The programming languages we teach (and why)

Most programming languages have similar concepts such as variables, loops, conditionals, functions, and data structures. Once you understand the fundamentals, you can use them to learn other languages. In our coding bootcamps, we believe that as you learn multiple languages, you develop a deeper understanding of programming as a discipline, which directly correlates to success in your career.

“At a certain point, all students are able to see past syntactical differences in language choice and have a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms of how their code works. This is a key ability of software engineers who thrive in their careers,” said Zubair Desai, Intermediate Coding Bootcamp Instructor. “Our emphasis on this ability and other software engineering skills in all of our programs enables our students to quickly pick up new languages long after they’re with us, and demonstrate a great deal of value to employers.”

As you’re considering coding bootcamps as a possible path forward, you may wonder: which programming languages are best to learn first? And why does Galvanize focus on different languages in its different programs?

In this post, we’ll answer these questions with the help of Zubair and two other bootcamp instructors. They’ll help explain why we emphasize JavaScript in our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp, Python in our Beginner Full-Time Coding Bootcamp, and TypeScript in our new Beginner Part-Time Coding Bootcamp.

First, we focus on learning how to learn

No matter the coding bootcamp you choose, learning the fundamentals of programming is key to your short- and long-term success.

“I think the most critical thing is to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of programming. These fundamentals are the same, no matter which language you choose,” said Kaitlin Cort, Beginner Coding Bootcamp Managing Lead Instructor.

We begin all courses by prioritizing learning how to learn, which includes learning how to approach new languages, tools, and projects with an open mind, patience, and willingness to adapt your knowledge. With experience and practice, the process of learning a new programming language, in particular, becomes more comfortable, which adds versatility and adaptability to your overall toolkit.

For graduate Andy Lei, this learned approach has carried over into his career as a Jr. Backend Engineer at Deliverr.

“There is something rewarding and addictive about overcoming obstacles and the growth that comes with it,” he said. ‘I am given a task where sometimes I don’t even know where to start. I figure out what I need to figure out. I come up with a plan and execute it. Sometimes it works, but oftentimes I am completely off. I repeat this process, and with each iteration, I learn more and become better at what I do.”

Learning how to learn (including how to fail and persevere) is an important building block toward sustainable mental models that enable you to learn multiple languages during the bootcamp and as your career progresses.

A breakdown of the programming languages we teach

Since we are outcomes-focused, we train and prepare our students for the job market. Each of our coding bootcamps has the same goal: to help graduates land their first software engineering job and thrive in it.

We prepare them in a variety of ways, including carefully designed curricula. In each of our coding bootcamps, students learn the top three programming languages according to the 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey: JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and SQL In our Beginner Coding Bootcamp, we supplement this with also teaching Python.

Here’s a breakdown of the primary programming languages that we teach in each bootcamp:

Intermediate Coding Bootcamp – JavaScript

Developers use JavaScript for web development, including web-based applications and browsers. It’s used in software, servers, and embedded hardware controls. According to the Stack Overflow survey mentioned above, this is the 10th year in a row that JavaScript has been the most-used language across the software engineering profession.

“JavaScript is extremely versatile. These days you’ll find it powering all sorts of applications, production servers, and devices,” said Zubair. “It has been the most listed language by employers hiring software engineers for quite some time. Moreover, we teach it in such a way that students are able to rapidly pick up new languages.”

We teach this popular language in all of our programs, but in this fast-paced intermediate program, students build on their existing knowledge and skills to take their JavaScript programming to the next level, on both the front and back end.

According to Zubair, “When it comes to different languages taught in our programs, it really comes down to learning efficiency. The tech stacks (or combination of technologies) we choose are appropriate for the amount of time available to the students, and where they are in their learning journey in order to bring maximum value to each lesson,” he said. “In this shorter 12-week course, concepts like Object Oriented Programming and code execution are taught with JavaScript. Since students are already familiar with the language, it’s more efficient to teach those important lessons with JavaScript.”

Our intermediate program enables students to enhance their coding skills, reinforced by pair programming and projects that build a job-ready, full-stack portfolio that clearly demonstrates your skills and capabilities.

Read more about the popular uses of JavaScript.

Beginner Full-Time Coding Bootcamp – Python

With a user-friendly syntax and a variety of applicable use cases, Python has become one of the most popular programming languages for both new coders and experienced engineers.

“Python has continued to grow in popularity as a general-purpose language and is applicable to many other software engineering domains outside of web development,” said Daniel Billotte, Beginner Coding Bootcamp Instructor. These domains include data science and machine learning, DevOps and systems engineering, 2D and 3D graphics and games, and more.

Daniel also noted that Python’s indentation-based block structure (vs. the curly braces in most other languages), forces students and all users of the language to write clean and easy-to-read code. This helps the coders themselves, as well as project collaborators.

“We don’t just write code that needs to be understandable to the compiler; it needs to be understandable by the humans who come after us, which is often ourselves 6-12 months later,” he said.

Additionally, the Python ecosystem is huge, including libraries and frameworks that make it a popular choice for starting a new project. This includes a robust Python community, which can be an invaluable resource that can help you achieve a long-lasting and meaningful career in software engineering.

“There are already mature libraries and frameworks for almost anything a person could imagine,” added Daniel.

Read more about the versatility of Python here.

No matter the Galvanize Coding Bootcamp, you’ll be job-ready

Every programming language you learn is of value. Having the ability to compare and contrast how to solve problems using different languages readies you with the mental models for later on in your career when you’ll need to pick up other languages on the job, like Java or C#.

“Employers are looking for folks with modern knowledge of software engineering technologies — it’s not as important to know a specific tech stack or coding language. They are looking for someone with a fundamental understanding of how software engineers build tools. Do you know what you’re doing here? Do you understand how this works? Then you can get caught up to speed on the specifics of their company,” said Crew Spence, Galvanize Director of Career Services, in a recent interview with Course Report.

He went on to explain that companies typically choose one or more tech stacks to power their operations. It’s useful to have the skills to code and work with whatever tech stack your employer chooses – which is why we teach the most popular languages, or ones showing sustained growth – but it’s just as important to be able to learn new tools and languages efficiently while on the job.

“Being able to learn information quickly is another major asset of Hack Reactor grads,” added Crew.

No matter which program you choose, you’ll graduate well-prepared for your first software engineering role and you’ll be ready to continue learning throughout your new and exciting career.


Discover what you’ll learn in our Hack Reactor Coding Bootcamps. Explore the curriculum of each program, including coding languages and more.

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