Which programming language should you learn? Python, PHP or Ruby?

Possibly the biggest question facing web development newbies is which language is best to learn for their future career and prospects. There are many programming languages to choose from and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Possibly the most important concern is how long each language takes to learn and this varies for each language. So which should be learned for the best chance at a successful career in programming?

When I started to learn web development, I searched a lot about it but it made me incredibly confused. I could not find a definitive answer on which language was the best because different authors gave different perspectives. Most authors were just comparing the languages without giving an overall conclusion.

Therefore, in this article I am going to compare three modern programming languages - PHP, Python and Ruby by answering following questions:

  • Which language is the most secure?
  • What are other limitations of these languages?
  • What are the advantages and other supports for these languages?
  • What is the job/developer ratio and average salaries for developers?

Which language is the most secure?

The security of the website/application depends primarily on the programmer not on the programming language. PHP is well known as an unsecured language. This is because the syntax of PHP is not as simple as the syntax of Python or Ruby. Due to complicated syntax (low readability) the chances of an error occurring is greater. If a programmer/developer does not make any errors, then PHP is also not an unsecured language, and indeed PHP after version 5 has a good reputation compared to older versions. As a result, there is not really a solid conclusion to be drawn from the question of security.

What are the limitations of these languages?


  • A more verbose syntax from C/C++ and Perl, with lots curly braces and dollar signs and "->"-s
  • Confused tableau of function names. The built-in library has a wide variety of naming conventions. Functions often have prefixes to denote their source (but often not). Functions are often placed into classes to simulate namespaces.
  • Not suitable for large applications: Hard to maintain since it is not very modular.
  • Weak type: Implicit conversion may surprise unwary programmers and lead to unexpected bugs. For example, the strings “1000” and “1e3” compare equal because they are implicitly cast to floating-point numbers.
  • Mainly scripting language, not a true object-oriented.


  • Python has no 'switch' statement and 'do ... while' construct
  • No increment and decrement and assignment operators
  • No ternary operator/statement (... ? ... : ...)
  • No private, protected and public modifiers for both properties and methods
  • No abstract and final modifiers for both classes and methods


  • Learning it can be difficult
  • Lacks informational resources
  • Slower processing time (CPU time) compared to other programming languages
  • Development and updates are slower

What are the advantages and other supports for these languages?


  • Easy for beginners to pick up. Easy to learn for developers coming from the similar syntax background like C, C++,C# , Java, Javascript, etc.
  • It supports all major web servers like Apache, Microsoft IIS, Netscape, personal webserver, iPlanet server, etc.
  • PHP is highly accepted by many industries. It is more popular than other languages.
  • During hosting, it is very easy to host PHP websites directly with no server configuration. Hosting websites may be a headache for newbies to web hosting.
  • The Laravel framework in php is the most well known. The frameworks like Yii, Zend, Codeigniter etc. have given a good strength to PHP.
  • Easy to develop any CMS quickly. MVC frameworks are also available.


  • Easy syntax and very readable. Easy to learn for those who have little or no experience with programming.
  • General purpose language.
  • Very object oriented.
  • Python is much better suited as a "glue".
  • Huge standard library. Just to pick some random examples, Python ships with several XML parsers, csv & zip file readers & writers, libraries for using pretty much every internet protocol and data type, etc.
  • High-level data structures are list, directory are well suited in python.
  • Great frameworks for web development like Django and Flask.


  • Ruby is a more object-oriented language compared to python and php.
  • Ruby was developed to make a developer's work easy.
  • Mix-ins allow imported classes and modules to be extended and overridden by user code after it is imported. Classes are never closed on ruby. You can also modify later.
  • Ruby code blocks are more powerful than Python's lambdas.
  • Everything returns a value (including things like 'if' statements). Because of this, it is easier to write functional-like code than in python and much easier to chain commands.
  • Gem libraries of Ruby. Plenty of gems make every task easy within a few efforts.
  • The power of ruby in web development is rails framework. It is very magical. You need not to be worried about basic functionality of web development like simple edit or deletes. You can focus more on the other complex algorithms.
  • Ruby believes in giving programmers the freedom and power.

What is the developers / jobs ratio and average salary?

This is a very subjective question and will not have a simple general answer. The number of both jobs and developers is greater in PHP, which results in a lower salary for most of the developers. However, this does not mean that the salaries of all developers and programmers are low and many developers are also getting a high salary. There are pretty good job opportunities for python and ruby programmers too. If you are good in machine learning and artificial intelligence, then you will not have to worry about the numbers. You will surely have a high salary job.

Overall conclusion:

Let's summarize all in short:

  • PHP and PYTHON are easy to learn for beginners. In general Ruby is also easy to learn but if you are learning it for Ruby on rails, then you will face some difficulty in an early phase.
  • Currently, if you are looking for web development, then PHP is the most secure for a job followed by Python. In general, Python provides a variety of high-paid jobs.
  • Python is best as a general purpose language.
  • Frameworks of Python (Django) and Ruby (Ruby on Rails) are preferred more than other frameworks for web development.

You can choose any of them. If you are looking for a big goal, then Python is best as it is not only easy to learn but is also general purpose and has a lot of dominant features like data structure. But all programming languages have their own scopes just like players in any game.

Furthur Readings:

  1. Django vs Laravel vs Ruby on rails
  2. Laravel Tutorials
  3. Learn building CMS from scratch with todo list demo in PHP and MySQL
  4. Simple blog application in laravel 7

Programming tutorials:

  1. Step by step php tutorials
  2. Step by step python tutorials
  3. Step by step Ruby tutorials
  4. Step by step Java Tutorials

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About Harish Kumar

Harish, a fullstack developer at with five year experience in full stack web and mobile development, spends most of his time on coding, reading, analysing and curiously following businesses environments. He is a non-graduate alumni from IIT Roorkee, Computer Science and frequently writes on both technical and non-technical topics.

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