Research and insights are shared by the team at NCube, a company that develops custom software solutions.

When starting the journey as a software developer, one may face a question – which programming language is a must at the onset of a career? Only 5 years ago experts recommended starting with C/C++ and algorithms, but the industry is constantly changing, and now the choice is between the two leaders – JavaScript and Python. An important thing to consider when choosing a language is not to be swayed by statistics. Instead, you should be aware of your strengths as a developer and put them to good use.

Let’s take a look at the survey conducted by Stack Overflow that includes JavaScript developers for remote teams. We can see that JavaScript tops the list, while Python takes 7th place. In this article, we take a look at both technologies with the aim to help developers make a conscious choice based on a set of parameters.

JavaScript vs. Python

JavaScript vs. Python: Let’s break down the reasons for the language distribution.

1. Barrier to entry for professionals

Our team of technology experts believes that one of the key factors that influence language choice is its simplicity. Python is very friendly to beginners and designed in a way that it can be quickly learned. JavaScript, on the other hand, has a higher barrier to entry. Like Python, JavaScript has simple syntax, but there is also so much to learn beyond it. The thing is that it’s impossible to create a working website in JavaScript without knowing its main frameworks.

With Python, the situation is different. For example, our Python developers for remote teams proactively create solutions with Python using simple libs that are easier to learn than JS libraries. Thus, a lot of utilities, data scrapers, and network applications can be created in a matter of hours.

If we consider web development with Python/Django, then the barrier to entry will be the same as with JavaScript’s main frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue. When it comes to complex backend solutions, both Node.js and Python require a significant time investment to learn.

2. Application domains in software development

JavaScript has a wider range of application in web development – from frontend to backend development. Python is mainly used for backend, machine learning, and Data Science. There are considerably fewer vacancies out there for web development in Python because this language is rather niche. While JavaScript is a good choice when it comes to full-stack development, Python is known as the best programming language in the field of machine learning.

3. JavaScript vs. Python: Performance

Performance depends on many factors and cannot be simply regarded in terms of the language limits. It is important to understand that development and correction speed are more important than performance. Overall, Python is a “slow” language for backend as compared to Node.js.

The event-driven architecture and non-blocking input/output of Node.js allows to maximize computer and CPU usage despite its single-threading. This type of architecture is based on asynchronous calls, which enables Node.js servers to handle more concurrent requests as compared to multi-threaded servers.

Python requires a considerably larger amount of resources, which often implies investing in costly equipment. However, due to the fact that the hardware price is gradually going down and software engineers’ salaries are rising, a lot of applications are written in Python.

4. Scalability

Python does not support asynchronous programming, but it does support coroutines that allow to make asynchronous processing. Node.js creates a single-thread asynchronous architecture with input/output not blocking the thread.

Django fans claim it to be an exceedingly scalable framework. Many IT experts doubt this statement. However, there are many facts proving that Django can “digest” tons of traffic. Just have a look at these web applications written in Python:

  • Instagram: What Powers Instagram: Hundreds of Instances, Dozens of Technologies.
  • Pinterest: Alexa rank 37 and 70 Million users in 2013.
  • Bitbucket: 200TB of Code and 2.500.000 Users.
  • Disqus: Serving 400 million people with Python.

It looks like Node.js is not willing to step back and keeps evolving. In a few years, we will probably see Node.js applications that yield the same number of users.

Summary: Python and JS software developers’ salary and career opportunities

We at NCube believe that both languages offer decent income and career opportunities, each in their own way. Our advice to those that take the first steps in IT – start with JavaScript. An abundance of vacancies will let you find your first job faster. Choose Python if you already have a solid background, familiar with Mathematics (or have a degree in one STEM fields) and love complex solutions.

Many giant companies use JavaScript for full-stack development. Engineers with both frontend and backend skills enjoy the advantage of having a well-paid job. Yet we don’t consider Python to be in any way inferior to JavaScript in terms of salary. Python is the core language for data science and machine learning, which as we know are two biggest trends of the nearest future. Thus, Python is an excellent choice for those who want to have life-long job security and work in custom software development.

If you want to be a full-stack developer and create scalable mobile and web applications, then JavaScript is the right choice for you. On the other hand, opt in for Python if you have an eye on Data Science, machine learning and AI. This is our final verdict about JavaScript vs. Python.

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