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Learning how to program is essential to getting technically proficient. The foundations of programming will help you understand what’s happening when problems occur. There are many configuration tools that you will have to learn to use, and knowing the language that they are written in will help you use them, and eventually allow you to extend them.

To begin, learn a language like Bash, Python, or Ruby. These are heavily used by many administration tools. Pick one at first, but to be most effective you should learn the programming fundamentals to be able to use different languages, as different projects and jobs will require features of certain languages.

My personal preference when beginning was Ruby. It is heavily object-oriented (everything is an object), has many libraries (gems), and is easy to read and write. Ruby on Rails is also a popular framework for creating web applications.
Another good language choice is Python, with Django as the RoR equivalent.

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