It is of no secret that programming is a tough topic to truly master. More and more people around the world are getting into the field of Computer Science every single day. Before anything, however, one must choose the programming language that he or she wants to start learning. In this Java VS C++ comparison article, we will be comparing and contrasting two of the more popular programming languages out there. Comparison articles can truly help you get a good grasp of the most commonly-used coding languages, and then let you decide which one suits your wants and needs the best.
To start off, I will tell you a little bit about each of the two (Java VS C++) individual programming languages. After you have some basic foundations, we will move on to talking about the main difference between C++ and Java. Finally, at the very end, we’ll lay down some criteria of comparison, and try to find out which of the two languages is worth your time.
Table of Contents
Before we can move on to talking about the Java VS C++ comparison, you need to have some basic, fundamental information about the two languages in question. Don’t worry, I won’t be going too in-depth – we’ll only skim through the most essential points that are relevant in order for you to make your mind up which language would suit your needs the best.
Java was created by James Gosling and two of his colleagues, back in 1991. It was originally based on the syntax of the C programming language since that was the norm back then. Java is a general-purpose programming language, which means that it is intended to be used on a day-to-day basis (in other words, for daily tasks).
One of the more prominent features that make Java stand out in the Java VS C++ comparison is the slogan that accompanies it – “write once, run everywhere” (or WORA, for short). This slogan aims to represent the universality of Java – its creators intended the programming language to be applicable for most programming tasks out there.
Java’s unique adaptability and universality have made it the “go-to” programming language for many different software development companies worldwide. This is especially true with Android development – when it comes to the C++ VS Java debacle, Java stands out with its built-up reputation among different developers.
The majority of the critiques directed at Java can be summarized into three big groups – speed, age, and security. The topic of speed can come as a surprise – not many Java VS C++ articles mention this, but Java used to have big problems when it comes to the speed of the programming language. This may be news to you because nowadays, it is considered to be one of the fastest programming languages out there! That being said, with modern processors, this point might not be relevant, in general.
Age-wise, there are a lot of people that say that Java hasn’t aged well and that it’s very outdated when comparing to other, more progressive programming languages out there (this Java VS C++ comparison is a great example). On its own rite, however, Java aims to dispute these claims with Java 9 – a heavily updated version of the language that is aimed at the naysayers and is there to prove a point. When it comes to security, however, it’s somewhat of an older story – Java had some security issues at the beginning of its lifespan but has fixed them ever-since.
C++ was created in 1979, by Bjarne Stroustrup. Sama as Java, C++ is a general-purpose programming language that was intended to be used on a daily basis.
If this Java VS C++ comparison article is your first time hearing about C++, you might be confused as to how it’s similar or different to the more popular programming language – C. Well, the fact of the matter is that C++ is a deviation from C. The main difference between these two programming languages is that C is mostly used for system-level programming (thus not really being intended for a simple, “daily-task” use), while C++ was created to be used for everything from game creation all the way to software and server-side development.
One of the most notable features of C++ (and this will be quite important when we’ll discuss Java VS C++ performance) is that it has almost unmatchable performance levels. Most industry experts compare it to that of C. Furthermore, C++ is lightweight, has manual memory management and can be used on any platform out there.
Some of the most notable problems with C++ come in when we talk about memory management and security. Having manual memory management means that most of these processes have to be done by the programmers themselves. When it comes to security, you could say that C++ “trades it” for the ability to be able to do almost anything with the language itself. It’s a “high risk – high” reward type of a scenario.
Java VS C++ Differences and Similarities
Now that you know a bit about both of the programming languages in question, we can move on with this Java VS C++ and start talking about the differences and similarities between the two languages.
If you were to ask professional programmers what they think is the main difference between C++ and Java, they would probably tell you that it all boils down to the platform. C++ is platform-dependent, while Java is the opposite – platform-independent. This tends to be a huge factor for people when it comes to choosing C++ VS Java.
When it comes to the similarities that both of these languages share, the fact that Java is object-oriented while C++ is object-oriented AND procedural is probably one of the most important features between them. OOP (or Object-Oriented Programming) has become the norm as of late – most of the modern programming languages these days are either fully or partially object-oriented. This allows the languages to focus on objects instead of the processes, boosting up their efficiency and overall performance.
C++ being procedural is a unique feature to that specific programming language, however. Procedural programming focuses on the processes and functions, which are then carried out by a set of commands that enable them.
