Abhimanyu Krishnan | 08 Aug, 2023

Python vs Java: Which is Best in 2024?

Programming languages are the basic tools in a programmer’s toolbox and are crucial to every activity. Choosing between programming languages is often confusing, even for an experienced developer.

The Python vs Java battle for the top position as the most popular programming language has been going on for a while — with Python making amazing progress in the last few years and Java holding onto its position.

It often seems that these languages are perfect, and in fact, they are capable of doing most of the tasks out there. However, there are key differences between Python and Java that could help you make a decision.

We’ll start by explaining each language and its key characteristics, then compare them in different fields in computer science to provide more clarity on your choices.

Python vs Java: Head to Head Comparison

Parameter Python Java
Popularity Very popular Very popular
Syntax Easy to learn Has a somewhat steep learning curve
Performance Slower than Java in various implementations Comparatively fast
Cross-platform Yes Yes, thanks to JVM
Backend frameworks Django, Flask Spring, Blade
Machine learning libraries Tensorflow, Pytorch Weka, Mallet, Deeplearning4j, MOA
Game development engines Cocos, Panda3d JMonkeyEngine

What is Java? [Definition]

Java is a statically typed general-purpose programming language, it is an object-oriented and concurrent language.

Java was meant to be a WORA (write once run anywhere) language. It was designed to run on any platform and with as few dependencies as possible, with the help of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

java codeacademy

What is Python? [Definition]

Python is an interpreted, dynamically typed, general-purpose programming language that is used for a variety of purposes. The original motivation behind it was to create a higher-level language to bridge the gap between C and the shell. The syntax was also motivated by languages like Algol68, Pascal, and ABC and was meant to be readable and clean.

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Java vs Python: Key Differences


Languages don't have speed per se; they have only semantics. If you want to compare speed you must choose specific implementations to compare with each other.

That being said, Java is generally faster because it is a compiled language. You can find a detailed Python vs Java performance comparison on a project called The Computer Language Benchmarks Game, where different languages are benchmarked in different programs.

Keep in mind that performance is not only a function of the language’s execution speed, as the program’s implementation and the third-party libraries' performance are usually the top factors in the equation.

All of this goes to say that there isn’t a strict 1:1 comparison here. Generally speaking, Java is faster because it is a compiled language. However, Python needs fewer lines of code to perform the same task.


Java vs Python: Popularity

Resource By Stackoverflow

Python pips Java in terms of popularity, according to this Stack Overflow survey.

Popularity has always been fierce between these two languages, as they’ve long been close to each in the top 3 positions of popularity, along with JavaScript. Before the JS revolution, Java was the number one most popular language. When JS first came out, the founders chose a name close to Java to make it gain traction.

According to Github’s Octoverse, Java was the third most used language on Github followed behind JavaScript and Python.

In Stackoverflow’s 2022 developer survey, Python was the third most popular language behind JavaScript and HTML/CSS. 48.24% of developers surveyed were working with Python, 35.35% used Java.

It is safe to say that both languages are about the same in terms of popularity.


Python is a dynamically typed language that doesn’t require you to explicitly state variable types, as the interpreter will infer these types with the checks made at runtime. This results in an easier syntax that is quite similar to the English language.

Furthermore, Python doesn’t use enclosing braces and follows indentation rules (like how most people write pseudocode) which makes the code quite easy to read and beginner-friendly.

In this simple class definition, there is a simple class called fruit with a constructor, which is the code that will be executed when an instance of the object is created. There are also two simple functions, each printing one of the object’s attributes.

class Fruit:
 def_init_(mysillyobject, name, color);
 def myfunction(abc) :
 print("hello I'm a "+ abc.name)
 def mycolor(abc) :
 print("hello my Color is " + abc.color)
p1 = Fruit ("Apple", "red")

Java, on the other hand, follows strict syntax rules. It’s a statically typed language where you need to explicitly declare your variable types and should an anomaly be spotted, the code will not compile.

While it’s not the easiest thing for beginners, some developers find comfort with the clarity of statically typed languages, and many developers don’t feel comfortable following indentation rules, especially with large codebases.

public class Fruit {
 String name;
 String color;
 public Fruit(String name, String color){
 public void myfunction()
 System.out.println("Hello I'm a :" +name);
 public void mycolor()
 System.out.println("Hello my color is:" + color);

This is the Java equivalent to the fruit class we have defined in Python with the exact same functionalities.

Jobs and Salary

There seems to be no objective difference or comparison between Python vs Java in terms of jobs or salary. In the US, the median annual salary for Python developers is about $96,000, while for Java developers it is approximately $97,000.

Both are very popular so if you become skilled in either, you can start working as a software developer or intern to start your career.

These factors should not be your criteria for choosing a programming language. Rather, choose the one that is best suited to your specific needs.

Apps Built Using Python

A number of popular applications have been built using Python. Examples of these are Quora, Facebook, Reddit, Dropbox, and Instagram.

