Should I learn Fortran 2003 or 2008 before learning Fortran 2018?

Can I learn Fortran 2018 without having any background in previous Fortran versions? Professors in most of colleges in Nigeria are ardent lover of Fortran and MATLAB. This makes it compulsory for department in Faculty of Technology undergraduates to take Fortran as first programming language, with the exception of folks with background knowledge in other languages.



@Believe yes, you can learn Fortran 2018 without having a background in older versions.

Your professors are making a good choice. Modern Fortran is a great language to learn as a first programming language. You can learn from the resources at We plan to greatly improve the tutorials and documentation there, but there should be enough resources to learn Fortran already.



Viva Nigeria! It’s great to read about the popularity of Fortran with professors in colleges there.

Re: Fortran 2018 vs previous versions, you may note the thinking now appears to be more in terms of modern Fortran as signifying versions since Fortran 90 revision or since 2003 depending on the person. And to start with ‘modern Fortran’ generally.

So you will see a lot of books use the term ‘modern Fortran’ in the title - see this link by @milancurcic, one of the founders of this site for a great new book on Fortran which you can start learning without any background in prior versions of Fortran.

There are other books also such as by Chapman; by Metcalf et al.

And you may want to keep in mind short video tutorials on YouTube in conjunction with open-source (free) development tools such as gfortran with Code::Blocks:


Thank you for your supports. I’ll promote this community amongst other Fortran enthusiasts.


Thank you @Believe, that would be awesome. We are looking for more users. Welcome!

Welcome @Believe,

the answer is YES, you should begin by the current Fortran standard. You will learn later, when needed, the “Deleted and obsolescent features” listed in the Annexe B of the Fortran 2018 standard:

Fortran 2018 Standard Interpretation Document J3/18-007r1 F2018, specification of the base Fortran 2018 language

This link is listed on the page.