I am fed up with my current sales job and am looking at getting into the programming arena. I feel that I have the basic computer and intellectual skills necessary to be successful in the industry. However, I would like some advice on what language I should learn first. I intend on teaching myself with the help of this online forum and text books. I have discovered that I need to obtain a compiler. It seems as though this is a free piece of software I can get on the internet. Any suggestions on where I should get this? Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance to those of you that respond.

The language is optional, but the more popular ones are C/C++, or some .NET language such a C# or Visual Basic. Getting into programming isn't too difficult so long as you spend a good amount of time and put in some effort.

>It seems as though this is a free piece of software I can get on the internet
Pretty much, but it helps to pay for a good IDE, though it isn't really required.

>I intend on teaching myself with the help of this online forum and text books
Then take your language pick, and get going :]

Do you have any suggestions on where I can get a good, free compiler?

One of the best (if not the best) free IDE and compiler you will find is Visual Studio Express.
[link]

If it were me, I would choose C++ because I find it the most useful and enjoyable, but the choice is all yours.

Hope this helps.

That is very helpful information. I will pursue this route. Thanks!

go with visual c# and learn some database management, then you will make very good money. get some microsoft certifications too, like MCDBA or MCPD

One "language" that always seems to get missed out when someone asks which language they should learn is SQL which is needed regardless of which development environment a programmer finds himself in. Someone who is skilled in SQL can be useful in any instance where a database development is required whether it is from C#, PHP, C++, Delphi, Perl, Python.

get some microsoft certifications too, like MCDBA

DBA isn't exactly programming-based.

Getting certifications like that is unnecessary unless the specific job you are going for requires it - and if it does it likely requires a degree in computer science or similar anyway.

Do a bit of research, the primary programming concepts are langauge independent anyway, then you can move on to actually implementing them and I would suggest starting without an IDE, that can be a bit overwhelming. Best to install the Visual <insert language here> and compile from the Visual Studio Command Prompt, it will give you a MUCH better idea of what is happening.

Okay, as you are here on C++ forum, you would get C++ as the favorite language here.
If you are starting to program, the single most language that you should learn is Python.
I have listed the major power of "Why Python for Beginners" on StackOverflow recently :http://stackoverflow.com/questions/990157/what-is-a-good-programming-language-for-beginners/990246#990246
have a look here and then decide.
C++ is a good language. It will take a long time to master it until you become sufficiently productive. Python will boost your productivity like anything.
Here is a funny cartoon which I like very much :
[img]http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/python.png[/img]

So, my advice is to drop c++ for now and start with Python.

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