Akhtar Hossain | 12 Dec, 2022

C++ vs. Java: Top Differences, Pros & Cons

C++ and Java are among the big names in the world of programming. These two computer programming languages are popular because of their wide applications. But what’s the difference between CPP and Java?

Learning C++ and Java gives you a foundational understanding of programming. So, they’re both great starter languages for anyone new to programming. This is why schools and colleges that teach programming have C++ and/or Java as mandatory subjects.

Now, let’s look at the difference between C++ vs. Java.

C++ Java Head-to-Head Comparison




Developed By 

Bjarne Stroustrup

James Gosling

Platform dependence 



Primary Use Case

System programming

Windows-based, web-based, mobile, and enterprise applications

Goto Support



Multiple Inheritance 


No; instead uses interfaces

Operator Overloading





Compiled and interpreted

Call by Value and Call by Reference

Supports both

Supports only call by value

Union and Structures





Not purely




Support for Pointers






Closeness to Hardware



Default Arguments



Scope resolution operators



Runtime Error Checking 






Libraries and Frameworks 

Boost, BDE, Folly, JUCE, Ultimate++, Loki, CommonPP, APR, ASL, Cinder, Dlib, ETL, GLib, uSTL, Windows Template Library, STLport, MiLi, etc.

Blade, Dropwizard, GWT, JHipster, Grails, Hibernate, JavaServer Faces, MyBatis, Play, PrimeFaces, Spring Framework, Tapestry, Vaadin, Wicket, etc.


Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, InDesign, Maya, Chrome, Java VM core, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows NT, Windows 9x, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, Mozilla Firefox

JPC, ThinkFree, NASA World Wind, Tommy Jr, Blu-ray BD-J, UltraMixer, Project Looking Glass, Sun SPOT, Eclipse, Netbeans IDE

Let’s dig deeper into the differences and similarities between C++ and Java, starting with a basic overview of the languages and their histories. As a student, the foremost diff between C++ and Java is syntax. Java syntax tends to be easier and cleaner to read – you’ll notice this once you experiment with Java projects

But that’s not the only Java and C++ difference.

Suggested Course

Beginning C++ Programming - From Beginner to Beyond

Java vs. C++: Language Overview

C++ Features

Developed by Bjarne Stroustrup, C++ is a programming language that’s:

  • Object-oriented
  • Multi-paradigm
  • Functional 
  • Imperative
  • Procedural
  • General-purpose 

Basically, it’s an extension of the C language. It was also known as C with classes. Besides the OOP features, it has all the features of the C language.

Besides giving you high-level features, C++ also allows for low-level memory manipulation.

Developed by Oracle, Java is an object-oriented programming language with all the high-level features. James Gosling from Sun Microsystems originally developed this language. Later, Oracle acquired this company in 2010.

Java Features

This OOP language is also a general-purpose language and:

  • Class-based
  • Imperative
  • Generic
  • Multi-paradigm
  • Reflective

Compared to C++, it doesn’t give you much freedom to perform low-level memory manipulation.

Ease of Use and Development Speed

Each language has a large variety of libraries, frameworks, SDKs, and other tools to make your application-building quicker and easier.

C++ Libraries and Frameworks

Some general-purpose C++ libraries and frameworks include: 

Boost, BDE, Folly, JUCE, Ultimate++, Loki, CommonPP, APR, ASL, Cinder, Dlib, ETL, GLib, uSTL, Windows Template Library, STLport, MiLi, etc. The standard C++ libraries are C++ Standard Library, Standard Template Library, The GNU C library, ISO C++ Standards Committee, and C POSIX library.

Some useful C++ libraries for audio include: 

FMOD, OpenAL, SoLoud, Tonic, KFR, Maximilian, Opus, etc. Some good C++ libraries for compression are Brotli, bzip2, miniz, Minizip, smaz, Snappy, ZLib, and KArchive.

Some great C++ libraries for AI operation include:

Genann, Kaldi, Veles, MXNet, TensorFlow, Evolving Objects, etc. Some great C++ GUI libraries and frameworks are FLTK, GTK+, Qt, wxWidgets, GacUI, MyGUI, and Yue.

Bottom line? C++ has tons of libraries. Check here and here for other C++ libraries and frameworks. 

Java C++ Libraries and Frameworks

Java has several libraries and frameworks that enable faster app development.

