The wave of digitalization is inexorably growing, as is the number of novice programmers. Is it worth giving in to the general trend today, and if so, which language is better to start your immersion in the world of code? Let’s look at two giants – Java and Python, which took 1st and 3rd place, respectively, in the ranking TIOBE in May 2023. In this article, we will reveal their features to help you make an informed choice and win your place in the world of development.
What does a Python developer do?
The language offers an extensive set of libraries and modules for various areas, so the tasks of a “Pythonist” depend on the focus of the project:
Web development is one of the main areas of application of Python, where developers create web applications and sites using popular frameworks such as Django and Flask.
Example: creating an online store with a shopping cart and product management system, developing a blog platform or social network with functions for creating profiles, messaging and publishing content.
In other areas, Pythonists work on data analysis and machine learning, and the implementation of artificial intelligence. They use the libraries Pandas, NumPy, Scipy and many others.
Example: creating a stock price forecasting system based on historical data, developing an algorithm for recognizing handwritten text, or creating an intelligent recommendation system for online cinema.
Python is used in process automation, game development, desktop application creation.
Example: creating a file manager or text editor with support for formatting and saving files, writing a script to automatically send daily reports by email, developing a weather tracking application using APIs from third-party services.
Why do many people choose Python as their first programming language?
The language was designed with an emphasis on increasing developer productivity, and therefore on readability, flexibility and versatility of the code. How exactly these qualities manifest themselves in Python:
Python has simple and intuitive syntax, which allows novice programmers to master it faster. There are no strict rules about parentheses or semicolons, and many operations can be performed in just one line.
Makes extensive use of space and indentation to organize code and define blocks. Python code does this structured and easy to read. The language supports many standards and coding style guidelines, such as PEP8, which help developers maintain a consistent code style.
Python dynamically typed language. This allows developers to easily change variable types and pass objects of different types to functions and classes. This flexibility makes many data processing tasks easier.
In Python rich ecosystem of libraries and tools. This feature helps you work with completely different tasks. Essentially, a library is a code template. It can be used constantly so that you don’t have to write the code again every time.
Python supports many idiomatic, regular expressions and constructs to help you write compact and expressive code. For example, in Python you can use list comprehensions to create new lists based on existing data, and you can use multiple variable assignment to exchange the values of variables without using additional ones.
If you are interested in Python, watch our video analysis where we compare it and other languages with each other
Example code in Python
We will clearly demonstrate that Python syntax is simple and understandable even for beginners: we will create a list of data, sort it, calculate the sum and visualize the resulting data. The library will help us with this matplotlibwhich is used to visualize data with two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics.
# Импортируем необходимую библиотеку
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
# Создаём список данных
data = [4, 7, 2, 5, 8, 3, 6, 9, 1]
# Сортируем список
sorted_data = sorted(data)
# Рассчитываем сумму данных
sum_data = sum(data)
print('Отсортированный список:', sorted_data)
print('Сумма данных:', sum_data)
# Визуализируем данные с помощью графика
plt.title('Пример красивой визуализации данных')
What does a Java developer do?
Java specialists also work on a variety of projects. They create enterprise applications and web services that help automate business processes and manage data. These could be applications for accounting and analysis of financial data or CRM. Projects like these often involve developing systems that must be scalable, reliable and easily maintainable to ensure business continuity.
Programmers are involved in mobile development. For example, creating applications for Android devices using Android Studio and the Google Play Services library.
Java developers are involved in building cloud-native applications and microservices using technologies like Docker, Kubernetes, and Spring Boot. This allows you to develop easily scalable and reliable systems that can be deployed in the cloud or on the company’s own servers.
Why do many people choose Java as their first programming language?
Cross platform Java allows you to create applications that can run on different platforms without changes to the source code. This is because Java applications run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which is available for many operating systems.
Thanks to the availability of various libraries and tools such as Eclipse Kura and Java ME Embedded, LibGDX and jMonkeyEngine, the language is suitable for development of computer and mobile games, applications for the Internet of things.
Java is the main language for mobile application development on the Android platform. Using Android Studio and libraries, Java developers can create apps for millions of users.
Java is widely used for development of large enterprise applicationssuch as database management systems, business process automation and financial systems.
The language offers a large selection of libraries and tools for working with big data and machine learning. Developers can use Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark to process big data, as well as libraries like Deeplearning4j to develop machine learning models.
If you are absolutely sure that you are ready to start mastering Java, watch this useful video about what a newbie Java developer needs to consider first.
Why is it easy to learn any other programming language after Java?
One of the main factors that makes Java a good starting point for learning other languages: Java is an object-oriented language. It gives programmers an understanding of the principles of OOP (encapsulation, inheritance, polymorphism), an important concept that is followed in many other languages.
Additionally, Java is strongly typed, which means that data types must be specified explicitly. This feature helps developers better understand how data is represented and processed in programs. Once programmers master these concepts in Java, it will be easier for programmers to move to other languages with similar features – C, C++ and C#. By the way, Java uses a syntax that resembles that of C and C++.
How long do you need to learn Python and Java, and how to get your first work experience?
The total period of immersion in the basics of languages lasts from 6 to 18 months of intensive study, depending on your pace, dedication and perseverance. Please note that the most complete mastery of a language and upgrading of skills takes years of practice and constant development.
To get your first work experience, try considering the following opportunities:
Develop your own pet projects. It is not necessary that the application you write will be used. These are projects that show your ability to write programs. This could be a web app, a mobile app, or a data analytics project.
Get involved in open-source projects, where you can contribute to development and gain experience working in a team. It will also help you build connections with other developers and improve your understanding of code.
Search for internships and mentors in companies working with Python or Java – a great way to gain experience and understanding of real-world projects.
Participate in hackathons and competitions. This will allow you to work on interesting projects under tight deadlines, while also making connections with other participants and industry professionals.
Attend specialized events and meetupsto communicate with colleagues, learn about new trends and share experiences.
Of course, do not forget about self-education: read books, blogs, take training and follow industry developments to make the most of available tools and increase your competitiveness in the labor market.
How can a beginner prepare cases in a portfolio?
A novice developer should pay attention to the following points:
Include in your portfolio 3-5 of the most interesting and complex projects done in Python or Java;
Describe in detail the role and tasks you performed in each project;
Add links to your projects’ source code, if possible, by posting them to GitHub or other code storage platforms;
Add screenshots or demonstration videos of finished projects to simplify visual perception;
Indicate your knowledge of tools and libraries used in development, and also assess your level of proficiency in them;
Highlight experience working in a team or using version control systems like Git;
Tell us about your motivation, interests in developing in a particular language and why you chose this language. You can mention participation in hackathons, courses and conferences;
Check the design and structure of the portfolio: it should be simple, but at the same time attractive and easy to navigate.
So, the choice between Python and Java depends on your preferences, background, goals and what kind of projects you want to do.
Python is simple, ideal for beginners, and has many capabilities for data science, machine learning, and web development.
Java is a powerful, versatile tool that will provide high performance and the ability to develop large enterprise and mobile applications.
Both languages have a huge community and a wealth of learning materials, so either way, you’ll be making the best choice to start your programming career by learning one of them.
Good luck in conquering languages!