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C# vs Python Comparison: Which Is Best for Backend Development, Machine Learning, and More

By Meghan Reichenbach on Dec 17, 2021

C# and Python represent the two sides of what it means to be a powerful language.

C# is fast, lightweight, and flexible, while Python is robust, simple, and secure. But which language does coding best?

Let’s find out as we compare Python and C#’s learning curve, speed, salary, and see how they rank for backend development, game development, and machine learning. By the end of this guide, you’ll know which language is best for you!

A Quick Overview

Python was developed by Guido van Rossum in 1991. It’s a high-level, interpreted, dynamically typed language that supports OOP, procedural, and functional programming. It’s often described as “batteries included” because of how jam-packed of useful resources the language is.

C#, on the other hand, was developed in 2000 by Anders Hejlsberg at Microsoft. It’s a statically typed, general-purpose language, that supports true OOP, functional, and component-oriented programming, along with others. C# acts as a more modernized and high-level version of C++ and is known as an insanely fast language.

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C# vs Python Comparison

Which To Learn First? C# vs Python

If you’re a new programmer trying to decide your first language, odds are you want something easy to learn, that’s in demand, and has a variety of applications.

C# and Python, more or less, both suit all of these needs.

C# and Python are both easy to learn. Python’s whole philosophy is entrenched in simplicity and readability, and it shows in its straightforward syntax that reads like natural English. It was designed to be powerful, but it’s end up becoming the ultimate beginner language. Similarly, C# also sports a very readable syntax, but the differences come in with complexity.

While C# is readable, its concepts are complex and there are a lot more nuanced procedures and constructions to learn, whereas Python is straightforward through and through, making it not only easy to learn but easy to apply.

In terms of demand, both Python and C# are incredibly popular languages, thanks to how useful and important they’ve become in multiple computer science communities. According to Berkeley, however, research shows that Python is the second most in-demand language (under JavaScript) thanks to its easy learning curve making it an ideal language for beginner and experienced coders.

Lastly, when I say “variety of applications”, I mean the versatility of the language – how many jobs or fields you can work in with this language. Both C# and Python are general-purpose languages, which means in theory, you should be able to create anything you want with C# and Python, but they’re still specialized towards certain fields.

Python is most commonly used in backend development, data science, and app development, while C# covers game development, apps, and VR. From the outset, both languages seem to be versatile enough, but the one semi-fault is C# is it’s dependent on the .NET framework and was designed for Microsoft platforms. The introduction of Visual Studio sorted out cross-platform compatibility, but you’ll still get your best work on Windows-centric applications.

This obstacle by no means ruins C#’s versatility, but it does add one more hoop to jump through to get your wanted results.

Overall, Python is undeniably the best language for first-time coders, not only because it’s easy, valuable, and versatile, but because the language is intuitively designed and will have you crafting your own projects in no time.

Python vs C# Speed

Speed always has and always will be a reigning factor when it comes to technology and the endless pursuit of making things faster.

C# is one of the fastest languages in use and it’s because of the language itself, rather than the implementation of it, thanks to its Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) framework. C# also brings fast compilations, is concurrent, so it runs multiple threads at a time, and executes graphics-heavy applications in no time.

That said, Python’s development time is far faster. I mentioned C# was more complex since it required understanding a lot more concepts. Well, this also means developing applications take longer since you’re having to do more work. Python, on the other hand, has superb development time, for example, it only takes 2 lines to write a PrintName program in Python while it takes in nearly 10 lines in C#!

So on top of its readability making development faster, you can also seemingly get twice the amount of work done in the same amount of code.

I also feel it’s my responsibility to mention that speed is not synonymous with performance. Both Python and C# offer incredible performance in their fields, which are very different. So, this notion of comparing their performance is finicky.

However, if you’re specifically looking at a language’s speed, then C# is the winner.

Python vs C# Salary

Programming doesn’t only offer creative and experimental careers; it also offers well-paying ones.

According to the Stack Overflow survey, Python developers earn on average $120k a year, and C# developers make $110k a year. These numbers do change on a global scale, but you’d also need to consider currency, cost of living, and other factors to interpret the salary differently.

So, we see that Python developers earn more, but do they enjoy the language?

Well, according to the same research, yes! Python is in the top 3 for the most loved programming languages and is number 1 for the most wanted. C#, however, sits at spots 8 and 10 on the respective lists. Now there is still a lot of praise for the language by the C# community, it just doesn’t seem as widespread as Python’s.

