Written By Liz Eggleston
Java and C# are popular, powerful programming languages – anyone who has used the internet has probably heard of at least one of these. Other languages and frameworks may gain popularity over time, but Java and C# are still important staples that help keep the internet running. Myron Law, an instructor at Tech Elevator, answers all of our questions about the origins of these two languages, how they compare to each other, and how they are used in today’s tech ecosystem. Plus, Myron shares a couple of free resources for anyone starting to learn Java or C#!
Java and C# have a lot in common and while there are some differences, they are largely similar languages with regard to syntax. The biggest difference is in the toolsets or IDEs and configuration that are used to implement code.
Java and C# still have a substantial user base and they are still some of the most widely used programming languages. You might think an older language would lose relevance, but Java and C# have seen steady growth as technology has become more prevalent in today’s society.
Many large companies use C# or Java and some companies may even use both. Java and C# are still similar in many ways and the deciding factor of when they might be used is probably going to be a specific company’s preference.
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Our Java graduates also accept C# jobs (and vice-a-versa)! Some will also go on to work in Python – you get exposure to the foundations of programming.
Already, I’ve seen Tech Elevator build productivity applications, medical billing, and travel applications for their Capstone Projects. Here are a few examples of real-world applications of the languages.
Examples of Java Projects
Examples of C# Projects
While Java certainly has its advantages, there are some common critiques that you may hear. Java uses a lot of memory since it uses a virtual machine to interpret bytecode files. Another complaint related to this is Java’s slow startup time.
While Java is overall secure, its popularity has allowed people to find holes that can be exploited. Oracle, Java’s current owner, has had complaints that they allow these holes to exist for long periods of time with no fixes.
C# is a compiled language that has its benefits, but it also has drawbacks. If a developer wants to change a code written in C#, they must recompile the code any time a change is made. Code can be finicky and each change has the potential to create new errors that must be fixed.
Learning a programming language can be compared to learning to drive a car. There are many different types of cars and they all have their quirks. Some cars perform better offroad, some cars are built for luxury, and some cars are built for performance.
When you learn to drive a car, it doesn’t matter what model you use for the most part. What matters is the foundational concepts like how to drive safely and signal other drivers. Programming is similar in that you’re learning the underlying skills as well as a specific language.
Learning programming isn’t easy, but Java and C# are not overly difficult either. They have similar syntaxes, are very structured languages, and they’re both well documented. The communities are also supportive, which is important for beginners learning a new language.
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Java is older than C#, released in 1995 by a team led by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems. It was released as part of Sun Microsystem’s Java Platform in an effort to allow consumer electronic devices to communicate with each other. Java revolutionized programming and it is still a popular and largely used language today. Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle at the beginning of 2010 and Oracle has been in control of Java since.
C# was developed by Microsoft around 2002. It was created as part of the company’s .NET initiative. It was later approved by Ecma as an international standard. When it was first released, it was so similar to Java that James Gosling called it an imitation. While the two languages were very similar, they have diverged significantly into two separate and distinct languages.
C# is generally used with Microsoft, but it’s possible to run code on other systems. Unlike Java, a programmer would need to rework the code to make this possible. C# is a popular option when it comes to developing games and several engines including Unity run on C#.
Write once, read anywhere (WORA)
Part of what makes Java so versatile is the fact that it’s code-independent. This means a programmer can write a code for a single system and it will be able to run on any other Java-enabled system without modification. This is possible because a program written in Java is first converted into a bytecode file which is then read by Java Virtual Machine on an enabled device. This feature is one of the reasons Java has remained popular for so long.
With creation of .NET Core, Microsoft has adopted a similar approach of compile once, run anywhere. .NET Core is a cross-platform, open-source framework that allows C# developers to create applications that are system agnostic.
W3Schools is an excellent online resource with free lessons in both Java and C#. It also has a wide variety of other topics related to coding and technology.
Freecodecamp.org is a resource with forums, courses, videos, and articles on a wide variety of topics, including C# and Java. as the name suggests, it’s free!
And of course, Tech Elevator teaches both Java and .NET/C# in our Coding Bootcamp. Check out free Student Resources to get started.
Liz Eggleston is co-founder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students choosing a coding bootcamp.
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