Apps Built Using Java

Java dominates mobile app development, and there are several famous apps that have been built using the language. Some examples are Spotify, Twitter, Opera Mini, and CashApp. Examples of apps built using Kotlin (a language that’s fully interoperable with Java) are Pinterest, Coursera, Uber, and Tinder.

Java vs Python: Uses/Applications

1. Game Development

We’re not going to talk about large-scale, big budget game development since neither Python nor Java can really compete with C++/C# there. Game development is a field that requires the highest possible performance to provide seamless experiences to users, and while Java and Python are not slow, they don’t provide the best performance for game development.

However, there have been several popular games released built on these languages, not the least of which is one of the best selling games of all time, Minecraft.

JMonkeyEngine is a popular open-source game development engine with Java. If you wish to experiment with computer graphics from scratch or build your own engine, OpenGL also provides bindings for the Java language.

While Python is not a powerful option on its own for game creation, there are such offerings as Cocos, Panda3d, Pygame, and a few other engines/frameworks for building games with Python. Python is a popular scripting-language option for many developers including game developers. Editing packages like Maya also use Python as a scripting language.

2. Web Development

Both languages are used in backend web development. Backend is a branch of web development concerned with creating the software that will run on the server. It’s the most popular development field according to StackOverflow’s developer survey.

Writing your own backend technology from scratch is not only hard, but it’s extremely difficult to cover all design requirements from security to reliability and effectiveness. This is why developers have created frameworks that are an abstraction in software that allows you to build your backend technology without reinventing the wheel.

The two most popular frameworks for Python are Django and Flask. Flask is a micro web framework — it gives you the basic functionalities you’d need like routing requests without much overhead. Django is a more feature-filled option and can help you build a powerful backend while capitalizing on efficiency and security. Django is equipped with a powerful ORM layer that facilitates dealing with databases and performing different operations on the data.

As for Java, Spring is perhaps the most well-known Java backend framework with a massive ecosystem and a huge community around it. Spring is used by Orange, Dell, GE, and many other enterprises, and while it’s not as popular as Django nowadays, it is a powerful option for building enterprise-level applications.

3. Machine Learning

Since Python is syntactically a very easy, yet fully-fledged, general-purpose programming language. It became a popular option for people from different disciplines who wanted to experiment with machine learning and bring the power of AI into their respective fields.

That’s why a lot of AI and machine learning development is done with Python and its huge ecosystem and libraries. Examples of these are, Keras, Scikit-Learn, Facebook’s PyTorch and TensorFlow.

Java is also considered a good option when it comes to machine learning. It’s easy to debug and use and it’s already being used for large-scale and enterprise-level applications such as those in the banking, accounting, and e-commerce industries. The options for libraries include Weka, Mallet, DeepLearning4, and MOA.

The Bottom Line

Java and Python are both capable and popular languages, so there won’t be a lack of resources once you choose one and embark on your journey.

The differences between Java and Python are not something a beginner should worry about so much. Rather, think about how quickly you can start building something. For this, Python is better. It’s better to select Python just because it’s really easy and uses English-like syntax, and it’s used in many computer science introductory courses around the world.

However, if your goal is to build enterprise-level applications coming from a C/ C++ world, then Java would probably feel pretty familiar to you. It all goes down to what you plan to build and what you want to do.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is Better, Java or Python?

Neither programming language is better, per se. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, so it really depends on what you want to build and your career goals.

2. Is Python Easier than Java?

Yes, Python is quite a lot easier than Java, and it’s why many universities and courses use Python to teach programming concepts. One of the major reasons why Python is easier is because it is very readable and uses English-like syntax.

3. Is Java Faster than Python?

Yes, Java has been known to perform better than Python. It is generally faster because it is a compiled language.

4. Should I learn Java or Python First?

If this would be your first programming language, then you should pick Python. It’s much easier to learn, and the job opportunities and salary figures are comparable.

5. Should I Choose Python or Java for Backend Development?

Python is a lot easier to learn, so it’ll help you get up and running on backend development comparatively quickly. However, in the long term, note that Java does have better performance, but this may only be important when running performance-intensive websites.

6. Is Learning Python Enough to Get a Job?

If you know Python well enough for a professional capacity and have a portfolio of projects, then Python can be enough to get a job. You’ll need to have a strong understanding of programming and software development fundamentals, however, not just an understanding of Python.

7. Which Pays More, Java or Python?

As we described earlier, the salary ranges for both Java and Python are about the same. Python is marginally better paying. Python pays a median of $97,000, while Java pays a median of $96,000 in the US.

8. Should I Switch from Java to Python?

With several opportunities available for both Java and Python developers, there is not much reason to switch from Java and Python — unless you have a specific goal in mind. If you want to further your career in a particular direction, then switching from one language to another is fine, but don’t do so without a good reason.

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By Abhimanyu Krishnan

With a bachelor's degree in Information Technology, Abhi has experience with several programming languages, including Python, JavaScript and C++. He is also an expert on blockchain technology and its development, having worked in the industry for several years.

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