Python vs Go – Which Language You Should Choose

Both Python and Go are extremely relevant today. Both languages are widely used. However, many people have been switching from Python to the newer and faster language Golang, also known as Go. Go is a much newer language than Python, released by Google in 2009, and it has many advantages over many other programming languages. Golang is an excellent language, although not so one-sidedly better than Python that Python will go away any time soon.

Python, released back in 1991, still is the dominant 800-pound gorilla in the space with many advantages over the younger Go. Despite how fast computer technology changes, programming languages do not become obsolete quickly. Many languages much older than Python are still in common use today. Since Go is already well established as a successful language, Go may also last for decades.

As you go over the article, you can also play my quick 59 seconds (well–it’s really a bit more) video:

Table of Contents

Go is Both Easy to Learn and Fast

Many programming languages are either fast and difficult (for example, C++) or easier to use but too slow for many types of applications (for example, Javascript). While an application coded in a slow language may still run very smoothly, there are limits on what one can do with a slow language. Golang manages to be both fast and easy.

Golang is as fast as languages such as C++, which is no small achievement. Compared to Go, Python is sluggish. It can take tens of times less processing power to run code in Golang than it takes to run programs in Python. Sometimes, this doesn’t matter – an application might take so little processing power to run that it executes fast even if written in a slow language. Programs coded in slow, high-level languages may work perfectly fine. For other types of applications, speed is vital. This difference gives Golang quite an advantage over Python, though there is no reason to use a fast language if the application does not require speed.

Since a large company like Google created Golang, one might expect it to be impressive, and it is. A programmer will not usually start with a more difficult language like C, C++, or assembler. Instead, they will begin with a programming language that is easier to learn and then learn a more difficult language at a later date. Golang is accessible to novices. One could argue that it is even easier than Python, perhaps even more accessible than Javascript.

Go Lets You Get the Job Done With Less Code

Not only is Go faster than Python, but a program written in Go will require fewer lines of code. Many Python programs re-written in Golang take only half or a third as many lines. The less code there is, the easier it is to debug. This element gives Golang another significant advantage. It is no wonder that the popularity of Golang has increased by so much over the last few years.

Python Includes More Libraries

One of the best things about Python is how easy it is to find code for whatever purpose you need. You will easily be able to find code to add to your program without having to create it yourself. Python comes with a very large number of code libraries created by its users since the language first appeared in 1991. For tasks that the libraries the language comes with cannot handle, there are also free third party libraries. The official libraries may not be good enough for all web development tasks, but you can rely on third-party libraries such as Django for web development. Go also has a great deal of free code for you to use and learn from, but it does not quite beat Python in this case. Go has plenty of useful libraries, but Python’s free libraries are even better.

With Python, there is plenty of help available if you want to learn to code an entire application with graphics and animation. You can easily download an open-source app and modify it to learn how to create commercial applications in Python. No other programming language gives its users as much free source code as Python.

Python is Easy

While Python does not manage to be both fast and easy, it is not both slow and challenging either. It is a relatively easy language, only arguably less accessible than Go is. Python’s free libraries and good commonly used tutorials make it easy to learn. The syntax is also easy to learn in Python. Most languages require you to use an unnecessarily large number of symbols. This requirement can frustrate a novice coder very much, as they will place a semicolon or some other symbol in the wrong place and break their program. Python minimizes the number of brackets, commas, and other symbols required.

Which Language Pays Better?

An expert in the Python language can make almost twice as much money as an expert in Go. While a Go developer in the United States earns only $64000 per year, a Python developer makes $120000. Higher pay is not an advantage of the language per se, but it is a significant reason to learn it. Python does not seem to be obsolete; new jobs for Python developers will continue to appear in the future. You probably want to go with Python if you are interested in learning to do one or the other professionally. Go might be a better language in most ways, but Python programming pays better. For someone hiring software developers, Go is, of course, the better programming language if developers cost much less.

Is Python More Object-Oriented?

Most programmers prefer object-oriented languages. Go is only, to a limited extent, object-oriented. Python is much better in this regard. Programming languages have been shifting more towards being object-oriented over the last few decades, and Go seems old fashioned if it is not fully object-oriented.

With an object-oriented language, code is divided into reusable chunks, instead of being a long sequence. Bugs are much easier to find in object-oriented languages, as an error is likely to break only one portion of the code and not the program as a whole. Data is kept separate from instructions. The C languages, javascript, and visual basic are all object-oriented. The lack of object-orientation does not mean that go is hard to learn, but some programmers may find more advanced projects more difficult due to the lack of it.

