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Golang vs Python: Which Language Should You Learn?

Posted in Go, Python
Golang vs Python: Which Language Should You Learn?

Golang and Python are both general-purpose programming languages used for many tasks. Since they are easy to use and popular, they are often compared. But they couldn’t be more different.

  • Go is a lightweight, compiled, procedural language for microservices and API development.
  • Python is an interpreted, object-oriented language for general purpose applications such as web application backends and mobile application development.

If you’re choosing between Go and Python, it’s likely because both of these languages are quickly growing and extremely marketable. While Go trails behind Python in terms of its raw community code base, it’s rapidly becoming one of the most important languages in the market.

Python is two decades older than Go. But that doesn’t mean that Go is going to knock Python off of its throne. Today, we’re going to take a deeper look at Go language, Python, and when you should use one language over the other.

Take a Deeper Look

Both Golang and Python are on the list of the best programming languages to learn. Other languages include Java, C/C++, JavaScript, R, and swift.

Golang: A Lightweight, Compiled Language for Microservices

When it comes to API development, few languages are as advantageous as Golang. Golang is designed to support the building of small, functional microservices. While it’s similar to C, it adds a variety of next-gen features: garbage collection, structural typing, and memory management. Go is much faster than many other languages, especially interpreted languages such as Python.

Pros:

  • Simpler and easy to use.
  • Compiled with virtual machines support.
  • Automated typing and garbage collection.
  • A very fast, lightweight, and scalable language.

Cons:

  • Easier to make programming mistakes.
  • Large standalone binaries.
  • A new language with not a lot of support.

In brief, Go is a simple and easy language, but that’s also a double-edged sword. While you can create great things in Go, it also gives you the freedom to make mistakes.

Here’s “Hello, world!” in Golang:

package main
import "fmt"
func main() {
fmt.Println("Hello, world!")
}

Is Golang better than Python?

It’s hard to say that any language is necessarily “better” than any other because programmers use different languages for different use cases. When it comes to microservices, APIs, and other fast-load features, Golang is absolutely better than Python.

But when it comes to natural language processing or machine learning, the robustness and readability of Python (as well as the extensiveness of its libraries) come into play.

Is Golang harder than Python?

Both Golang and Python are considered “easy to learn” languages, although they may take some time to master. Most programmers will be able to hit the ground running with either language but should take courses or bootcamps and engage with practice questions to truly develop their skills.

Is it “Golang,” “GoLang,” or “Go”?

The actual name of Golang is “Go.” But, of course, that’s a bit difficult to search for — both because it’s an imperative and because it’s a famously popular, ancient game. “Golang” became the way to refer to the Go language in part because of its domain name.

Today, people use the terms “Golang” and “Go” interchangeably. If you want to be correct and understood, then you should refer to “the Go language.”

How do I learn Golang?

Golang can be learned through Golang certification courses, which will also help prove to employers that you are knowledgeable about the intricacies of Go. But because Go is such an easy language, it can also be learned through projects, experiments, and fast-paced bootcamps.

Python: A Robust, Interpreted General-Purpose Language

Python is a high-level, easy-to-learn programming language that’s used for everything from web applications to machine learning AI. Python is one of the most popular languages in the world and the fastest growing language in the world.

Because it has so many use cases (and such significant adoption), it’s considered one of the most desirable languages on the job market. At the same time, Python does have some issues; as an interpreted language, it’s difficult to scale—and its structural leniency can produce coders with bad habits.

Pros:

  • An easy-to-learn general-purpose language.
  • Supported by a large and thriving community.
  • Faster development speed and fewer lines of code.
  • A leading language for machine learning and AI.

Cons:

  • Slow and not necessarily scalable.
  • Flexibility can equate to bad habits.
  • Older and more strict than Go.

Python is known for being a very flexible, simple language — but it can seem strict compared to Go. While Python has a larger variety of use cases, it’s also more difficult to scale.

Here’s “Hello, World!” in Python:

print("Hello, world!")

Is Golang replacing Python?

Golang can replace Python for most applications, but that doesn’t mean that Golang is replacing Python. Not only are there many Python programmers in the market, but there are many more applications, plug-ins, and integrations that have been developed in Python than Go. Because of this, Golang still has a long way to go before it can truly replace Python.

More specifically, Go and Python has different use cases. Go is primarily used for APIs and microservices architecture. It can also be used for web applications; anything that has to be lightweight, fast, and scalable. But the trade-off is that it’s more difficult to produce more complex work in Go.

Python, meanwhile, is used when the readability of code and the speed of development are what matter. Python is a language of rapid production, even if it’s not a language of rapid execution. It’s very fast to develop applications in Python — even for those who aren’t necessarily experts in programming.

Should I learn Golang after learning Python?

Golang isn’t just lightweight to read; it’s lightweight to write. Because of the simplicity of its syntax and its relatively narrow use cases, Golang is very easy to learn. Python programmers may want to learn Golang to give themselves an edge in the job market or to expand their skill set.

Python and Golang can both be used as general-purpose languages — but because their advantages, disadvantages, and use cases are so wildly different, it’s definitely worth it to know both. A programmer who knows both Python and Go will be more versatile.

How do I learn Python?

As a relatively easy-to-use language, Python can be learned by going through Python tutorials and courses or by starting a series of Python projects.

Golang vs Python: An Overview and Comparison Chart

Head to Head Comparison between Golang vs Python

Go vs Python Structure: Procedural vs. Object-Oriented

Most robust languages today are object-oriented — for a reason. Not only do object-oriented languages make it much faster and easier to produce code, but they also ensure the quality of that code. Python is object-oriented, but Go is not.

