Python and Java are two of the most popular programming languages. While Java is usually faster, Python is more straightforward and has a more compact syntax. As a result, Python can fulfill most of the same functions as Java but in less code.
But is Python better than Java? Read the full Python vs. Java review to find out.
- Java Overview
- Python Overview
- Java vs. Python Key Differences
- The Final Decision
Java is one of the most popular and commonly used programming languages. In addition, it’s a clear winner in terms of speed. The two main reasons for Java’s popularity are the ease of learning and the independence of its platform.
What Is Java?
Java has been around as a programming platform and language since 1995. Since then, it has become one of the most in-demand languages for coding professionals, such as web developers.
This is a general-purpose language, meaning it can be used to build software in a wide range of domains. Java doesn’t have specialized features for specific application domains.
Java is an object-oriented language that revolves around objects and data instead of logic or functions. It’s also a compiled language, unlike Python. In short, Java’s language gets converted into machine code for the processor to execute.
For interpreted languages like Python, the implementations execute instructions directly, and the program isn’t compiled into machine code. The processor can execute much faster and more efficiently when programming with Java. This gives the programmer added control over CPU usage and similar hardware aspects. C, C++, Go, Rust, and Haskell are some other examples of compiled languages.
Where Is Java Used?
Java is mostly used in big data, web development, and Android app development. In recent years, it has become a popular programming choice for the Internet of Things and cloud development as well.
Web applications on an enterprise level as well as microservices can also be made using Java.
In general, Java is used by more advanced programmers. It is also a good option for machine learning. The debugging is relatively easy, and many e-commerce businesses, accounting software programs, and banking applications already rely on it for machine learning.
Many organizations today use this programming language to create web applications.
The industries in which Java is used include education, healthcare, governmental departments, insurance, etc.
Popular companies that reported using Java in their tech stacks include:
Java’s main advantages are its efficiency and speed. This is also a language that’s considered relatively easy to learn. Much of its processes run automatically, so the programmer doesn’t have to do a lot of studying of the system as they’d have to with a low-level language. For some, this might answer the question, “Is Python better than Java?”
Most learners can master Java relatively quickly, given that they dedicate enough time for practice and studying every day.
Here’s an overview of other notable Java advantages:
Java’s syntax is relatively simple and easy to write. Some other languages like C++ have a much more complicated syntax.
Thanks to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), programmers can run Java on most operating systems – macOS, Windows, Linux, Unix, and others.
Java has a more intuitive approach when it comes to big project development because it makes the programmer create classes with functions, data, and objects. It’s also easier to troubleshoot and flexible because the code can be reused.
A major advantage of learning Java is its global community. This makes it easier to learn because there are a ton of easily available resources. Plus, there’s always someone to help Java learners who run into problems.
Java doesn’t use explicit pointers and runs inside a sandbox (its virtual machine). It also uses byte-code verifiers to detect illegal codes, comes with security packages, and offers library-level safety.
Programmers can run more than a single thread simultaneously when using Java. Multiple threads share the same memory area to boost performance and efficiency.
Although Java is a relatively easy and flexible language, it still has some downsides. A notable one is that it uses much more memory compared to Python. Also, it manages this memory through garbage collection. This happens when the application a programmer works on doesn’t reference the object anymore.
The garbage collector clears the object from the memory, and it makes other threads stop while the collector works. This impacts the app’s overall performance.
This isn’t the only notable disadvantage of Java. Other instances include:
Plenty of Words
Java is a simple language overall, but it does have plenty of words in it. This often leaves the programmers with complex and long sentences.
No Native Look For Desktop Use
Java comes with a range of graphical user interface builders. However, they don’t work so great for creating advanced user interfaces on desktop computers. The language is weaker when used for desktops compared to mobile as far as UI and UX are concerned. Programmers often need to do plenty of research to find an appropriate GUI for their specific project.
Python is a simpler, easier to read, and more versatile programming language compared to Java, which might provide an answer to “Is Python better than Java?” It’s a general-use language that’s also among the most popular choices for coders. Python is widely used by programmers mostly for data science, the Internet of Things, and machine learning.
What Is Python?
Python is an interpreted language that was first released in 1991. A Python program is run through line-by-line basis interpreters that execute commands. The most notable features of Python are its ease of learning and simplicity.
Language learning and program testing are faster with Python compared to Java because of Python’s simple and concise syntax. Programmers enter lines into the terminal without having to compile the whole program before running it.
Developers who use Python can use a range of programming styles to create apps. Due to its flexibility, this language can be used not only for object-oriented programming but also for reflective and functional programming.
Who Uses Python?
Most often, Python is used by back-end and app developers. Machine learning and data science professionals also use Python because of its comprehensive libraries, such as Pandas, Sickit-learn, TensorFlow, Keras, and Facebook’s PyTorch.