Different Languages for Different Purposes

Programmers use Python for web development. Go, on the other hand, is what you could call a system language. A system language is used for creating software that one must pay a monthly fee for, engines for video games, and operating systems. A system language is also for industrial machinery and robotics.

System languages are less likely to be for applications that focus on user interaction. Programmers do not create games, word processors, and media players in system languages. Python and Golang have different purposes. However, it is still possible for programmers to have to choose between one or the other for a specific project.

Python is probably better if you are looking for a general-purpose language. While only a small fraction of game development uses Python, it is nonetheless possible to create a commercial-grade game in Python.

Python is Still More Popular in 2020

Even though many people have switched from Python to Go over the last ten years, Python is still at the top. Python is the most popular programming language today, with Go only being the seventh most widely used [2]. While there is no way to know or even define what the most popular programming language is, Python comes out on top according to a variety of different metrics. C++, C#, and Java are the only languages that are near to Python in popularity.

Languages such as Scala and R have become more popular over the last few years and might be able to overtake Python in the future [3]. The PHP, R, Go, and Assembly languages are also among the most popular. However, Python has remained arguably the most popular programming language for a while and may continue to be the most popular for a while longer.

Here are some Google Trends searching for different keywords:

So no matter how you look—Python is not only the larger programming language, it’s also growing at a much faster pace.

Is Python or Go better for AI Programming?

Today, artificial intelligence is everywhere. The economy runs on it, as advertisers use it to make predictions about what consumers will buy. Artificial intelligence is vital to real estate developers and stock traders. AI also makes predictions for medical purposes. Both Go and Python are relevant to artificial intelligence. In fact, they are probably the two most popular languages for AI developers. The two languages’ usefulness for creating AI will help them continue to be popular in the future, as AI becomes increasingly relevant.

Python for AI Programming

Advantages: Availability of libraries

Python has been around since 1991, and since Python appeared, programmers have built vast numbers of free libraries. Many of these libraries are useful for AI programmers. Python libraries include code for datasets, for creating new algorithms, and for processing the most complex data. The TensorFlow library, the most popular library for AI programmers, is for the Python language.

Advantages: The Python community matters

The size of the community that works on a language certainly matters. If a programming language is commonly used, then one can easily find people to work with as well as plentiful source code. Tools like Github make it easier to develop Python code than it ever was before.

There are plenty of excellent master tutorials and books that’ll help you learn the language fast!

Advantages: Python is easy to use

Not only is python code easy to write, but it is also easy to debug and edit. Python code is split into small, manageable chunks. This is less true for most other languages.

Since AI projects often involve large teams, it must be easy for one programmer to understand code written by another. With Python, there is little risk of a programmer not being able to understand the purpose of code they did not write themselves.

Disadvantages: Unsuitable for massive projects

While Python’s ease of use an object orientation can help a mid-sized project succeed, there are some problems with using Python for the most significant projects. If hundreds or even more programmers are involved, Python is not always the right way to go. Python does not use a static type system. The lack of static typing means that the code can be unsure of whether you are trying to put two words together or do a mathematical operation. Type errors happen more commonly in Python than in other languages. If programmers with plenty of experience in coding but relatively little experience in Python work on a Python project, they are annoyed by the syntax, which is in odd ways different from other languages.

Disadvantages: Too many versions of the language exist

Many different versions of Python are used. Python 3 did not fully replace Python 2, which is still commonly used today. This mix of versions results in all sorts of confusion and problems, especially if a large team is working on a project.

Part of the reason why programmers still use older versions of Python is that the libraries are for Python 2 and have not been updated to Python 3 yet. Some programmers also prefer the older version, if only because it is what they have the most experience with. Libraries built for different versions of the programming language are not compatible with each other.

Disadvantages: Cannot take full advantage of new technology

While Golang is for the age of multi-core CPUs, Python is not. Python cannot take advantage of the new technology nearly to the extent that Golang can. There are ways to tap into modern multi-core computing using Python, but even with newer versions of the language, these are workarounds.

Is Go Better for AI Programming?

Advantages: Go is very fast

While speed is not as crucial in AI programming as one might assume, speed is nonetheless relevant. Go is much faster than Python, mainly because it is a compiled language rather than an interpreted language.

With a compiled language, the program is first translated into bytecode that a computer can run directly, and then executed. Every line of text that a programmer writes in Golang is converted into binary before the machine runs it. With a compiled language, instructions are carried out very fast because the code does not have to be translated into binary while the program is running.

