Python vs Go – Which Language Should You Choose in 2024

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Both Python and Go are extremely relevant today. Both languages are widely used.

Golang fans argue that people flock from Python to the newer and faster language Golang, also known as Go. Is this true? Not really. See this search volume comparison from Google Trends: πŸ‘‡

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:

Python vs Go - Which Programming Language Should You Choose in 59 seconds?

Let’s compare the language features to see which programming language is, in fact, easier to learn and more powerful, Python vs. Go: πŸβš”οΈπŸ¦«

Language Feature Comparison: Go vs Python Syntax

Python is generally considered easier to learn than Golang. Python’s extensive libraries and user-friendly tutorials make it accessible to beginners.

Here’s a more fine-grained comparison of the language features:

Feature🐍 Python🦫 Go
Syntax SimplicityKnown for its simple and readable syntax.Clean and straightforward but might require adjustment.
IndentationEnforces indentation, making code visually consistent.Uses braces {} for code blocks.
Variable Declaration and InitializationDynamic typing, no need for explicit type declaration.Requires explicit type or uses type inference with :=.
Error HandlingUses exceptions, which can be more intuitive for beginners.Error values are returned and checked explicitly.
PointersNo direct pointer manipulation.Uses pointers, but safer than languages like C.
FunctionsSupports default and variable-length arguments.Functions are more strict, no default arguments.
Object-Oriented FeaturesSupports classes, inheritance, and polymorphism.Does not have classes, but uses interfaces and structs.
ConcurrencyNot built-in; requires external libraries or multi-threading.Native support with goroutines and channels.
Modules and PackagesUses modules and packages, with a hierarchical structure.Flat package structure, avoiding cyclical dependencies.
DocumentationExtensive docs with many examples. Interactive shell available.Comprehensive documentation, with a built-in tour.
Slices vs ListsUses lists as built-in, resizable arrays.Uses slices which are more flexible than arrays.
Map vs DictionaryUses dictionaries (dict) for key-value pairs.Uses maps (map) for key-value pairs.

🐍 Python is often heralded as one of the easiest languages to learn, particularly for beginners. Its syntax closely resembles human language, making it highly readable and relatable. The enforced indentation ensures clean code, while dynamic typing means newcomers don’t have to dive deep into understanding types from the get-go.

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, as they will place a semicolon or some other symbol incorrectly and break their program. Python minimizes the number of brackets, commas, and other symbols required.

Python’s error handling with exceptions is intuitive, and its vast standard library allows novices to accomplish a lot without diving into external libraries. Furthermore, Python’s expansive community and many learning resources bolster its beginner-friendly reputation.

One example is our own free Python cheat sheets: πŸ‘‡

On the power and versatility front, both Python and Go stand strong, albeit in different arenas. Python’s dynamic nature, coupled with its extensive standard library, equips it for a myriad of applications, spanning from web development to data science and AI. Its rich array of libraries and frameworks amplifies its capabilities.

For example, the OpenAI API in the rapidly growing space of large language models (LLMs) uses Python and not Go.

🦫 Go, in contrast, excels in scenarios demanding performance, scalability, and concurrency. Its built-in concurrency with goroutines and channels simplifies concurrent programming. The statically typed and straightforward nature of Go ensures that vast codebases remain manageable.

Being compiled to machine code, Go often outpaces interpreted languages in performance. It’s a favorite for system programming and applications necessitating high concurrency.

βš”οΈ TLDR: If ease of learning is the metric, Python takes the crown. However, in terms of power, both languages are formidable, with their strengths tailored to specific use cases such as machine learning and data science (Python) versus system programming and apps with high concurrency (Golang).

Which Language Pays Better?

How much does a Python Developer earn in the USA? On average, a Python developer’s annual salary in the USA stands at $124,748 or $59.97 per hour. Beginners typically start at $103,175 annually, whereas seasoned professionals can earn as much as $156,000 a year.

How much does a Golang Developer earn in the USA? Typically, a Golang developer in the USA receives an annual salary of $135,000 or an hourly rate of $64.90. Those at the entry level can expect around $116,392 per year, while highly experienced professionals might earn up to $170,000 annually.

