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5 Worst Programming Languages: Don’t Learn Them3 min read

Want to avoid toxic corporate cultures and projects with no future? Here are the 5 worst programming languages to avoid.

5 worst programming languages
Photo by Thierry Biland on Unsplash

Not all programming languages are made equal.

For the last 15+ years, I have read hundreds of thousands of code lines of all sorts… From COBOL to Go.

And? What’s so special about that?

Well, here is a regularity I found out. (This can come in handy if you are just starting in the industry and want to learn some coding.)

The most hostile work environments form around poorly managed code bases.

These are usually 10+ year-old projects where the initial developers/architects are long gone, and the documentation is very scarce (if it exists at all).

And the pressure to deliver is still there…

What do I mean?

Well, the developers who work on these projects are mostly left to their own devices… To build and troubleshoot the dying dinosaurs. (Because the business still uses the app/website/process.)

In the most extreme cases, no one knows what the code does, and developers are there to make fixes and keep it alive for some more time.

(Think of a black box — touch something, and you might fix the issue, but you might also break the entire thing.)

Now, why does this happen?

You can always blame “the previous guys who did a bad job”, of course, but that’s not the point.

Some of the programming languages of the past are

  • extremely hard to understand (with lots of unneeded syntax)
  • almost impossible to troubleshoot (where the error comes from)
  • compromise security and are easy to brute-force

So, it makes sense to know what the least beneficial programming languages to learn are. (Especially if you are just starting.)

And yes, you can find a well-paying job even with these, but your mental well-being will suffer…

Here is the list of 4 programming languages to avoid if you are at the beginning of your tech career.

  • Visual Basic: Once a popular language for Windows application development, it’s now largely outdated and has been replaced by more modern languages.
  • Perl: Perl was a famous scripting language, but it has been largely replaced by Python and other languages that are easier to read, write, and debug.
  • COBOL: COBOL is a very old language that’s still used in some legacy systems, but it’s not a language that’s in high demand for new projects.
  • PHP: While PHP is still widely used, especially in web development, it’s often criticized for its inconsistent syntax and poor security practices. Many companies are moving away from PHP in favor of languages like Python and JavaScript.
  • ActionScript: This scripting language is primarily used with Adobe and Flash for animation. It is largely obsolete compared to HTML/CSS/JS for the same job.

But what are good ones to learn, you might think?

Here, I prepared a list of the easiest backend programming languages to learn (that are modern and pay well at the same time).

And if you are more on the creative side, check out the list of the best front-end coding languages here.

As a last resort, you can also take a 1-minute quiz and check what the most suitable tech position for you is.

Hope this list helped you avoid really dark spots in the industry that I wish no one gets into (believe me, there are really, really crappy projects).

Let me know in the comments what you think.

Happy coding!

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By Igor Jovanovic

Founder & Full Stack Tech Consultant

Experienced tech professional with a strong track record in web services and fintech. Collaborating with Silicon Valley's multi-billion tech giants and offering a range of services committed to excellence. Check the Services page for how I can help you too.

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