What is the Hardest Coding Language?

  • 11 mins read

What is the Hardest Coding Language?

Thankfully, computers are still largely reliant on humans to do just about anything. We are not quite so far removed as to relate to robot sci-fi films where robots have complete control.

Any computer system that you use daily was, at one point, coded by a real human.

A real human spent years learning at least one coding language, practicing that language extensively, ensuring that they could create the perfect computer systems for you.

All of the prominent coding languages are complex and, at times, difficult in their own way.

Some, however, are easier to manage and use than others.

When you’re just getting started, it’s tempting to begin learning the easiest coding language right off the bat. Conversely, there are multiple benefits to challenging yourself as a web developer by learning harder coding languages.

Things That Contribute to a Coding Language’s Difficulty Level

The criteria that determines whether a coding language is “easy” or “hard” is:

  • The availability of free or affordable resources to learn the language, whether online from home or with a university/college program
  • Frequency of the coding language’s rules and updates
  • Whether or not the language can be used with other languages
  • Whether or not the language has a community of developers to connect with while you learn
  • Readability

What is the Easiest Coding Language to Learn?

It’s impossible to figure out what is the hardest coding language without first looking at the easiest languages.

These are the starting point for most developers and programmers, but many successful professionals stick with them for the duration of their career.

While simple, these coding languages provide the building blocks necessary to create products that exceed client expectations.

HTML

HTML is often a new web developer’s ground zero. It’s the most recognizable coding language; even people with zero coding experience or interest in becoming a web developer will know what you’re talking about when you refer to “HTML.”

It’s also the oldest coding language. After its development in 1993, HTML quickly revolutionized the general, overall user experience online.

For the first time, the internet was available for everyday people to use.

We began to see computers with internet connectivity (through dialup–remember that?) show up in public libraries, schools, and workplaces with alarming frequency.

The creation of HTML is what lead to the hefty screentimes the average American knows today.

Even today, some of the most popular and important websites in the world were created with an HTML base.

It’s an incredibly readable language; if you open your menu on Google Chrome, click “More Tools,” and open “Developer Tools,” you can view the code of the website you have open. 

Even a basic understanding of HTML can give you a lot of information about the website you’re viewing with this “Developer Tool.”

JavaScript

While HTML is the easiest coding language to learn, JavaScript is a close second. 

It was developed just two years after HTML, first seeing the light of day in 1995.

JavaScript is a robust coding language that uses classes and objects to make things happen within a website.

The age of both JavaScript and HTML have proven that simple coding languages are still extremely beneficial for web developers.

HTML was very “bare bones” in its early stages. The user experience was easy but a bit dull.

JavaScript changed the online environment by implementing more aesthetically pleasing layouts and intriguing graphics for users. This evolution after HTML paved the way for more difficult coding languages to be developed in the future.

There are massive communities of developers who love JavaScript, making it a favorite for developers of all skill-levels to learn.

Ruby

Ruby is equally convenient and productive, making it one of the most popular coding languages in the world.

All four of the languages we’ve categorized as the “easiest to learn” are taught at the collegiate level, including Ruby.

Its syntax parallels Python’s nicely, making it a good fit to learn in tandem. Plus, its syntax offers versatile code structures, making it an effective coding language for fast-learning.

Web developers love using Ruby to create their websites. It is also becoming increasingly popular among AI developers because of its seamless usability. 

Even though Ruby’s syntax is notoriously simple and easy to learn, it is still a versatile coding language. There is a massive community of developers who use Ruby; these resources are invaluable for developers, making it possible to learn a coding language quickly and easily.

Python

HTML and JavaScript are well-known as ideal first coding languages for a beginner to learn. However, Python follows shortly behind the both of them.

As an object-oriented language, Python has withstood the test of time by providing exceptional user readability. Its syntax, based on common English words, is one of the easiest coding languages to read of them all.

The simple code design is optimal for cross-platform compatibility, allowing it to outlast programming updates over decades of technological advancements.

In modern contexts, Python has become increasingly popular with the development and expansion of AI programs.

Many new developers and programmers are entering the field with AI in mind.

Python’s functionality makes it possible for all kinds of developers and AI programmers to take advantage of the language for their next big idea.

What is the Hardest Coding Language To Learn?

While it is recommended to at least learn HTML basics before diving into more complex coding languages, it is not necessary.

Today’s online climate provides plenty of tools and resources for new developers. 

Even if you scrolled to the very bottom of our list, and picked the absolute most difficult coding language to learn first, you could have a long, lucrative career. 

Your mastery of any coding language is dependent on how much effort you put forth in learning it.

C++

C++ is an incredibly powerful coding language that is enticing for new developers to learn.

Most new developers know that C++ is exciting, powerful, and innovative. It’s no secret why they are emboldened to try it on for size, even with little to no coding experience.

However, there is a striking learning curve with C++.

C++’s syntax is more complex than other beginner-friendly languages like HTML, or even Python. It doesn’t perform intuitively, ensuring that developers must do more to achieve their desired results.