A Python developer in the USA earns an average of $124,748 annually or $59.97 per hour. In contrast, a Golang developer’s average salary is $135,000 per year or $64.90 per hour. From this comparison, it appears that Golang developers, on average, earn a slightly higher salary than Python developers in the USA.

However, it’s important to consider other factors beyond just the immediate salary. Python has a broader network effect and dominance in various domains, especially in data science, artificial intelligence, and web development. Its widespread use and adaptability mean that there are potentially more job opportunities and a broader range of projects available for

Python developers. For instance, advanced technologies like large language models predominantly use Python.

🐍 Recommended: Alien Technology: Catching Up on LLMs, Prompting, ChatGPT Plugins & Embeddings

Given Python’s extensive ecosystem and broader application, it might be a safer bet for individuals looking at long-term career prospects and versatility in the tech industry. While Golang offers a competitive salary, Python provides both a competitive pay scale and a wider array of opportunities due to its established presence and versatility.

Speaking of which… πŸ‘‡

Python vs. Golang: A Duel of Network Effects

The power of network effects becomes evident, particularly concerning documentation, libraries, and the vast dependencies of applications. In this context, Python undoubtedly emerges as the victor.

Python’s Rich Tapestry of Libraries

Arguably, one of Python’s most commendable strengths is the sheer volume and quality of libraries it offers. Its legacy, dating back to 1991, has fostered a robust ecosystem.

The language’s innate simplicity and flexibility have spurred tens of millions of developers, educators, and authors to contribute and expand its library repertoire over the years.

Whether you’re venturing into data science, AI, or web development, Python’s standard libraries often provide a strong foundation. But if they fall short, the community is armed with third-party libraries, each crafted with precision and expertise. Django, Flask, Streamlit, and Pandas are just a few names in the vast sea of Python’s third-party offerings.

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.

On the flip side, Golang boasts a collection of potent libraries that empower developers to craft efficient applications. However, when juxtaposed with Python’s vastness, it feels somewhat dwarfed.

Documentation and Learning Resources

Python’s extensive lineage, combined with its global acceptance, has led to an abundance of documentation and learning resources. From beginners to seasoned pros, everyone can find guidance tailored to their proficiency level.

Python’s official documentation is a treasure trove of knowledge, and countless online forums, courses, and books further amplify the learning experience.

Go, being relatively younger, has made commendable strides in documentation. The community is active, and resources are consistently growing, but it hasn’t reached Python’s monumental scale yet.

Open-Source Goldmine

Python’s open-source ethos is another feather in its cap. Developers, be it novices or experts, can effortlessly access and modify a plethora of open-source applications. This not only fosters learning but also accelerates the development of commercial-grade applications. The ability to stand on the shoulders of giants, learning from and iterating upon their work, is a privilege that Python offers like no other.

βš”οΈ TLDR: While Go showcases promise and efficiency, Python’s network effects, enriched by its history and global community, make it an unparalleled powerhouse in terms of libraries, documentation, and open-source contributions.

Python Is More Concise Than Go

If you’ve read my book Python One-Liners, you know that I love concise code. Python is the perfect language to write efficient and concise code.

Here are a few examples:

Print Hello World

Python:

print("Hello, World!")

Go:

package main
import "fmt"
func main() {
    fmt.Println("Hello, World!")
}

Defining a Function to Calculate Factorial

Python:

def factorial(n):
    return 1 if n == 0 else n * factorial(n-1)

Go:

package main
func factorial(n int) int {
    if n == 0 {
        return 1
    }
    return n * factorial(n-1)
}

Reading a File and Printing its Content

Python:

with open('file.txt', 'r') as f:
    print(f.read())

Go:

package main
import "io/ioutil"
import "fmt"
func main() {
    content, _ := ioutil.ReadFile("file.txt")
    fmt.Println(string(content))
}

Iterating Over a List (or Slice) and Printing Each Element

Python:

for item in ['a', 'b', 'c']:
    print(item)

Go:

package main
import "fmt"
func main() {
    items := []string{"a", "b", "c"}
    for _, item := range items {
        fmt.Println(item)
    }
}

Defining a Map (or Dictionary) and Accessing a Value by Key

Python:

data = {'name': 'John', 'age': 30}
print(data['name'])

Go:

package main
import "fmt"
func main() {
    data := map[string]interface{}{"name": "John", "age": 30}
    fmt.Println(data["name"])
}

You can observe that Python generally has a more concise syntax, especially for shorter tasks. Go, on the other hand, requires more boilerplate (like package and import statements), but its explicitness can make the code clearer in some complex applications.


