These days you can find a wide variety of programming languages and tools compared to what you might have gotten a decade ago. Despite such a variety of languages, you will still find the odd 2 or 3 popular languages being used the most among them.
Preferences for languages have always relied on the person that’s using them. They have also been shaped based on need and availability. For a long time coming, Java reigned supreme as the language to learn, but slowly a surely Python is gaining up to giving it some competition.
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Java and Python At a Glance
Java and Python are both languages that share a large amount of similarities with each other. They mostly carry the same features and operate within similar environments. And yet, you can still find some key differences between them. They’re best described like two different trees that grow in the same forest.
Both Java and Python are object-oriented languages that thrive on being easy to use and support. They’re both implementable throughout different platforms with relative ease. Functionally, the only big difference that you can point out is the way they are bound. Java is strictly considered a statically typed language, whereas Python is more dynamically typed. But there’s more to it than that.
Google Trends for Java and Python
If you look up the data for the Google Trends for these languages, you can see a very noticeable change that occurs in the timeline. In 2005 and prior, the data for searches related to learning Python is flat lined with Java getting significant hits. From 2005 to 2010, you can observe a very steady trend for searches related to Python, whereas Java tends to peak and drop a lot.
It’s in the last eight or so years where you can see the change between the trend of these two languages take shape. Past 2011, the popularity for searches related to Python tends to spike drastically, whereas Java tends to stagnate in this trend mostly.
At the November 2015 mark, Python takes the lead in search trend over Java for learning purposes. The real question is, why?
Why Learning Python is Rising in Popularity
It’s easy to see that Python is slowly gaining reputation against its rival Java. However, if you look at it on first glance, it may not be entirely apparent why this is the case. For a lot of people, these languages are functionally the same, and any differences that exist are dependent on personal preferences.
But this is far from the actual case. While at the surface level, these languages might seem similar there are bigger differences in their depth that separate them from one another. Here are some of the key reasons why Python is slowly rising to popularity over Java.
Differences in Design Philosophy
While both Java and Python fall very close to each to the untrained eye, there are differences between the philosophies that set the languages apart. A single corporate entity has largely backed Java while Python has been a bit more diverse in its distribution.
The most noticeable difference is the design philosophy of these languages. While both perform similar functions, their approach might be slightly varied. Java has a more direct and raw approach to its coding, whereas Python focuses on achieving simplicity. Python embodies the idea of having a clean workspace to code in. It prefers a more attractive design structure than one that looks cluttered.
Simplicity and Ease of Learning
Both Java and Python have similar end goals when it comes to their use. A skilled programmer will be able to utilize both of these languages to their full potential. However, this is hardly the case for a beginner who has just begun to find their bearings.
The simplicity and whitespace that Python provides make it a much better option than something like Java. You can easily learn Python in a matter of weeks, whereas Java might take more days of head-scratching to figure out. This is why some learning platforms favour one language over the other like Pluralsight vs Codecademy.