Python vs. JavaScript: Which should you learn as a beginner?

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Python vs. JavaScript: Which should you learn as a beginner?

When you start programming, it can be tough to decide which programming language to learn. Both Python and JavaScript are great choices for beginners, but what are the differences, and why would you want to learn one over the other? In this article, we’ll take a look at both languages to figure out which one suits you the best.

What is Python?

Python is a flexible, general-purpose programming language that’s a favorite of many developers because it’s concise and easy to read. It started as a language used for writing scripts and utilities, but it became popular and quickly spread to other uses. After all, it was created to be general-purpose.

Python is used for back-end web development to create web applications that run on the webserver. The language’s versatility allows developers to use a range of programming styles to develop both highly complex and simple web applications. Plus, Python web development frameworks like Flask and Django make the process even easier by providing prebuilt code that developers can include in their projects.

Python is also frequently used in data science, scientific computing, machine learning, computer vision, image processing, and more. Because of its easy-to-read syntax, many experts from scientific fields have developed third-party Python libraries that extend the language’s functionality.

This includes NumPy, which adds powerful numerical computational tools, and pandas, one of the most popular data analysis and manipulation tools. You can use SciPy, TensorFlow, or one of the many other machine learning libraries available in Python for machine learning. To visualize data in Python, you can use Matplotlib or seaborn.

Getting started with Python

Ready to start learning Python? Check out our Learn Python 3 course, where you can learn fundamental programming concepts while building software using the most recent version of the Python programming language.

Since there are many uses for Python, you probably won’t want to stop there. Where do you want your new Python skills to take you? If you’re considering a career in data analytics, take your first steps into the field by Analyzing Data with Python. You can then take your skills further and learn how to Analyze Financial Data with Python.

If you’d rather venture into web development, check out either Build Python Web Apps with Django or Build Python Web Apps with Flask.

What is JavaScript?

The first version of JavaScript was designed to be a lightweight, simple language used to add dynamic features to web pages. While Java, Flash, and Silverlight were also once used in web browsers, they fell out of favor, and JavaScript became the only programming language associated with front-end web development. JavaScript works with HTML and CSS to create dynamic, modern web pages.

JavaScript has been updated over the years, adding more features that enabled developers to do even more in the web browser. Many front-end development frameworks written in JavaScript allow developers to create complete applications that run in the browser, including React, Vue.js, and AngularJS. JavaScript has come a long way from its simple roots.

Today, you can use JavaScript for more than just front-end development. With tools like Node.js, you can run JavaScript on a web browser. This means that you can now build both the front end and back end of a web application without switching programming languages. Plus, with frameworks like Express, you can create your own back-end services and APIs.

JavaScript is also used in mobile development to create apps that run on both Android phones and iPhones. React Native is a JavaScript library that gives developers the ability to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for mobile application projects.

Getting started with JavaScript

Want to learn more about JavaScript? Our Learn JavaScript course will teach you all you need to know to start writing JavaScript code while learning basic programming concepts.

But there’s just so much you can do with JavaScript that not all of it can be contained in one course. Where you go from there depends on what you plan on doing.

A lot of beginning JavaScript developers gravitate toward front-end development. If that is the path you want to take, then our Front-End Engineer Career Path can give you the skills you need to build complete front-end applications. Or, you can start with back-end development in our Back-End Engineer Career Path. If you’re up for learning both at the same time, check out our Full-Stack Engineer Career Path.

Of course, JavaScript can be used for more than just web development. If you want to dive into the exciting world of game development, try creating video games with Phaser.js. If you prefer virtual reality, then Learn A-frame could be the course for you.

Summary

Python or JavaScript? Which is the right language for you? You can build web applications with both, but with Python, you can create the back end of a web app, and with JavaScript, you can create both the front end and back end. Then again, with Python, you’ll also be able to do data analysis and machine learning and turn raw data into insights. Check out even more languages you can learn in our programming course catalog.