This programming language is also extremely popular for junior developers and new programmers who start a role in data science.
Major platforms including Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, IBM, Intel, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, and Instagram use Python to write their codes.
Python’s major advantage is its versatility. It makes experimentation possible so that programmers aren’t pigeonholed into creating only a single application type. A single language like Python can help programmers use it for many different things.
Other Python advantages are:
Python is a platform-independent language. Much like Java, programmers can use it on Windows, macOS, Linux, and other operating systems. They will only need to use an interpreter specific to that platform.
Python is also friendly and fast for development. Thanks to its asynchronous code usage, it can tackle challenges faster since it runs each code unit separately.
Plenty of Rich Libraries
Huge Python libraries support common commands and tasks and feature code used for various purposes. This includes documentation creation, unit testing, CGI, and much more.
Python allows for a more flexible programming approach, given that it supports a range of programming styles. This makes it perfect for startups who need to change programming approaches now and then.
Python has an open-source platform, and it can be downloaded for free. Just about anyone can get started with Python right away. They can also rely on the thriving Python community and plenty of available resources online for answers.
Python is sometimes more motivating than Java due to its dynamics and concision. Also, it comes with many integration features and control capabilities that make applications more productive.
Python may be simple and fast to learn, but it executes code much slower compared to Java. The extra work Python must do to execute the code doesn’t make it suitable for projects that rely on high speed.
On the contrary, projects that don’t depend on speed will certainly find Python the perfect programming language.
Other Python cons include:
Not Native to Mobiles
Although Python can be used for creating mobile applications, it’s harder for programmers to find suitable libraries with frameworks. One example includes Kivy, a library that lets programmers use the same API for creating mobile applications and software that can be run on Linux, Windows, and Raspberry Pi.
The reason why Python is generally slower is that it can only execute a single thread at a time. Programmers who work on multi-threaded programs bound on the CPU can experience much slower working times. However, there’s a workaround. Professionals can rely on multiprocessing programs instead.
Consumes a Lot of Memory
Python applications that consist of many objects being active in RAM can present issues for the user. Most developers switch to NumPy as a workaround to reduce the memory amount used by Python for every object.
Java vs. Python Key Differences
Now that we’ve presented an overview of what each language offers, let’s explore their main differences.
As a compiled language, Java is generally faster than Python. However, the performance isn’t only the function of the language’s execution speed. The implementation of the program and the performance of the libraries are also important factors in this equation.
Python has many libraries for a wide range of uses and requires fewer code lines to perform a single task, making it just as performative.
Python is dynamically typed, meaning it doesn’t require the programmer to state the variable types. The interpreter infers the types with runtime checks. As a result, you get a more straightforward syntax that very much resembles that of the English language.
Also, Python follows indentation rules and doesn’t rely on enclosing braces. This means the code is more beginner friendly and easier to read.
Java, on the other hand, follows strict rules when it comes to syntax. It’s a statically typed language, meaning programmers must declare their variable types explicitly. If there’s an anomaly, the code won’t compile. This makes Java not as easy for beginners.
Still, some developers find it comfortable to work with statically typed languages because of their clarity. Also, it can be challenging to follow indentation rules for large codebases, making Java a better option for such projects for many programmers.
According to the TIOBE Index for August 2022, Python seems unstoppable when it comes to its increase in popularity. This programming language has a 15.42% market share with an added 2% in August 2022. That being said, Python holds first place in terms of the most popular programming languages according to this source, which might seem to provide an answer to “Is Python better than Java?” Java is third with a 12.40% market share.
Overall, the competition between the two languages remains pretty fierce regardless of the index source. They are always close to each other and remain in the top three most popular languages to learn.
It’s safe to say both languages are equally popular in the modern-day market.
Salary and Jobs
As far as jobs and salaries utilizing these two languages are concerned, there isn’t any notable difference. According to Salary.com, Python developers earn a median yearly salary of $96,000, while Java developers earn $98,000.
Given the increasing popularity of both languages, new software developers have a high chance of landing a job with a working knowledge of any of them. However, it’s not recommended to learn a programming language in hopes of landing a well-paying job. A programming language should match your specific needs or preferences first and foremost.
The Final Decision
This review has helped you better understand how popular Python and Java are in the programming world. As you can see, each language comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Their respective features make them more or less suitable for specific projects. Ultimately, the type of project you plan to work on or specialize in will determine whether Python or Java is better.
For example, if you depend on speed and can’t afford to wait for slow executions to take place, then Java is certainly a better option. But if you appreciate simplicity, compact syntax, and versatility, and the time factor isn’t of importance, then Python is a clear winner.
Hopefully, this answers your question “Is Python better than Java?” and helps you choose a suitable programming language for your particular needs.