Go is a procedurally-oriented language, which means that it doesn’t have classes or objects; everything happens linearly, rather than actions taking effect against a specific and discrete item. More code repetition occurs in procedurally-oriented languages.

This lack of control can make Go harder to control while making it easier to program with. In other words, the freedom of the system ultimately means that developers can reach the right answers for the wrong reasons — they can produce functional code in the wrong ways.

But this is an argument that some programmers have against Python as well; its dynamic typing and easy-to-use syntax can lead to bad habits for new programmers. Programmers concerned about this should take the time to learn correctly — from tutorials and classes — rather than trying to figure things out on their own.

Go vs Python Performance: Which Executes Faster?

When we talk about Go vs Python performance, we are discussing everything after the code has been programmed. Go is a compiled language; it is compiled and then packaged. Python is an interpreted language; it is essentially “compiled” whenever it is run.

Go performs at speeds of up to 40 times that of Python. When Python is compared to any compiled language, it falls short. Interpreted languages such as Python and PHP are never going to be as fast or perform as well as compiled languages such as Go and C.

Go vs Python: Who Uses Each Language?

Python is largely used by developers and programmers, whereas Go is more likely to be used by systems administrators, security professionals, and others who are on the periphery of maintaining a large codebase. Both Python and Go are designed to be beginner-friendly, but Go is more likely to be used by those who are outside of the programming discipline.

Go vs Python Speed: Which is Faster for Development?

In programming, there are multiple factors when it comes to speed. We’ve already covered the fact that Go is much faster than Python in raw performance. But there’s also the speed of development and the speed of deployment.

When programming small-scale projects from scratch, Go is likely to be faster. It’s very simple and straightforward. But when developing larger projects or projects that might need open source libraries and community codebases, it’s easy to see why Python might have an edge; with Python, quite a lot of work has already been done for you.

For deployment, Go may take longer to deploy simply because it must be compiled, packaged, and distributed. Python will take less time to deploy because it can be deployed continuously, as an interpreted language.

Python or Golang: Which is Easier to Use?

For most programmers, both Python and Go are easy to learn. Go may be easier to learn simply because it is the more niche, narrow language. If you have a use case that meets Go’s capabilities, it may be better to learn Go. If you’re looking for a more general-purpose language that you can use for many use cases, it may be better to learn Python.

So, which is easier, Golang or Python? It depends on what you’re developing and what your long-term strategies are. If you’re trying to learn a language that will broaden your horizons and make you more marketable, either will work. But if you’re working with APIs or an existing codebase specifically, it’s more likely that the language you choose will matter.

Golang vs Python: The Similarities Between Python and Go

There are a lot of differences between Golang and Python. But there are two major similarities: readability and user-friendliness. Most people can pick up either of these two languages shortly. Most people will be able to look at someone’s Python or Go code to figure out what it was doing, even if they had no prior knowledge of the codebase.

Python vs Golang: Adoption

It’s estimated that there are around 8 million Python developers in the world. Comparatively, there are about 2 million Golang programmers. When you consider that Python was released in 1991 and Go was released in 2012, that’s not as significant as a difference as it may seem. Go is growing rapidly as a language, which is what leads many to suspect it could someday eclipse Python.

But before you draw any conclusions, consider that Python is also growing very quickly — as more programmers expand into the machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence spaces. Further, consider that the reasons behind Go’s growth don’t concern Python at all. Go is growing in leaps and bounds because of increased reliance upon cloud solutions, microservices architecture, and IoT devices.

So, while Go is likely to continue to grow, that growth isn’t likely to take away from Python’s growth. Rather, both languages are growing very quickly due to their array of use cases.

Go Language vs Python: Careers

career in python vs golang

The average salary for a Golang developer is $135,000, with entry-level positions starting at $119,639. According to the same source, Python developers make an average of $119,879 a year with entry-level positions starting at $97,500 a year.

Why the disparity? Likely because a Go developer will already be a microservices or IoT professional, whereas Python developers are more likely to be “newbie” programmers who don’t have a lot of experience under their belt. Even in entry-level positions, this may matter.

Additionally, there are simply fewer people who know Go. Most who graduate from college know some Python.

Either way, both Go developers and Python developers are sought after within the job market and can command either six-figure or near-six-figure salaries.

Python vs Go: Which Language Should You Use?

For most programmers, the question isn’t “which language to learn” — it’s which language to learn first. Unless you have some rationale for wanting to understand more about microservices architecture or APIs, Python is going to be the broader and more robust language. This is especially true if this will be the first programming language you learn.

But that shouldn’t mean that you never learn Go. If you’ll ever do work with microservices, APIs, or IoT devices, Go can be incredibly useful. Go is rapidly growing for a reason; more companies need Go programmers. And because Go is a more “modern” language than Python, it’s also very easy to learn.

Conclusion

On average, programmers usually know three to four languages. Each language that you learn is another tool on your toolbelt; another opportunity to solve coding problems and rise to coding challenges. But since Go is such a specific and niche language, it’s worth it to consider whether you’ll ever use the language before you start to learn it.

Meanwhile, Python has been growing fast and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Even better, it’s quite easy to move to other languages from Python once you have learned the basics. Regardless, both Python and Go are at the top of the list of programming languages best for getting a job.

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Simran Kaur Arora

Simran Kaur Arora

Simran works at Hackr as a technical writer. The graduate in MS Computer Science from the well known CS hub, aka Silicon Valley, is also an editor of the website. She enjoys writing about any tech topic, including programming, algorithms, cloud, data science, and AI. Traveling, sketching, and gardening are the hobbies that interest her. View all posts by the Author

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