There are also unique bugs and errors that are exclusive to C++. A beginner would have a tough time navigating and troubleshooting these obstacles. It wouldn’t be an impossible task, but starting off with C++ might be daunting.

If you’re looking to learn a coding language that can be rewarding over time, after lots of practice, then C++ is for you.

If you’re looking to learn a coding language quickly, seek other options.

Haskell

Named after legendary mathematician Haskell Curry, this coding language is one of the hardest to learn out of them all. 

On the plus side, Haskell is incredibly readable. It syntax is one of the easier elements of the language to learn.

Plus, it is only updated when necessary, so there aren’t too many changes to keep up with over time.

Haskell is a pure and lazy coding language. While consistent and reliable, new web developers may struggle to learn the language because of its complex abstractions.

Additionally, there are fewer resources available to learn Haskell for free online. Other languages on our list are featured on websites like Udemy, but Haskell is more prominently learned via books, video tutorials, and traditional college courses.

Regardless of its intensive difficulty level, Haskell is great if you plan to use frameworks Yesod and/or Servant.

Developers and programmers who create high-quality software love using Haskell even though it is very difficult to learn.

Prolog

Imagine talking to virtual customer support for the very first time. You know very little about the mechanisms of the chat feature you’re using, but you know that instant responses are expected.

And, you’re expecting these instant responses to be relevant to the issue at hand.

So, you place an inquiry, and you’re in a conversation with a woman named ELIZA.

ELIZA is friendly, professional, poised–and, most importantly, knowledgable.

She seems to know everything there is to know about the question you have, with only seconds in between messages.

Because ELIZA’s responses were scripted.

Still, ELIZA’s technology was some of the first commercial, efficient AI programming that really took off. And, ELIZA was programmed using Prolog.

It may look like a simple coding language on its surface, but it is covertly complicated for beginners because of its unconventionality. 

You can’t take shortcuts with Prolog. Errors are common among beginners because they are used to other languages where you may be able to utilize copy/paste in some situations.

With Prolog, you must be willing to dedicate the time, energy, and effort to becoming proficient in the language if you want to use it professionally.

Malbolge 

Without a doubt, Malbolge is as hard to learn as it is to pronounce. Seriously.

It took an entire two years to finish the first program created with Malbolge.

Consequently, Malbolge is also one of the oldest coding languages out there. Established in 1998, one might expect Malbolge to have the same popularity as, say, HTML or even Python.

However, it is so complicated that legend states that founder Ben Olmstead didn’t ever write any programs with his own language.

The program was deliberately created to be difficult.

Why? 


Who knows!

Programmers like to have a little fun sometimes–it appears that Malbolge was the product of one of those “what if?” moments that everyone has occasionally.

Programmers also love challenges. Malbolge was, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges a programmer could give themselves.

Nobody really uses Malbolge, except maybe self-masochists. Even so, it really only exists to be a complex puzzle that never gets completed.

Still, Malbolge is so mind-boggling that curious programmers and developers research it to this very day. If you’d like what is probably the greatest challenge you could give yourself in your career in computers, try Malbolge.

It would be a neat party trick.

What is the Hardest Coding Language: FAQs Section

Is C++ or Java harder to learn?

Java is much easier to learn than C++. In fact, some aspiring developers start off learning the basics of Java and then work their way up to C++. You could, theoretically, choose C++ as your first coding language. However, it is so complicated that you would probably grow frustrated more quickly than if you started with Java.

Is C++ used anymore?

Yes! C++ remains one of the most reliable coding languages in the industry. Many high-profile companies still use C++ to code their programs. Since C++ has been around for so long, resources for learning the languages are highly accessible. It is likely that C++ will be around forever; or, at least, for the foreseeable future.

What coding languages are taught in college?

The coding languages taught in college-level courses will vary by institution. Typically, you can expect to learn HTML, C, C++, Java, JavaScript, and Python as the basics. Sometimes, you can learn Ruby, Objective C, and PHP. Again, the material taught varies by institution. Check with your computer science department before selecting your classes based on the coding language you want to learn.

What is the fastest coding language to learn?

The time it takes to learn a coding language depends on the time and dedication you put into learning the language. While HTML is known as the easiest coding language to learn, it can still take much longer if little effort is placed into learning. On average, it takes a new web developer a month to grasp the basics of HTML and up to a year or more to get the hang of advanced concepts like web development frameworks.

Does anyone actually use Malbolge?

Not really. Malbolge is so complicated that it was not even used by its creator to make any programs. Plus, it took someone two years to write anything with Malbolge. This coding language is the hardest to learn in the world. It’s possible that some coders use Malbolge to show off, but it is not really used in professional settings.

Final Thoughts: What is the Hardest Coding Language?

So, there you have it. From HTML and JavaScript as easier languages for a beginner to learn, to some of the most difficult languages like C++ and Haskell. Even still, not everyone’s journey is the same, and you might have an easier time with one of the harder languages, and vice versa. 

What coding languages do you find most difficult, and why? Let us know in the comments!