As technology continues to shape the future, learning to code has become an invaluable skill for teens. With many programming languages available, it can be challenging to decide which one to start with. So today, we'll explore four of the best programming languages for teens to learn: Python, C++, JavaScript, and Java. Each language offers unique benefits and real-world applications, providing a strong foundation for future tech careers. We'll also share a great way for teens to get started learning each language: in live online Create & Learn classes led by experts, and designed by professionals from Google, Stanford, and MIT.

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Discover the Top Programming Languages for Teens and High School Students

Python's simplicity, C++'s performance, JavaScript's versatility, and Java's robustness each offer unique advantages. Let's explore why each language may be the right fit for your student.

Chart comparing Python, Java, C++, Javascript for teens

1. Python

Real-World Applications: Web development, data science, AI, automation
Key Characteristics: Easy syntax, interpreted, dynamic typing, extensive libraries

Python is an excellent language for beginners due to its simple and readable syntax. It's widely used in education and has extensive applications in web development, data science, and artificial intelligence. Python's beginner-friendly nature fosters computational thinking, making it an ideal starting point for teens.

Why Learn in High School:

  • Beginner-friendly with a simple syntax
  • Fosters computational thinking
  • Widely used in various industries

Ease of Learning: High
Performance: Moderate
Community Support: Excellent
Career Opportunities: High demand in data science, web development, AI

Start Learning Python:

Enroll your student in the Python for AI class by Create & Learn, which introduces kids aged 9-14 to the fundamentals of programming using Python, a versatile and widely-used language. Through interactive lessons and hands-on projects, students learn essential coding concepts such as variables, loops, and functions while creating their own games, animations, and applications. With experienced instructors guiding them every step of the way, students develop problem-solving skills and gain confidence in their ability to code in Python.

2. C++

Real-World Applications: System/software development, game development Key Characteristics: Performance, control over system resources, compiled, object-oriented

C++ offers a deeper understanding of low-level operations and performance optimization. It is essential for system and game development, making it ideal for teens interested in high-performance applications. While C++ has a more complex syntax and requires manual memory management, mastering it provides a strong foundation in programming.

Why Learn in High School:

  • Develops understanding of low-level operations
  • Good for learning performance optimization

Ease of Learning: Medium
Performance: High
Community Support: Strong
Career Opportunities: High demand in game development, system programming

Start Learning C++:

For a comprehensive and engaging learning experience, consider enrolling your teen in Create & Learn's C++ Essentials for Teens class. This course combines expert instruction with hands-on projects to make learning C++ fun and accessible, preparing students for a bright future in technology. In this fun C++ class, students will learn not only core elements of the C++ programming language, but also take their first steps in algorithms such as sort and search. Algorithms are the essential components of all large scale computer systems in real world!

3. JavaScript

Real-World Applications: Web development, front-end/back-end development Key Characteristics: Event-driven, interpreted, high-level, dynamic typing

JavaScript is the backbone of web development, making it essential for teens interested in creating interactive websites. Its simple syntax and immediate visual feedback make learning fun and engaging. JavaScript is used for both front-end and back-end development, providing versatile career opportunities.

Why Learn in High School:

  • Essential for web development
  • Easy to start with immediate visual feedback

Ease of Learning: High
Performance: Moderate
Community Support: Excellent
Career Opportunities: High demand in web development

Start Learning JavaScript:

The Build Your Web JavaScript cloud computing class by Create & Learn is designed for kids aged 10-14, providing them with an engaging introduction to cloud computing and its practical applications. Students explore JavaScript programming language within the context of cloud-based platforms, learning how to leverage cloud resources to build and deploy dynamic web applications. Through hands-on projects and interactive lessons, participants gain valuable skills in web development while understanding the fundamentals of cloud computing infrastructure.

4. Java

Real-World Applications: Enterprise applications, Android app development Key Characteristics: Object-oriented, platform-independent, compiled, extensive libraries

Java is widely used in large-scale enterprise environments and Android app development. It has a verbose syntax but a strong type system, providing a robust foundation in object-oriented programming. Learning Java prepares teens for a variety of tech careers and further studies in computer science.

Why Learn in High School:

  • Strong foundation in object-oriented programming
  • Widely used in industry

Ease of Learning: Medium
Performance: High
Community Support: Excellent
Career Opportunities: High demand in enterprise solutions, Android development

Begin Learning Java:

The AP Computer Science A class by Create & Learn offers a comprehensive curriculum for high school students preparing for the AP Computer Science A exam. Through in-depth instruction and practice exercises, students learn key programming concepts in Java, including object-oriented programming, data structures, and algorithms. With a focus on exam preparation and mastery of Java programming skills, students gain the confidence and knowledge needed to excel in the AP Computer Science A exam and beyond.

Get Started with Programming Languages for Teens and High Schoolers to Learn

Choosing the right programming language for teens can set them up for success in the tech world. Today, four languages stand out as particularly beneficial: Python, JavaScript, Java, and C++. Recent statistics highlight their significance in the tech industry and job market. Python, known for its simplicity and versatility, has witnessed a surge in popularity, with a Stack Overflow Developer Survey reporting Python has overtaken SQL as the third most commonly-used language. JavaScript remains fundamental for web development, with over 95% of websites using it. Java, a mainstay in enterprise applications and Android development, boasts a vast job market and continues to be a top choice for computer science education. According to the TIOBE Index, C++ consistently ranks among the top programming languages, indicating its enduring relevance and demand. Moreover, C++ remains foundational in fields like game development, where it's used in popular game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity, powering many of the world's most successful video games. By mastering these languages, teens not only acquire valuable technical skills but also open doors to diverse career opportunities in technology.

Learn more about coding for high school students and explore high school coding classes and camps. Or explore programming languages that are great for kids to learn.