What was your first programming language?

Saw this question over on Slashdot and thought it would be an interesting discussion to have here. What was your first programming language? How about first at school, or at work?

My first language was Commodore Basic on a C-64. Self-taught, that one, via the manual and magazines like Commodore Power/Play.

In school, my introductory CS course used Pascal. That was in the mid-90s, and my class was one of the last to use it. A couple of years after I took it they ditched Pascal and switched to using Java.

At work, my first assignments used LotusScript to create and modify Lotus Notes applications. I’m stretching the definition of “programming language” there, I suppose, since a lot of the work was playing around with UI elements, with only a fairly small amount of scripting behind the scenes. I did very little else for the first couple of years of my consulting career, though.

First for me was also C64 basic, self-taught. After that, years later, SQL and Visual Basic. Then I got really into generative art and learned a ton of Processing, picking up some regular Java along the way. Following that: Ruby (on Rails), HTML/JavaScript, Obj-C, C++ (through openFrameworks), Python, C#, and Swift. I spend most time in Python and HTML/JavaScript with a lot of SQL thrown in.

I fondly remember the early days of entering Basic programs into the C64 from various magazines.

I attended high school back in the late 70’s. My school offered two programming courses. One was called “Data Processing”, and the “Computer Science” (or something like that as my memory for those details are a bit hazy).

The data processing course was the first computer programming I had ever done. We used a language called SPL (Student Programming Language) which apparently was derived as an extremely simplified offshoot from PL/1. The follow on course in the next year used PL/C which was a version of PL/1 used for teaching developed at Cornell for teaching.

The computer science course was taught with WATFOR, a version of Fortran from the University of Waterloo.

I took to programming like a duck takes to water. My first professional language was PL/1, but the bulk of my professional programming work was done in COBOL.

Mine was Basic on the Sinclair Spectrum, self-taught when I was 12 or 13 or so from the instruction manual and magazines of the era. Had a couple of little games published in magazines too.

At high school we touched a bit of dBase (I think), which of course meant I mucked around making an adventure game in it…

After that it was AMOS, followed by Blitz Basic on the Amiga, which ended up getting me some commercial work using Blitz on CD32s connected to touchscreens playing back mpegs.

I never actually got into professional programming work beyond that, instead drifted into the art side of game dev. These days I do a bit of VBA and C# but nothing too taxing. :)

Apple Basic for me, on an old Apple II+. Just messed around with a few small text adventure games. In the early 90’s I was taught Pascal in high school, but my first professional programming was Visual Basic, followed very shortly by C#. All of that has fallen by the wayside in favor of my true love, JavaScript.

Sinclair BASIC. I never really progressed beyond typing things in out of magazines. They inevitably had typos but I could never figure out how to fix them. My computer science degree threw some weird stuff at me that I forget the name of, and we dabbled in Java which is what I ended up using to write my final year project but it was a bit of a disaster. I do not enjoy programming.

The first language I ever did anything serious in was PennMUSH’s lisp-like functional scripting language. That was at OtherSpace, way back in high school. I’ve gotten a little less esoteric since then.

I also typed in basic programs without bothering to learn what the code meant.

First language that I actually understood was cobol.

Basic on a TRS-80 and Apple II clone (one at school, one at home) with a side step into Pascal from a summer class. Nothing ever came of any of it. Years later when I needed and wanted to program some things while I was in grad school I taught myself Python.

I’m old so:

Like many, I self-taught BASIC in the late 70’s. In my case it was on my step-dad’s TRS-80 Model 1. Amazing how insanely expensive early computers were in today’s dollars.

My first proper school-taught language was FORTRAN, then later C.

That said I was never a programmer by trade and I’m only a dilettante. It’s useful to be able to make sense of code and scripts here / there, but that’s about it.


Apple Basic I guess. Pascal after that.

Atari Basic (at home, taught by Dad), then Logo in elementary school (mid-80s), Pascal in high school, C and Fortran 90 in college.

Never been a professional programmer, but I use R a lot these days for ecological simulations. I’m surprised Logo hasn’t made anyone else’s list.

Some sort of BASIC in middle school. Have no idea what variant. Java in high school.

Oh also can’t forget whatever bastard thing was on the TI-83

Commodore Basic (aka PET Basic). Peek and poke forever!

BASIC on a TRS-80, in 1979 or so, the summer before 6th grade. I remember laboriously typing in a program called “Fire When Ready, Gridley!” that was frankly anticlimactic, but at least it ran.

Then whatever WordPerfect 5.1’s macro scripting language was. I could actually do things with that!

LOGO! The turtle! I haven’t thought about this in forever.

TRS-80 Color BASIC was my first. Just out of interest, really. Then many years later I learned Pascal at college, and then C/C++, and then a few dozen different languages, most of them self-taught. :)

Today I program in Python and Elm most of the time (with a bit of pure Javascript whenever needed), but I hope to dedicate some time to Elixir and Rust soon enough.

Apple Basic, then Pascal in highschool for AP comp sci. Those two languages taught me that program was boring and terrible. Perl revised my opinion a few years later (a quick fun expressive language which I loved at the time, and now realize is a detriment for serious work), which then got me into Java and later R/python.

HP 65 we actually made a decent star trek vs klingon space game with our HP calculators in high school.
a little 8080 Assembly
Pascal, in college followed by Apple Basic once I got an Apple II in 1978, were my first serious programming languages.

I remember liking Perl, until I had to make deep changes to some code I had written 6-8 months earlier.

I ended up rewriting the whole thing in Python and never looked back. Write-only language indeed. ;)