Python vs Java: A Deep Dive in Their Differences

April 11, 2024

Python vs Java A Deep Dive in Their Differences

Both are popular programming languages. Both have features that make them stand out. And both have massive communities of dedicated supporters.

But in the battle of which is better for your next project, which one would you choose: Python vs Java?

This is not the first time that these two programming languages have gone head to head. Both have been used in various applications and industries, from web development to data science and everything in between.

It’s pretty much the norm to see constant competition and comparisons in the software development scene. And there’s a good reason for it. They really help us figure out what’s good and what’s not so great about each technology, and even guess which ones are going to be big in the future.

In this deep dive, we will take a closer look at these languages and explore their key differences in terms of syntax, performance, popularity, and more.

So, let’s get started and see how these two languages stack up against each other.

What is Java?

Java, first developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (later acquired by Oracle) and released in 1995, is a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language. The main goal for Java’s designers was to minimize implementation dependencies as much as possible.

Java is built to run everywhere, thanks to its Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The JVM interprets compiled code and acts as a friendly interpreter and error checker. It also has a specialty in the WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) approach.

Most notably, Java became the default language for Android app development, boosting its popularity due to Android’s dominance in the mobile OS market. Besides mobile apps, it is favored in web development and has shown effectiveness in Big Data and IoT applications.

Primary features of Java

Java has stayed popular for a long time because of several benefits and handy features. Let’s dive into some of them.

  • Object-Oriented Programming: Java is a true-blue OOP language, meaning everything in Java is an object.
  • Platform Independence: Java’s WORA approach means that the same code can be run on any hardware or operating system, making it highly portable.
  • Backwards compatible: One of the most reliable features of Java is how the newest versions are still (mostly) compatible with the oldest ones, making upgrading a breeze.
  • Stable app operation: Java’s statically typed nature means developers need to be clear about their data types from the get-go. Basically, if the data types aren’t right, the program won’t run, leading to more stable Java apps.
  • Great for big apps: Java can take on more work and more users without slowing down.
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What is Python?

Developed by Guido van Rossum in 1991, the Python programming language is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose language known for its simplicity and code readability. Over the years, Python has demonstrated remarkable versatility across various domains.

It places a high value on the developer experience, offering a syntax that emphasizes readability through significant indentation, setting it apart from other languages. Python is predominantly utilized in data analytics and machine learning, though its applications extend to web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and more.

What really makes Python stand out is its dynamic typing and a huge library of tools that let you get creative and innovate. With its great flexibility, it’s no wonder Python is one of the fastest-growing languages today.

Primary features of Python

Python comes with several key features that make it a popular choice for developers. Here are some of its most significant ones:

  • Readable and user-friendly syntax: Python’s syntax is intuitive and closely resembles English. It’s concise, requiring fewer lines of code to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Highly versatile: From web development to data science, game development to automation, there’s almost nothing you can’t do with Python.
  • Dynamic typing and asynchronous code: With Python, you don’t have to worry about spelling out every variable’s data type – it figures it out for you. Plus, it has a feature for asynchronous programming, so developers can save time and resources.
  • Extensive library support: The Python standard library offers an extensive collection of tools for various purposes, making it easier to build complex applications quickly.
  • Easy to learn: With its simple syntax, Python is an excellent choice for beginners to learn.

Key Differences Between Python and Java

Whether you are a software developer, a data scientist, or simply an enthusiast looking to learn more about programming languages, you’re probably curious about how Python and Java compare.

Here are some of the key differences between these popular programming languages:


Without a doubt, popularity really matters when picking a programming language. Python and Java are in a friendly competition, both aiming for the top spot!

The April 2024 Popularity of Programming Language (PYPL) index sheds light on the programming languages that are currently on the rise. Python leads the pack, holding a notable advantage over Java, which secures the second spot.

Similarly, GitHub’s Octoverse shows us that between 2018 and 2019, Java lost its narrow lead over Python. But that doesn’t mean the competition between the two languages is finished. Even today, Python hasn’t managed to pull way ahead just yet.

Both Python and Java are the most popular programming languages, with a considerable lead over others. As Python continues to grow and dominate in various fields, it’s safe to say that it will be a force to be reckoned with for some time. However, Java shows no signs of losing its popularity anytime soon, either.

Interpreted vs compiled languages

Another key difference between Python and Java is the way they are processed.

Java is a compiled language, meaning it goes through a two-step process. First, the code is translated into an intermediate form called bytecode. Then, the JVM interprets this bytecode and executes it on any platform.

Python, on the other hand, is an interpreted language, meaning a program reads and executes commands line by line in real-time. This allows for easier debugging as errors are caught immediately.

Java is often classified as a compiled language, yet it can also be seen as both compiled and interpreted since its source code is initially compiled into binary bytecode. Traditionally, interpreted languages were viewed as slower than their compiled counterparts.

However, advancements in just-in-time (JIT) compilation technology have narrowed the performance gap, making interpreted languages nearly as fast or with only a minimal performance difference.

But here’s the thing: working with an interpreted language usually makes it easier to achieve platform independence, handle dynamic typing, and debug stuff.

python code quote


Python and Java have different syntaxes, which can impact a developer’s productivity and readability of code.

Java’s syntax is more verbose and relies heavily on curly braces for defining blocks of code. In comparison, Python uses indentation to define code blocks, making it more readable and concise.

Java is also statically typed, meaning variables’ data types must be declared explicitly. With strict syntax rules, this can lead to longer code and a steeper learning curve. In contrast, Python is dynamically typed, allowing developers to use variables without specifying their data type.

When you dive into Python code, you don’t have to worry about declaring your variables upfront—they get figured out while the program’s running. And guess what? No need for those enclosing braces. Python relies on indentation to keep code blocks neat and tidy, making it super user-friendly and a breeze to pick up.

