Deciding Whether to Learn Java vs. JavaScript

If you are an aspiring programmer, it can be challenging to choose between learning Java and JavaScript as they are both popular coding languages. However, the two languages differ, ranging from writing and assembling code to execution and capabilities. To help you decide whether to learn Java or JavaScript, read on for more information about Java and JavaScript, as well as their similarities and differences.

An Overview of Java

Java is a stand-alone, object-oriented, and multipurpose programming language first developed by Sun Microsystem and released in 1995. However, Oracle Corporation later acquired it. Java is executed in Java Virtual Machine and can run on any platform.

It is one of the most popular programming languages commonly used in proprietary software and android development.  According to reports, more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Airbnb, Uber, and Netflix, build their applications and back-end systems using Java.

Advantages of Java

Learning Java gives you access to the numerous advantages of the language as follows.

  • It supports multi-threading. Since Java supports multi-threading, it can perform multiple tasks at once.
  • Security. Java offers a highly secure environment for app developments by preventing attacks from viruses and regulating resources misuse. It also utilizes exception handling to spot errors and minimize the risk of crashing.
  • Multipurpose and Platform-Independent. Java is dynamic enough to create any application, and you can also run Java applications on any platform, be it desktop or mobile.

Other advantages of using Java include security, stability, and compatibility with functions written in other languages. However, Java is a complex language to learn and requires specialization in one field, such as mobile or the web. The complexity may therefore make it unsuitable for beginners.

An Overview of JavaScript

JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language that enables the creation of HTML pages. It was first developed in 1995 by Netscape and was initially known as Mocha before it evolved to LiveScript and now JavaScript. Being a client-side programming language, JavaScript is used for interactive functions on web pages.

According to a 2018 survey, JavaScript was the most popular language among developers for the 6th year in a row.  Some tech giants that utilize JavaScript include PayPal, Facebook, Google, Uber, and Netflix.

Advantages of JavaScript

Below are some of the advantages of learning JavaScript.

  • Easy to Learn. JavaScript is among the easiest programming languages to learn, which makes it ideal for beginners. You can learn the fundamentals of the language in a couple of days.
  • It is a Client-Side Scripting Language. You don’t need server-side browsers to process codes as they get executed on their own using the resources available on the user’s system.
  • Powerful Frameworks. JavaScript has numerous powerful frameworks that provide readily available codes that are easy to debug. The frameworks allow users access to features that help in building more engaging web apps.

While it is easy to grasp the basics, JavaScript requires you to learn additional frameworks, which may be time-consuming. Also, its use is highly limited to user interface development.

Similarities between Java and JavaScript

One of the biggest similarities between the two languages is that they are both object-oriented. Therefore, developers must code objects, as well as their relationships with each other. Also, you can use both languages for back-end as well as front-end development. While you can directly embed JavaScript on HTML and implement it as a library or framework, you can use Java as an applet.

Lastly, both coding languages are compatible with web browsers. JavaScript can run in most modern browsers, while Java-driven applets can also run in browsers. However, the applets are less popular due to their compatibility and security issues.

Key Differences between Java and JavaScript

Despite the similarities between Java and JavaScript, the two programming languages differ in the following ways:

  • Purpose. Java can be used for all server-side development, while JavaScript is mainly useful in writing client-side scripts for functions such as boosting the interactivityof a web page.
  • Complexity. Java is much more complex to learn compared to JavaScript and requires specialization. JavaScript, on the other hand, is simple and takes a few days to learn. However, you
  • Usage. JavaScript is limited to making web pages more interactive, while Java can be used anywhere. These include creating financial and banking apps, android applications as well as and desktop applications.
  • Running Platforms. Java applications and programs can run on any platform, while JavaScript applications only run on web browsers.
  • Compilation. Java is a compiled programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine and is not readable by humans, while JavaScript runs on the JavaScript engine on the same syntax that it is written.

How to Start Learning Java or JavaScript

Since each programming language has its strengths depending on its unique functions, none is necessarily better than the other. Whether you want to learn Java to develop android apps or JavaScript to help you build interactive websites, there are numerous resources to help you acquire the skills you need. Kids can also learn their language of choice by taking coding classes online at the comfort of their homes or through in-person programs depending on preference and convenience.

All programming languages are excellent choices depending on what you want to accomplish. With the above information, you will be more equipped to make the right choice on the best programming language to learn, depending on your needs, goals, and preferences.

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