Many languages, including many older languages such as C++, are compiled. Many other languages, on the other hand, are interpreted. Python is an interpreted language that has to translate the code into binary and then execute it in real-time. Many programs, including many programs in artificial intelligence, do not require speed, so Python is still usable in AI programming. However, Go has quite an advantage here.

Advantages: Golang supports concurrency

Concurrency is the ability of a programming language to run multiple scripts at the same time. Concurrency is more important than it used to be, including when coding artificial intelligence projects. Python is not truly a concurrent language. At best, it is weakly concurrent.

Advantages: Go has many libraries for AI-related code

While Python is well known for how many free libraries it has, Golang’s libraries are rapidly growing. Many of these free libraries contain AI-related code written in Go. These libraries make it much faster and cheaper for programmers to develop new artificial intelligence projects.

Advantages: Go is better for massive projects

If hundreds of programmers are working on an AI project together, they are more likely to use Go than to use Python. Finding small bugs in massive programs can be a nightmare. Go is better for minimizing the number of errors. It is also easier to debug in Go than in Python.

Advantages: Go is vastly better for mathematical calculations

Go is a faster language in general, and this is particularly true if you are talking about mathematics. A Go program can do math 20 or 50 times faster than a Python program [4]. Many artificial intelligence projects require plenty of mathematical calculations.

Disadvantages: Golang’s libraries are less extensive

While there are many excellent libraries for the Go language, including for Artificial intelligence-related projects, the libraries are not yet as extensive as they are for Python. Python still has an advantage in terms of how much free high-quality code there is available.

Disadvantages: Coding AI in Golang is difficult

If you want to code AI in Golang, you need a team of experts. While Golang can be a fairly easy language to learn for many purposes, this is not the case if you are coding AI. Some features such as multithreading work against Golang when programmers are working on an AI project. Python AI projects can include programmers that do not have such specialized skills.

Overall, both languages are good for AI programming. They may be the two most popular languages for this purpose.

Why do Programmers Choose to Use the Go Language in 2020?

The syntax is familiar to many programmers

The syntax of Go makes it easy for programmers who know other languages to use. Anyone who knows how to program in a C language or in any other language that uses something similar to the C syntax can quickly learn Go. Go is particularly similar to C for more elementary tasks. It becomes more significantly different if more advanced tasks are attempted.

Go has an excellent team behind it

While Google does not back the Go language with the full weight of its resources, there is still an excellent team working on Go. Go is actively being improved by top-end software engineers all the time. Some of the best software engineers in the world are currently working on making the already popular Go language even better.

The number of commands in Go is not enormous

Someone who works with Go for years will pretty much know the whole language and no longer have to look anything up. Languages that contain an enormous number of commands are not likely to be fully learned, so even experienced programmers look up documentation. If programmers have to look everything up, things tend to slow down. When one is learning to code in Go and does not yet know it by heart, it is easy to find a complete list of commands for the language on the official website. The website organizes the commands in a way that makes it easy to find what you are looking for. Despite its power, the Go language is easy to learn, and to a lesser extent, may even be easy to master.

Go programs compile almost instantly

One advantage of using an interpreted language like Python instead of a compiled language like C is that the code can be tested right away without having to be compiled. If one makes a small change to a large program in a compiled language, they must compile it before they can test it. Having to wait for the program to compile before they can test a small change can be quite a hassle.

Thankfully, modern technology makes the compiling process much faster than it was decades ago, and the Go language is designed to compile faster than C does. Often, a Go program will compile effectively instantly. Therefore, programmers are not likely to use Python over Go because one does not have to compile it. The delay in compiling a program is less relevant than ever before.

The Go language has good auto-formatting tools

If every programmer is writing code with their own formatting style, it becomes a chore to read code you didn’t write yourself. With good auto-formatting tools, everyone can use the same style without having to agree on which type of formatting is the best. Auto-formatting can also save you time, as you can write code without worrying about the format and then have the computer automatically format it for you.

The Go language encourages programmers to use a similar style

With Python, there is far more risk of different programmers arguing over what the best programming practices for their language are. This is less of an issue with Go. Go is designed to encourage programmers to use a similar style.

More than one variable can be declared on each line

With most languages, you can only declare a single variable on each line and need separate lines to do math with your variables. With the Go language, one can set the value of X, set the value of Y, add a number to the value of Y, and then multiply X by Y to get Z on the same line of code. This feature reduces the number of lines and makes the code easier to read.

