Which Programming Languages Are the Most Difficult to Learn?

Picking up a programming language can be a fun experience. Plus, it’s beneficial in the long run, especially if you are thinking about making a career out of it. Everything runs on computers and programs in today’s digital world. Therefore, even if you do not end up with a product that makes a fortune, you might result in a program that will solve some everyday problems you are facing.

5 of the Most Challenging Languages to Pick Up

You’ve probably heard of Java, C, or even Pascal. These are all basic languages that are taught in schools and colleges. However, if you’re looking for a challenge, you might want to try learning the ones listed below.


Developers say that C++ is one of the most complicated programming languages to pick up compared to Python and Java. This is thanks to its advanced syntax and because it supports both object-oriented and aspect-oriented programming. With that being said, C++ developers will find learning other languages like Java, C#, Python, or Go easier.

Throughout the years, C++ has gone through drastic changes which enable programmers to write code very efficiently. If you’re thinking about adding this language to your repertoire, don’t worry about mastering C first. Feel free to jump right in!


To understand why Haskell is difficult, you’ll first have to know the difference between imperative (or procedural) and functional programming. The former has an easy flow to it and more or less coincides with the way people think, while the latter, which is the type of language Haskell is, follows a strict mathematical rule.

Haskell also has its own syntax, which differs from other popular languages which have C as their foundation. It finds its roots in the unfamiliar System F. Learners will also face a steep learning curve when it comes to compilation and debugging.


Prolog is a declarative programming language. Simply put, this means that we are telling the machine what problem needs solving. Perhaps this makes it harder to learn than other procedural languages like Java and Pascal.

Among the first logic programming languages, Prolog is popular in artificial intelligence and natural language processing applications. It’s difficult to master as the programmer has to think about the logic first and foremost. However, it is a simple, elegant, and powerful language, despite being challenging for those who are more familiar with low-level programming.


Malbolge differs from the rest of the languages in this list because it’s an esolang (esoteric programming language). Programmers do not use esolangs to write software. Instead, esolangs test boundaries and act as art or proof of concepts. Examples of esolangs are Cow and INTERCAL.

Malbolge is tough, true to its namesake, the eighth circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno. It employs an obscure notation and is self-modifying. Because of limited learning resources, this language isn’t very well-known, making it almost impossible for people to learn, whether they’re novices or experts.


Have you heard of FORTRAN? That’s the first programming language ever created. The second oldest is LISP, and it’s actively used today in higher-level systems as well as artificial intelligence. Developers find it difficult because of its fragmented features and syntax. If you want to be good at LISP, you’ll have to get used to the parentheses.

Master the Basics

Regardless of what you’re trying to learn, whether it’s how to cook, garden, sew, or program, it’s crucial to master the basics. Programming is all about changing the way you think and solve problems. Once you understand the concepts of loops, conditions, functions, and data types, you’ll find it easier to learn any language out there.

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