So – those are some of the key points that define the difference and similarities between Java VS C++. With all of that said, let’s establish some criteria for our comparison, and then we’ll be able to move to the C++ VS Java analysis itself.
When it comes to programming languages, there are multiple different points from which you can start your analysis. Since it would be frankly impossible to list them all in this Java VS C++ comparison, I’ve chosen three that seem to come up the most when talking about which of the two languages is better.
The three criteria in question are performance, popularity, and salary. Let’s quickly go over them, and then we’ll jump straight into the Java VS C++ comparison.
In a way, performance is an all-encompassing point of analysis. It’s also completely self-explanatory – if a programming language wants to be good, it has to perform well, right? Well, true as that may be, things aren’t always that simple. Some languages focus on different performance aspects than others – it’s just the way that they are built and developed. Furthermore, even though a programming language might be underperforming “on paper”, there might be different variables involved. For example, some specific programming languages might be designed for certain specific purposes and thus require less performing power than their competitors (I’m looking at you, C#).
Although it might seem rather arbitrary at first glance, popularity is actually one of the most important features that a programming language can possess. Honestly, this is even more so evident when it comes to this Java VS C++ comparison. Let me explain.
Imagine that you want to learn a very niche programming language, let’s just say, for your own personal interest. Now, what would be the very first thing that you would do in this situation? That’s right – go to the internet and try to find information that would be relevant to your learning process. So, you Google that programming language… Only to find that there is close to no information about it available online. Sure, you would most likely find snippets here and there, but they don’t help in forming a comprehensive, in-depth look into the language in question. This can be extremely frustrating, but that’s what happens when you decide to learn a language that does not have a “backbone” – a strong community behind it.
And that’s the other thing, too. A strong and passionate community is also super important when it comes to programming languages. Sure, things like Java VS C++ performance are important “objectively”, but if a language lacks a dedicated community, chances are that it’s going to fade away sooner or later. Programming enthusiasts help to preserve their favorite languages, whether it be by keeping an eye on their development, creating valuable and informative material for beginners to learn from, or in any way else.
Finally, we have a programmer’s salary. It will probably be of no surprise to you when I say that different programming languages usually offer different salaries. It depends on multiple different factors, but some of the main ones are complexity, supply VS demand, the programmer’s skill level, the company’s (employer’s) needs, etc. This is also why people are turning more and more towards object-oriented, general-purpose programming languages – they are universal in their design, and thus can be used in many different situations.
If you were to ask around some of the online forums that are dedicated to programming, you might find that there are countless amounts of people who decided to learn programming simply because of the salary and his job security that this career path guarantees. With that said, you can now probably see just how important the salary is when choosing a programming language to start learning.
For the sake of keeping things as simple as possible, I’m going to go over each of the individual points and see how well C++ and Java compare to each other on all of them. Let’s start off with performance.
Which has better Performance?
Although both of the programming languages are rather different in their design, both Java and C++ are seen as the top-notch players performance-wise. That being said, C++ tends to be a little bit faster – this is because Java’s code must be interpreted during the runtime, which makes the processes the language performs slower. When it comes to power, however, both of these languages perform well, albeit in different manners from one another.
Which is more Popular?
It is of no secret that both Java and C++ are super well-known and popular. While C++ used to dominate the market, Java started making itself more and more known back around 2012. Today, Java is widely seen as the more popular alternative, even though it isn’t designed for as wide of general use as C++ is. Both languages have their own huge fanbases, though, and there are mountains of information available about both of them for anyone looking which one to learn.
Which offers a better Salary?
According to Glassdoor.com, a Java developer can expect to make around $88,100 USD per year, or almost $7350 USD per month. A C++ developer, however, is estimated to earn over $95,000 USD per year, which turns out to be close to $8000 USD per year!
It is evident that C++ programmers make more money… But why is that the case? Well, a lot of it has to do with the complexity of the language – C++ is considered to be one of the most difficult programming languages in the world to truly master.
So, which of the two programming languages is worth learning? Well, if you’re looking to learn a language that is very abstract and can be used for many different scenarios in life, but is also rather difficult – C++ is a good choice. If, however, you want to be more specific and try out something more simple – Java is the language for you.
Whatever your choice might be, I hope that this article helped you learn more about Java VS C++ performance, salaries, pros and cons, and many more different aspects. Best of luck!