building interactive elements. You'll be able to find plenty of tutorials online to help you along. If you are familiar with using JavaScript, you may have an easier time learning React. Having a basic programming foundation may also help simplify the learning process. 

Usage

As a front-end developer, you'll likely use React to easily build high-quality, rich user interfaces. Because this programming language has reusable components and development tools, you may be more productive using React. There are a number of popular companies and apps that use React in their front-end development, including Dropbox, IMDb, Tesla Motors, Airbnb, and PayPal.

Modify UI components easily with Python

You might be surprised to find this on a list of languages for front-end developers, but Python can be used in both the front-end and the back-end. This general-purpose language was designed to be readable, and because it's among the easier programming languages, many computer science degree programs include it as an introductory language. 

This is a popular language used by companies large and small to do everything from running data analytics to creating interactive gaming or e-commerce experiences. Some of the benefits of using Python in front-end development include modifying UI components by simply dragging and dropping the elements onto the page and calling events using code. 

What makes it easy to learn?

Learning Python is easy because the syntax is made up of straightforward commands. It was designed to prioritize readability, which makes it relatively fast to learn even though it’s a fairly dense language. It's also an interpreted language, which means that you'll be able to test your code and make any necessary changes. The coding experience is intuitive and streamlined, and the robust selection of libraries helps make this a beginner-friendly language.

Usage

Although JavaScript has traditionally been the go-to front-end programming language for decades, Python has become another option. Python interpreters, such as Brython, let you implement functions and scripts into JavaScript so that you can interact with its libraries. These implementers give you access to the latest front-end development solutions.

As a front-end developer, you can use Python to call server-side functions from the browser. You may also use it to set up, maintain, and update databases. In front-end development, Python also makes it easier to handle binary data, generate PDFs, and use your preferred Python packages, including APScheduler, GoogleNews, and LunarCalendar, among many others to build your web pages and apps. 

Read more: What is Python Used For? A Beginner's Guide

Advance your skills: How to start learning?

Ultimately, the easiest programming language to learn depends on you. If you’re brand new to coding and interested in pursuing a career as a front-end developer, HTML can give you an excellent foundation to build on. But if you’re already somewhat familiar with that language, you might opt to learn CSS, Javascript, React, or Python. 

When you begin learning how to program, you’ve got several options. You can try self-learning by reading books or following online tutorials. But if you’re looking for more formal training, you might consider the following: 

Online courses

There are many high-quality programming language courses available online. You can connect with various options on platforms like Coursera, which hosts programming courses from top-tier universities and organizations covering high-level and specific languages. 

Bootcamps

These accelerated, intensive programs are offered by universities, colleges, and independent companies designed to prepare you for a job. This streamlined option may take weeks or months to complete, however it can help you advance toward your goals of learning how to code. 

Degree programs

If you choose to pursue a degree in computer science or a related field, part of your studies will include learning multiple programming languages. Pursue one of these majors to learn other skills that could be useful for pursuing a career in front-end development. These skills include website design principles, testing and debugging websites, and creating websites and pages that optimize the user experience.

Next steps

Whether you’re looking to learn new programming languages or expand your skills as an aspiring front-end developer, you can do so on Coursera. Get an overview of some of the foundational programming languages for web development with HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers from Johns Hopkins University, or build your own web portfolio by completing Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development and Coding from the University of Michigan.  

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Article sources

  1. ZD Net. “The easiest programming language to learn, https://www.zdnet.com/education/computers-tech/easiest-programming-languages-to-learn/.” Accessed March 22, 2022.

  2. Simplilearn. “Top 10 Reasons to Learn JavaScript, https://www.simplilearn.com/reasons-to-learn-javascript-article.” Accessed March 22, 2022.

  3. Stack Overflow. “2020 Developer Survey, https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2020#technology-programming-scripting-and-markup-languages-professional-developers.” Accessed March 22, 2022.

  4. Berkeley . “11 Most in-Demand Programming Languages in 2022, https://bootcamp.berkeley.edu/blog/most-in-demand-programming-languages/." Accessed April 5, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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