All in all, Python offers a better salary and promises to be an enjoyable and fulfilling language to use.

Python vs C# for Game Development

If you’re into gaming at all, then you’re probably familiar with the Unity game engine, and fan-favorite games like Cuphead, Rust, and Hearthstone.

Well, you can go ahead and thank C# for all of that. C# has been the staple language of the Unity framework for years, because of its speed and mastery in handling detail-oriented programs. Games have multiple functions running at a time and need to produce 60 frames a second. That means the programming language needs to support and process all those threads without lag or errors interfering with the gameplay.

In fact, C# became so popular with game development, Microsoft adapted a .NET game development framework.

Along with C# being a popular and excellent game development language, the Unity engine is free to use for personal use and students, so you could effectively start developing games as soon as you wanted. There’s also an insane community behind C# and Unity, so you’ll get loads of outside support from peers and experienced developers.

Oppositely, Python doesn’t have the same hold on game development.

Python’s amazing readability a quick development time also means you have very little control over the actual machine code, a.k.a the code the computer reads. This is because complexities are abstracted away to the point it feels like you’re writing in English. So it’s great for users, but bad for games because it’s slow and inefficient.

However, Python has gained a little attention for developing simple 2D games with libraries like Pyglet, PyGame, and Godot. But overall, it’s just an indisputable fact that if you want to work in game development, learn C#.

Python vs C# for Backend Development

Backend development is what’s happening behind the scenes while you’re on the internet. It’s why when you add an item to your basket, it knows what item and how many to add, and where data and information are stored until it’s called upon.

Both C# and Python support this type of development.

Since the .NET framework is Microsoft, C# backend development integrates seamlessly with Windows platforms. C# is a scalable language and works great for enterprise applications, and it comes with a hefty set of libraries that help make development faster and easier.

Some current companies using C# backend are Stack Overflow and MarketWatch. The only thing against C# is that there are more popular choices for backend development… like JavaScript and Python.

Aside from being safe and easy to work with, Python’s real value in backend development comes with its kitted-out standard library that provides plenty of pre-written code, saving you from wasting time developing basic items.

It’s also popular with enterprise applications because of how easily it integrates with existing code in Java, PHP, and .NET, and is supported by well-known frameworks such as Django, Pyramid, and Flask which work to further simplify and speed up the process of backend development.

Current companies using Python backends include Google, Spotify, and Pinterest.

Essentially both languages support backend development, but Python takes the lead as it’s the more popular option, offers quicker development, and has a lower entry barrier for programmers.

Python vs C# for Machine Learning

Machine learning is one of the most intriguing fields in computer science, in my opinion, because of how progressive and experimental the work is with virtually endless possibilities.

Python is the holy grail of programming languages when it comes to machine learning and data science, and is the most used language in the field.

Its simple syntax and construction make machine learning engineer’s life easier, by adding a level of consistency while they deal with abstract and complex problems. Python is also supported by several libraries and frameworks crucial to machine learning computing and visualization like TensorFlow, Matplotlib, Scikit, Pandas, and SciPy – just to name a few.

Then there’s the useful fact that because Python is so easy to learn, professionals in this field who aren’t programmers are still able to pick up a language quickly and get their projects sorted.

C#’s also supports machine learning with .NET Core’s machine learning platform, ML.NET, which allows users to infuse their own machine learning models into applications. It’s also supported TensorFlowSharp, an open-source TensorFlow library that’s compatible with C#.

While C# is fine to use in machine learning, it doesn’t have the same backing as Python. Python is literally the cornerstone language of machine learning, and therefore businesses and developers prioritize it in the field.

C# vs Python: Choosing the Best Language

C# and Python are powerful, versatile, and important languages that are sure to make you highly employable, highly paid, and completely fulfilled. But which one do you choose?

C# is best for creatives. As the reigning champion in the field of game development, this is best for those looking to create games, or alternatively master Windows applications and programs. It’s tough to learn and requires you to be extremely competent in the language before working professionally, so it’s best for those that already know a language, namely Java or C++.

On the other hand, Python is best for experimenters. Its hold in the machine learning industry means you’ll spend a lot of your time computing and understanding data and discovering new ways to apply it. It’s also a common language used amongst trendy startups, so if you want to be in the latest tech companies, this would also be an excellent choice.

Either way, there’s no one best language, but there’s the best language for you.

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