Performance and stability

Both Java and Python turn their code into bytecode and run it on virtual machines, which means they can work across different operating systems. But here’s where things get interesting—Python compiles its code at runtime, while Java gets all its compiling done beforehand and just hands out the bytecode.

Most of the time, JVMs will do this thing called just-in-time compilation, converting parts of the program into native code as needed. This boosts performance a lot. Python doesn’t usually do this, but there are some versions, like PyPy, that do.

When it comes to speed, Java often leaves Python in the dust. For example, Java code can run a simple binary tree test ten times faster than Python. Java’s static typing also helps catch errors early on, making it more reliable and stable.

And there’s more—Java has virtual threads that help developers get more done with less RAM compared to its traditional way. Meanwhile, Python 3.11 has made some improvements, speeding up start-up times and running faster thanks to a new adaptive interpreter.

Speed of development

Python’s simplicity and readability make it ideal for rapid prototyping, allowing developers to quickly build applications. It requires fewer lines of code compared to Java, making development faster and more efficient.

However, Java has extensive libraries of tools and resources to support enterprise-level applications, making it a better choice for larger projects. It also enforces strict coding standards, ensuring more robust and stable code in the long run.

But thanks to its simplicity, Python is often preferred for smaller or quick development projects or when working with data science and machine learning. In contrast, Java is better suited for developing complex software systems.

Learning curve

Whether you have a background in computer science or are completely new to programming, Java and Python have different learning curves.

Python is known for being super user-friendly and straightforward, making it the perfect starter language for anyone looking to get into programming. Learning Java, on the other hand, is a bit trickier than Python but still more approachable than old-school languages like C++.

Despite that, loads of beginners are still picking Java as their first dive into coding, even though it asks for a bit more elbow grease and dedication to get the hang of compared to learning Python.

Thankfully, there are a ton of learning courses, educational materials, community forums, and heaps of other resources out there that make picking up either of these languages fun and pretty easy.

Java security quote


Python seems to have a bit of an edge over Java when it comes to security, with fewer bugs popping up lately compared to Java and others, which are seeing a bit of an increase.

But, take that with a grain of salt because Java, being super popular for ages, is naturally going to have more bugs reported. Java does have this quirky issue with deserialization that you don’t really see in other programming languages.

Java comes packed with security features like encryption, PKI, XML signatures, and authentication. Plus, it’s got a solid edge because of its strong data typing, unlike Python, which has some vulnerabilities in this area.

Java checks your code both before and during running it to make sure everything sticks to security rules. And when Java turns your code into bytecode, it even checks for viruses and malware. Python, on the other hand, kind of expects you to keep things safe on your own, relying more on developers’ good practices.

Nonetheless, both languages have a strong security foundation and are regularly updated to address any potential vulnerabilities. As long as you are updated on the latest security practices and follow good coding habits, both languages can be secure options for your projects.


Both Java and Python are portable languages, meaning they can be run on different platforms and operating systems. This makes them great choices for developing cross-platform applications.

Java’s bytecode is platform-independent, meaning it can be executed on any operating system with a compatible Java virtual machine. However, some performance differences may occur due to varying virtual machine implementations across different systems.

Python also offers portability, but it does require the Python interpreter to be installed on each system in order to run. However, there are tools like PyInstaller that can package Python programs into standalone executables for easier distribution.

Community and Support

As a software engineer, it’s essential to have a strong support system when working with any programming language. In this regard, both Java and Python have thriving communities with active support forums, blogs, tutorials, and more.

Java has been around since the 1990s and has a wider user base than Python. As a result, it’s easier to find resources when you need help or are looking for solutions.

However, the Python community is growing at an impressive rate, thanks to its popularity in fields such as data science and machine learning. And with the rise of online communities and platforms like Stack Overflow, getting support for Python-related issues has become easier than ever.

Tips for Choosing Between Java and Python

Even with all the factors discussed above, choosing between Java and Python ultimately depends on your project’s specific needs.

Here are some tips to help you make a decision:

Consider the complexity of your project

If you’re working on a simple project that requires quick development time, Python might be the better choice due to its simplicity and ease of use. For more complex projects with strict performance requirements, Java’s static typing and strong data typing can provide more stability and speed.

Think about your team’s experience

If you have a team of experienced Java developers, it might make sense to stick with Java for your project. However, if most of your team members are new to programming or have experience with other languages like JavaScript or PHP, Python could be a better fit due to its beginner-friendly syntax.

Keep the future in mind

When making a decision between Java and Python, it’s important to consider the long-term implications. Look at the current trends in both languages and think about which one is more likely to continue growing and evolving in the future.

Consider the resources and support available

Both Java and Python programs have active communities and a wide range of resources available, but if you have specific requirements or need help with certain aspects of your project, it’s worth researching which language has more robust support in those areas.

Considering outsourcing your app development to a team of seasoned Java or Python pros? It’s a great move if you’re tackling a specific project but lack the in-house resources.

Java developers at work

Do You Want to Hire Java or Python Developers?

Today, Java is still extremely popular, and it’s been a top language for years. The number of companies using Java speaks volumes, and so a skilled Java developer will always be in demand.

StarTechUP is a software company based in the Philippines that offers development services to clients all over the world. We specialize in Java and Python, along with other technologies. Our work with various clients has shown us that while there is a strong demand for Java, Python is also gaining popularity and becoming more widely used.

Either way, we can deliver top-notch, high-quality products in either language. Our team of developers constantly stays up-to-date on the latest trends and advancements in both languages to provide our clients with the best solutions for their needs.

So whether you’re looking for a Java or Python developer, we’ve got you covered!

Contact us here for a FREE consultation.

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin