Computer programming is the very basis of the digital age that we live in today. Where did it all begin?

History of Programming Languages

By Justin Lestal

Ada Lovelace invents the first-ever machine algorithm for Charles Babbage’s Difference Machine, laying the foundation for all programming languages.


The more I study, the more insatiable do I feel my genius for it to be.”

~ Ada Lovelace, the first ever computer programmer

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Konrad Zuse develops the first ‘real’ programming language called Plankalkül (Plan Calculus).


Assembly language (or simply: Assembler) is used in the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC).



FORmula TRANslation or FORTRAN is created by John Backus. It's considered to be the oldest programming language in use today.

As FORTRAN was created for high-level scientific, mathematical, and statistical computations, it's still in use today in some of the world’s most advanced supercomputers.

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Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL) is created. It's still used to this day primarily for banking and gamification systems.


Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) is developed by a group of students at Dartmouth College. BASIC was developed further by Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

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PASCAL is developed by Niklaus Wirth in honor of the French mathematician Blaise Pascal. It was favored by Apple in the company’s early days, because of its ease of use and power.


"C" language is born. It's developed by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories based on an earlier language called "B".

Many of the current leading languages are derivatives of C, including: C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, and Python.

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