Python and Java are two of the most popular programming languages today. They’re great for beginners since they’re easier to learn than other programming languages. However, if you’re just starting out with programming, you may want to consider a few factors before choosing whether to learn Python vs. Java. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two languages to know which one is better suited for your needs.
What Is Python?
Python is a general-purpose programming language designed for a variety of applications. It features object-oriented programming, which means it organizes software design around objects rather than procedures.
Python is also one of the most popular programming languages in the world. Some of the common applications of Python include web development, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics, scientific computing, and more. It’s also an open-source language, so anyone can contribute their time and knowledge to improve the language and its community.
Advantages of Learning Python
Since Python has a lot of applications, developers around the world choose to learn this language first. If you’re considering learning how to code in Python, here are some of the language’s benefits and advantages.
- Easy to Learn
Python is one of the easiest programming languages to pick up and understand. The syntax used in Python is simple, so even those without a technical background will quickly grasp its basics. In addition, Python is dynamically typed, which means less clutter in your code.
- Platform-Independent and Flexible
Python is not tied to any specific platform such as Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X. You can run programs written in Python on these platforms using an interpreter. Because of this flexibility, you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues when developing applications for different platforms.
- Powerful Libraries
One of the best advantages of learning Python is its library. There are thousands of libraries available for Python, each with its own unique set of tools and functionality. Some of the best-known libraries include NumPy, SciPy, Pandas, TensorFlow, etc. These libraries make building custom solutions easier. They also speed up development by providing ready-made modules and tools you can import into your projects.
What Is Java?
Java is a programming language developed by Sun Microsystems in 1991. It’s one of the oldest object-oriented programming languages today, but it’s still popular among developers.
As with Python, Java is a general-purpose programming language meant for many applications. Since Java’s creation, it has grown into a robust programming language suitable for various uses, including mobile app development, numerical computing, desktop apps, games, and more.
Advantages of Using Java
Java has similar advantages to Python, but some key differences exist between the two programming languages. Here are some of the advantages of learning Java.
- Cross-Platform Support
Like Python, Java is an open-source programming language that works across all major operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS. As long as it’s executed by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), you can run Java programs anywhere. Java’s cross-platform support makes it flexible and easy to work with.
- Fast Performance
Java compiles your program before running it. This allows programmers to test new ideas quickly, which helps them avoid wasting time. Since Java is a compiled language, it’s usually faster than Python, especially if the program contains complex algorithms or data structures.
- Strong Security Features
Java has built-in security measures designed to protect against hacking attacks and malware. This programming language has advanced authentication and access controls that prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information. So if you need an application that requires strong security features, then Java is a great choice.
Which one should I learn Python vs. Java?
Before deciding whether to learn Java or Python first, you must consider a few factors. Since both languages have different features and applications, consider how you plan to use them. Let’s look at some factors that will help you decide what language to choose to learn.
- Preferred Projects
When it comes to choosing a programming language to learn, the best way is to start with something that interests you. Consider what kind of projects you’d like to work on in the future. If you already know what type of applications you want to build, you’ll want to choose a programming language accordingly.
For instance, Python is more suitable for programmers who want to develop data science and machine learning applications. On the other hand, Java would be better suited for game and mobile app development.
- Dream Organizations
Another factor you need to consider when choosing a programming language is where you want to work. While this doesn’t apply to all developers (some may want to work as independent contractors or launch startups), it’s still important to think about certain career goals.
Python developers may find more opportunities at IBM, Facebook, and Google, while Java developers could find jobs at Microsoft and Airbnb. However, take note that many companies and organizations utilize both Python and Java for their projects. In addition, they often hire developers with experience working in both languages.
- Popularity and Future Applications
One of the biggest reasons people choose one language over another is its popularity. Remember that if a programming language is popular right now, it offers better community support and more job opportunities.
While Python is growing in popularity, Java is still considered one of the most widely used programming languages in the world. Python is also expected to grow in popularity due to its versatility and ease of coding, but several developments are happening in Java that could make it even more powerful.
- Learning Style and Skill Level
Finally, your learning style and skill level also matter when choosing a programming language to learn. In most cases, beginner programmers will find it easier to pick up Python than Java. Python has a simpler syntax, making it easier to grasp. However, if you already have experience programming in other languages, learning Java can be easier.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, choosing whether to learn Java or Python first depends on your preferences. There are plenty of benefits to both languages, and you’ll likely find yourself using them in multiple situations. To help with your decision, you may consider the opportunities and projects associated with each programming language as well.