By Christian Hardenberg
Python vs Java: How to Make The Right ChoiceBy Leyla El Assry & Nicolas Guénon
The Delivery Hero Tech Academy is a program designed to train the next generation of Backend Software Engineers at Delivery Hero. The program curriculum offers the opportunity to the selected students to choose between two programming languages: Java and Python. In this article, we highlight the differences between the two technologies and their advantages, with the aim of helping you decide which language you would like to learn to kickstart your career in Tech!
To start with, it is important to keep in mind that all programming languages are essentially the same, meaning that they can more or less have the same outcome. Your decision shouldn’t be based on whether a language is easy or hard to learn, but on how you understand it, and how you want to immerse yourself into coding. If you are passionate about new technologies and trying new things, these challenges won’t be difficult to overcome. That said, it remains important to carefully choose the first language you become familiar with, as it can determine how much you will enjoy coding for a living!
Let’s compare the two languages
Take a look at the famous “Hello World” example below.
Here is how it looks in Java:
And here is how it looks in Python:
The differences couldn’t be more noticeable!
Why have we chosen to give you a choice between Java and Python?
Our engineering team has decided to give you the choice between two object-oriented programming (OOP) languages. OOP is a programming paradigm that relies on the concept of classes and objects. It is used to structure a software program into simple, reusable pieces of code blueprints (usually called classes), which are used to create individual instances of objects.
Reasons for this choice:
- You can easily reuse objects in other programs
- It prevents errors by having objects hide some information that shouldn’t be easily accessed
- It makes programs more organized and pre-planned, even the bigger ones
- It offers simple maintenance and legacy code modernization
Even though Java uses a lot of words (called verbose code) (See the “Hello World” code snippet), it is one of the most used languages in the world! Below, we explain why.
It is easy to read and thus, understand
Java is readable and structured well. It is easier to read larger amounts of code in Java.
It decreases security risks
Java doesn’t protect itself from vulnerabilities, but some of its features can prevent some common security flaws. An interesting fact is that Java programmers don’t need to directly manage pointers. A pointer is a variable that stores the memory address of another variable. Incorrect use of pointers is a common cause of bugs in other programming languages.
It is a distributed language to facilitate remote collaboration
Java was designed as a distributed language, which means that it has an integrated mechanism for sharing data and programs among multiple computers for improved performance and efficiency.
It has a very large community of coders
Java’s developer community is unmatched. 44,1% percent of StackOverflow 2020 survey respondents use Java. It has an endless ecosystem of well-tested libraries and frameworks for any use case. Java is most likely to be one of the first languages developers start with in their tech careers.
Java allows a wide range of applications, which is what encourages many people to learn it.
It can be used to develop Android apps
Despite Kotlin (based on the same structure as Java) taking more space in Android development, Java is still the de facto language for Android apps, which encourages a large number of Java developers to become Android programmers.
It is the programming language of several iconic software products
Hadoop, Apache Storm, Eclipse, OpenOffice, Gmail, Atlassian and more were created using Java.
What teams use Java at Delivery Hero?
Java is used by several engineering teams:
Search & Discovery
Within our Search and Discovery team, it is used to support features used to deliver an amazing search experience and personalized ordering experience in more than 45 countries and 25 languages.
Restaurant Partner Solutions
Within our Restaurant Partner Solutions team, it is used to develop products that serve our restaurants globally, managing more than a million orders per day.
Among others, our FinTech team uses Java to build innovative Wallet, Payment, and Anti-Fraud solutions on a global scale.
On the other hand, Python also comes with advantages that could qualify it as your first choice.
It has a very simple structure
Python uses a simple syntax which helps one get into coding in a more natural way.
It is widely used in web development
Python is easily integrated in developing a variety of products using frameworks such as Django, flask and fastapi.
It has a variety of applications, not only in software engineering
Python is popular in Machine Learning, Deep Learning and in the general overarching AI field. It proves very useful in data analysis and visualization. It is also used to write scripts for infrastructure-related tools (DevOps Engineers, Site Reliability Engineers, etc.)
It has an improved productivity
Due to the syntax simplicity of Python, it is considered a very productive language as developers can focus on solving the problem. The code structure allows it to be efficient, which helps teams deliver complex projects faster.
It makes debugging easier
Python is an interpreted language, which means that it does not require a compilation phase to translate the Python language to bytecode (program code that has been compiled from source code into low-level code designed for a software interpreter) that the computer can run. One of the benefits of this approach is that during debugging, the programmer can more easily inspect the state of the program, and even change its code, which facilitates investigating and fixing the problem.
Python is used in a wide range of applications, for example:
Python is very often used to write backend applications, using the framework Django.
Machine learning & Data Analysis
Python is famously used to write machine learning models. One of the reasons is that the language allows the use of a clean and concise syntax in data manipulation tasks.
As mentioned before, Python offers a very human-readable code, and that’s a perfect condition to build and describe prototypes. It also has a huge ecosystem of libraries that are related to this field, like Pandas for data analysis, SciPy for advanced computing, Seaborn for data visualization, and Tensorflow for machine learning.
If you progress in this topic, you’ll work with Jupyter Notebook, a Python integrated environment to do experimentation while defining prototypes, prior to using it in production software.
What teams use Python at Delivery Hero?
Python is used in a wide variety of projects on our tech teams.
In web development, the New Vertical team contributes to the creation of our next generation platform, that works on expanding our delivery to new products such as groceries, pharmaceuticals, flowers and more. They work on warehouse management systems, shopper apps and customer facing systems.
As well as that, the Vendor Tech team uses Python to optimize and automate back-office processes in a fast-growing environment, alongside data-driven forecasting tools, in order to build the next-generation platform for the restaurant portal and the global product catalog.
Another software engineering application of Python is used by the Quick Commerce team, to contribute to work on catalog management, product information management, campaign management, and ad-serving/ad-booking systems.
On the Data side of Python’s possible applications, the Marketing Tech team uses the technology to attract new customers, create a personalized experience for our existing customers, and inform the business with data-driven insights.
Python’s scope of applications is also allowing the Location team to make the world’s addresses and places discoverable in hyper 3D accuracy, to deliver a seamless experience to riders, restaurants and customers.
Interestingly, the Global Salesforce team is using a combination of Python and Java to deliver their products, addressing the needs of the Salesforce platform for internal and external users. Their task is to understand the strategic business needs and to translate these into applications to support the Salesforce platform needs. They create and maintain a dynamic but stable global Salesforce architecture that is adaptable to the local needs.
To sum it up, there is no wrong choice
There is no wrong choice here. Both languages have advantages when starting your journey as a Developer. You should apply what you learn researching the two languages to the projects or topics you are interested in.
Have a think about what you would like to work on later. This will be the best indication of whether you should invest your time into Java or Python!
Thank you for these wonderful insights Leyla and Nicolas!
We hope you enjoyed learning about the differences between Python and Java, and that this article will guide you in making the choice between the two.