Why Do Programmers Use the Python Language in 2020?

Despite the speed and accessibility of the Go language, Python remains the most popular. As long as the program does not have to be very fast, Python is an excellent language. Speed is not always crucial; this is proven by the fact that the most popular programming language in the world is one of the slower programming languages.

Python has excellent tutorials

If one is new to programming, the early stages are going to be a challenge, and slowly working your way through a lengthy tutorial might be the right way to go. Python has plenty of accessible free tutorials, more than at least most other languages. The active Python community also helps new users get their questions answered as well as possible. Experienced programmers can also find more advanced tutorials. There are also complex program templates available for free.

Python has an excellent integrated development environment

The integrated development environment allows you to not only run but debug your code with a graphical interface. Python’s integrated development environment is particularly good, above the usual standard for programming languages.

The Python community is helpful to amateurs

The Python community on google groups, Reddit, and elsewhere will not have any problem answering the type of questions that new programmers are likely to ask. You will find a supportive and encouraging community if you work with Python.

Experienced programmers can also benefit from the Python community. It is easy to figure out how to build more advanced projects, including client-server architecture, and applications where graphics play an essential role. There will be open source examples for you to learn from, and people willing to help you build these projects. Widely available explanations of how to build a certain type of application tend to be better than their equivalents in Java and other languages.

Python is a general-purpose language

While Python is most strongly associated with web development, it is nonetheless a general-purpose language and not a web development language. Python is general-purpose to the extent that C++ is general-purpose. Python can be used to create anything, games included. Scientists, artificial intelligence researchers, and people building social networks all use Python.

There are always lots of jobs and always lots of workers

Since Python is more popular than at least most other languages, one can easily find high paying work if they know how to code in Python. Developers can also find skilled programmers to work on their projects with ease. There are neither too few nor too many people learning to write code in Python.

Python programmers may make more money than not only Go programmers but programmers in any other language. Python may be the only language where most coders earn six-figure salaries [5]. Those who know many other programming languages approach the six-figure mark, but only with Python do most programmers exceed it.

Python works equally well on many different operating systems

The python language work on Windows, on Mac OS, and on Linux equally well. This cross-platform compatibility helps it remain the world’s most popular language.

Modified versions of the python language exist

If you want a language similar to Python but with faster running speed or more support for concurrency, there is PyPy, which is an alternative implementation of the Python language. Instead of using an interpreter, as regular Python does, PyPy uses something closer to a compiler. PyPy is also much better for multitasking than standard Python is.

It’s easy to get into amateur game development with Python

Amateur game development with C++ can feel like a daunting task unless you already have a lot of programming experience. With Python, you can easily find free templates for games, which you can modify to create your own games. Amateur game design is the most fun way to learn a new programming language.

How Do Python and Go Compare?

GoPython
SpeedFasterSlower
ExecutionCompiled Interpreted
Programmers payLowerHigher
Year released20091991
Object-orientedNot reallyYes
ConcurrentYesNot per default
Memory managementYes No
PopularityPopularEven more popular
Ease of useEasySlightly less easy

Which Language Should I Use in 2020?

It depends on whether or not speed is key in the applications you are trying to develop. The single largest difference between the two languages is that Go is quite a lot faster than Python. If speed matters a lot, Python is not good enough for the task.

If, however, speed is not critical, then Python may be slightly better than Go in most ways. The free source code and application templates available to Python developers are fantastic. It will take a while before the Go libraries catch up to the quality of the Python libraries.

Python is more likely to be used in data science than Go is. If a scientist is interested in converting a great deal of raw data into useful statistics, they will use either Python or the R language [6]. Go is much less likely to be used to create programs that interpret raw data.

If you are unsure of which language to learn, Python pays considerably better. While a good Go programmer will earn a six-figure salary and a mediocre Python programmer will not, typical Python programmers may be better paid than those in any other language.

If you want to learn how to make money with Python, check out my free webinar:

https://blog.finxter.com/webinar-freelancer/

Sources

[1] https://www.guru99.com/python-vs-go.html

[2] https://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/innovation/the-2018-top-programming-languages

[3] https://spectrum.ieee.org/static/interactive-the-top-programming-languages-2018

[4] https://qarea.com/blog/golang-vs-python-which-language-is-best-for-ai-programming

[5] https://www.slant.co/versus/110/126/~python_vs_go

[6] https://www.educba.com/data-science-interview-questions/