Some notable Java frameworks are Blade, Dropwizard, GWT, JHipster, Grails, Hibernate, JavaServer Faces, MyBatis, Play, PrimeFaces, Spring Framework, Tapestry, Vaadin, and Wicket.

You can find more Java frameworks here.


Real-life Uses

C++ and Java are general-purpose programming languages, meaning you can build almost any type of software application for almost any platform using the right tools, IDEs, libraries, and frameworks of these languages. 

Both are marketable programming languages. Let’s look at some real-life uses for each: 

  • C++ is used for building operating systems, desktop apps, web browsers, rendering engines of web browsers, machine learning libraries, applications that involve heavy graphical processing, databases, embedded systems, and mobile apps.
  • C++ is also used in many other areas, such as Internet of Things, automation, set-top-box, and automotive.
  • On the other hand, Java is great for building app servers, web apps, mobile apps, desktop apps, unit tests, enterprise applications, games, cloud applications, web APIs, and so on.
  • Java is also used in fields such as the Internet of Things, self-driving cars, and data analysis.

Hello-World Program

A C++ hello-world program looks like this:


A Java hello-world program looks like this:

public class SimpleProgram
public static void main(String [] args)
System.out.println("Hello, World!");



C++ is a compiled language, while Java is interpreted and/or compiled.

Cross-Platform Apps

A C++ program compiled on one operating system won’t run on a different operating system. You need to recompile the program on different operating systems for it to run. On the contrary, a Java program will run on any platform where JVM is installed — recompilation is not required.

Quality-of-Life: Memory Safety, Pointers, and Threads

C++ is not a memory-safe language. You can perform memory management, which is a great advantage. But memory errors may occur, and serious issues like crashes can happen during the program’s execution. On the other hand, Java doesn’t allow memory manipulation — it’s system controlled. Additionally, Java is a memory-safe language.


C++ programs are generally faster because they don’t need to be interpreted. On the other hand, Java programs are not as fast as they need to be interpreted first.

But remember, JVM automatically optimizes your code, which increases program performance. So usually, a Java program can run faster than a C++ program if the C++ program is not optimized for performance. But if it’s greatly optimized for performance, it will be a lot faster than Java code.

Other Differences Between C++ and Java

Here are some other differences between C++ and Java to better define the differences between the languages.

  • Language abstraction/closeness to the hardware. When compared to Java, C++ is a low-level language and closer to the hardware. Java is not close to the hardware – it’s harder to produce machine-level code.
  • Scope resolution operators. C++ supports scope resolution operators whereas Java doesn’t.
  • Default arguments. You can have default arguments in C++, but there’s no such thing in Java.
  • “Go to” statement. You can use “go to” statements in C++ programs, although they’re bad practice. Java doesn’t have ‘go to’ statements. 
  • Destructors. C++ supports destructors, while Java does not.
  • Inheritance. Multiple inheritance is supported in C++, not Java.
  • Runtime error checking. A programmer must check for runtime errors in C++, while in Java, the system automatically performs runtime error checking.
  • Operator overloading. You can overload an operator in C++, but you can’t in Java.
  • Structures and unions. C++ supports structures and unions, but Java doesn’t. Structures and unions can be both complex and powerful.

But there are also similarities between C++ and Java. Because they are both general-purpose languages, you can do anything in C++ that you can do in Java, and vice versa – you just need to use a different technique.

Similarities Between C++ and Java

Is C++ similar to Java? Absolutely. These two languages have similar syntax and language features. They are so similar that if you’re shown some portion of C++ code from a project and asked whether it’s C++ or Java code, you may confuse yourself.

Similar Functions






Main Function



Comment Syntax



Data Types






Conditional Statements



It’s not that hard to learn C++ if you know Java (or vice versa). Different programmers will have different opinions on which language is harder or which language best follows coding best practices.

Primitive data types, loops, conditional statements, conditional operators, arithmetic operators, classes, variable definitions, variable initializations, value assignments – all these other syntax elements are very similar in Java and C++. And since commenting C++ and Java code are identical, these similarities could trip you up.

Comparison Between C++ and Java Applications

The easiest way to understand the differences between C++ and Java is to look at the applications designed with each. 

Companies like Adobe, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Autodesk, Bloomberg, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Mozilla use C++.

