The question was, "What are some goals a beginning programmer should have?"
I’d have to disagree with those who answered, “Pick a language.” Instead, I’d say, “Pick at least two languages.”
I agree that you should avoid the “holy war” about which language is “better,” but the way to do this is to train yourself to be multi-lingual, or at least bilingual.
Pick two languages that are as different as possible, and do all your practice programs in both languages. Then take some time to figure out how each language has influenced your thinking about the program.
We’ve used this method for several generations of beginning programmers with remarkable results. One of our goals was to train programmers who could move into a new job where they used a language the programmer had never seen before.
Within two weeks, the programmer would be able to match the shop’s average.
Within four weeks, the programmer would be the best in the shop.
And within six weeks, the programmer would be teaching the others how to be better programmers.
Quite simply, our students achieved these ambitious goals, thus giving themselves a terrific advantage in the job market, with prosperous future careers.