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Quick Overview of the Main Differentiations (Go vs Python)

Golang Advantages:

  • Speed: Compiled language, faster than Python. Code translated into bytecode before execution.
  • Concurrency: Supports running multiple scripts simultaneously. Superior to Python’s weak concurrency.
  • Growing Libraries: Rapidly increasing number of AI-related libraries.
  • Suitability for Large Projects: Minimizes errors and easier to debug.
  • Mathematical Calculations: Significantly faster than Python for math.

Golang Disadvantages:

  • Library Extensiveness: Less extensive than Python’s.
  • Difficulty in AI: Requires specialized skills, especially for multithreading.

Why Use Golang in 2023?

  • Familiar Syntax: Similar to C and other C-like languages.
  • Limited Commands: Entire language can be learned without constant documentation checks.
  • Fast Compilation: Compiles quicker than older languages like C.

Python Advantages:

  • Learning Resources: Abundant tutorials for beginners and experts.
  • Integrated Development Environment (IDE): Superior debugging and running capabilities.
  • Supportive Community: Active and helpful for both new and experienced coders.
  • General-Purpose: Suitable for a range of applications, not just web development.
  • Job Opportunities: High demand, with potential for high salaries.
  • Cross-Platform: Consistent performance on Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
  • Modified Versions: Variants like PyPy offer faster speeds and better multitasking.
  • Amateur Game Development: Easier entry into game development compared to languages like C++.

Python Disadvantages:

  • Speed Limitations: Interpreted language; slower than compiled counterparts.

How Do Python and Go Compare?

GoPython
SpeedFasterSlower
ExecutionCompiledInterpreted
Programmers payLowerHigher
Year released20091991
Object-orientedNot reallyYes
ConcurrentYesNot per default
Memory managementYesNo
PopularityPopularEven more popular
Ease of useEasySlightly less easy

If you want to learn how to make money with Python, check out this fun guide:

πŸ’‘ Recommended: 20 Real Python Projects to Make Money in 2023

Summary

Python, developed in 1991, is considered an old-timer in the coding world. On the other hand, Golang, introduced by Google in 2012, is a relatively new language. The primary motivation behind the creation of Golang was to enhance productivity and address the shortcomings of existing programming languages. Despite their differences in age, both languages have their own unique advantages.

🦫 Golang is known for its speed and simplicity. It is designed to be easy to write and comes with a built-in documentation tool called Go doc, which automatically generates documentation. This feature makes the life of a programmer much easier. Golang is also highly efficient and can rival the speed of languages like C/C++. Additionally, it eliminates the need for manual memory management, further simplifying the development process.

🐍 Python, on the other hand, is renowned for its readability and versatility. The language is often described as “executable pseudocode” due to its resemblance to regular English. Even developers with no prior experience in Python can easily understand and work with the language. Python’s syntax is clean and concise, thanks to its use of indented blocks. Furthermore, Python offers a wide range of free libraries that reduce the amount of code required for various tasks.

When it comes to choosing between Golang and Python:

  • If speed and scalability are your top priorities, Golang is an excellent choice. Its performance is comparable to low-level languages like C/C++, while still being user-friendly. Golang is particularly suitable for developers who want to build high-performance tools and applications.
  • If you prioritize readability and ease of use, Python is the way to go. Python’s simplicity and extensive library ecosystem make it an ideal choice for scripting and developing tools that promote collaboration among teams. Python’s clean syntax and indentation-based structure contribute to writing clean and maintainable code.

Both Golang and Python have their own strengths and are suitable for different use cases. If you are a student looking for a high-paying job, Python might be a better choice due to its widespread adoption.

However, if you are already a software engineer and want to explore new horizons, Golang can provide a challenging yet rewarding experience. Ultimately, the choice between Golang and Python depends on your goals, project requirements, and personal preferences.

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