Some popular C++ applications include: 

  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and InDesign
  • Chrome, Mozilla Firefox (Chromium)
  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows NT, Windows 9x
  • Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer
  • Visual Studio, Mozilla Firefox

Some popular Java applications include: 

  • JPC
  • ThinkFree
  • NASA World Wind
  • UltraMixer
  • Project Looking Glass
  • Sun SPOT
  • Eclipse
  • Netbeans IDE

C++ vs. Java Applications

C++ tends to be used for more general purpose applications whereas Java tends to be used for applications requiring a premium of portability and performance.

The Best Tutorials, Classes, and Bootcamps for C++ and Java

So, once you’ve compared C++ and Java you need to make a decision – which do you want to learn first? Most programmers know a touch of both. Java tends to be the first language people learn in school because of its utility and its popularity.

C++ Learning Path

Becoming a C++ developer will take at least 3-4 months. Becoming a good developer will take years. You can take many introductory lessons, projects, and certifications to prove your skills – here are some of the best.

1. Beginner: LinkedIn’s C++ Essential Training

Find out whether C++ is the right language for you. This course is less than ten hours of material and will give you a basic overview of the C++ language. However, it’s targeted toward people who understand programming fundamentals.

2. Intermediate: Codecademy’s Learn C++

A 25-hour course on the basics of C++. Codecademy has a hands-on learning platform that walks you through the basics of becoming a programmer from scratch. This lesson includes variables, loops, functions, and the basics of developing your first program.

3. Advanced: Udacity’s Become a C++ Developer

Get serious with this bootcamp. This 4-month class has everything you need to know to become a developer under Udacity’s nanodegree program. The comprehensive lesson plan includes a total of five coding projects.

After learning C++, consider getting a C++ certification to prove your skills. 

Java Learning Path

Java has such an active community that you can learn through code if you’re self-motivated and driven. But you also have excellent courses to choose from:

1. Beginner: Duke University’s Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software

If you want to know more about what Java can do, this is the course for you. Presented by Duke University through Coursera, Java Programming is a comprehensive, self-paced program that will take you from beginner to intermediate.

2. Intermediate: Udemy’s Complete Java Programming Masterclass

Eighty hours of on-demand video will show you the ins and outs of Java programming. You’ll learn how to create your first Java program, the most common Java tools, arrays, generics, and more.

3. Advanced: Udemy’s Java In-Depth: Become a Complete Java Engineer

Dig further into how Java with real world applications. This course includes multiple assignments, 15 hands-on coding exercises, and 67 hours of video intended to make you a full-fledged Java engineer.

As with C++, consider getting a certification after completing your courses – it’ll help.

Should I Learn Java or C++?

If you’re wondering “Is Java easier than C++,” the answer is probably Java. Java is a great first language because it’s easier. C++, Java, Python – these are all used as intro programming languages for a reason. C++ compared to Java tends to be a little more obscure and even archaic in terms of syntax.

But is C++ harder than Java? Depends on what you’re trying to do. If you want to create a lightweight application for Windows, C++ would be easier. Even the main differences between Java and C++ don’t supersede the fact that both are great languages, so you can always learn one first and learn the other later. 

Conclusion: Final Thoughts

We have learned from this article that both C++ and Java are powerful languages. When deciding between C++ vs. Java, consider making time to learn both to get a solid understanding of computer programming.

But if you want to choose one, ask yourself what kind of applications you want to build. For example, learn C++ if you want to build Windows applications. And if you want to build app servers or enterprise applications, learn Java.

So, what are your next steps? Dive deep into a course to practice your skills and impress employers. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is C++ Easier than Java?

As a developer, the “easiest” language is the easiest language for you. Practice a small application in both to discover which you find most intuitive. In general, developers do find that Java tends to be easier due to its simpler syntax.

2. Which is More Powerful, Java or C++?

Both Java and C++ are powerful languages. Java tends to be more popular for applications that require cross-platform capabilities, whereas C++ provides more machine-level accessibility and lower levels of abstraction.

3. Which Has More Job Opportunities Java or C++?

In general, there are more job opportunities in Java than C++. But this also depends on your discipline; if you’re building IoT devices, for instance, you might find more calls for Java. If you’re building Windows applications, you may find more jobs for C++.

4. Should I Learn Java or C++ First?

Most programmers will learn Java first. Java is easier to learn, and it’s easier to learn C++ after you’ve learned Java. But if you’re looking for an easier language syntactically, nothing beats Python.

By Akhtar Hossain

Md Akhtar Hossain is a freelance tech writer, eBook writer, web developer, and an aspiring entrepreneur. He loves to write about web design, web development, mobile app development, and online business. Akhtar has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in computer applications.

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