C# vs Java: Which Is Better For Building Your Product?
Jul 5, 20216 min read
Co-founder and CEO of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, mentor and startup advisor.
C# and Java programming languages have common features and are used for similar purposes, leaving business professionals and developers puzzled about choosing one over another.
For starters, their syntax is quite similar.
Both are known to be easy to learn but they are powerful general-purpose languages at the same time, which makes it even more complicated to decide which one to learn for those only starting with programming or looking to expand their portfolio.
C# (pronounced: c sharp) is a general-purpose, object-oriented, and component-oriented type-safe programming language developed by Andres Hejlsberg and his team at Microsoft in the year 2000. This language runs on the .NET platform. It is also a part of Microsoft Visual Studio and has native support for Windows OS applications. Modernity in features and simplicity in code are the two pillars of C# design. It is continuously updated with contemporary elements and allows for numerous integrations.
Interestingly enough, C# was originally developed as Microsoft’s response to Java due to Java’s increasing popularity at the end of the millennia.
What is Java?
Developed by James Gosling (Sun Microsystems, now Oracle) in 1995, Java is a general-purpose class-based object-oriented language, which is also network-centered and has few implementation dependencies. Before expanding and becoming one of the most used programming languages worldwide, Java was meant to be small-scale technology reserved exclusively for interactive cable TV. Java’s famous paradigm and motto “Write once, run anywhere” (also referenced as WORE) reflects the flexibility and portability of the language, which is inherently platform, OS, compiler independent.
Why should we compare C# and Java?
C# and Java are the perfect rivals.
Seemingly, both of them have many things in common. C# and Java are object-oriented and statically-typed, they use similar syntax and a "curly brace". However, there are numerous factors that set them apart too. Java has been an industry’s standard from day one. Since its development in 1999 based on JScript’s logic, C# has come a long way as a standalone technology too. Choosing between C# and Java sometimes feels like choosing between the excitement of trendy solutions and the security of well-known software, which makes it even more interesting to look into them thoroughly.
To create a comprehensive comparison, we will access performance, scalability, features, security, popularity, community, learning curve, speed of development and cost of development for both languages.
C# vs Java: A full comparison
C# vs Java: performance
C# vs Java performance is a topic of a heated debate among programmers. However, according to benchmarks around the web, C# tends to perform better overall. Its response time is shorter, besides taking up less CPU load. To note fairly, when coupled together with Just-In-Time compilers, Java provides high performance too. Both Java and C# have multithreading architecture as a part of their design, enabling the execution of multiple processes at once.
C# vs Java: scalability
Neither Java nor C# have internal scalability. If you are looking for an architecture that needs to support a large number of users or to store an increasing amount of information, their lack of standardized scalability may be improved significantly by clever Java and C# developers, hardware and third-party applications, such as Async and Await (for C#) or NCache (for Java distributed cache).
Verdict: Both can be scalable with third-party software.
C# vs Java: features
As briefly mentioned in the performance section, multithreading or concurrency is an architecture piece of both C# and Java (with Java executing it on a higher level). To enable higher security, they also have automatic garbage collection.
Java’s most famous for its portability and platform independence. Since Java’s code is compiled in bytecode, it can be executed on any computing machine or OS without a change in syntax. This also means that Java is architecture-neutral, once again highlighting their “write once, run anywhere” philosophy. This programming language is network-centric, meant to be executed on the Internet. Among its other unique features are robust memory management and Java’s concurrent accumulators, which have a separate class and give devs the possibility for safe code threading.
C# is loved among developers for its modern features that allow for easier coding. C# supports operator overloading for multiple operators, its event management with delegates and indexers are just a few of its components that make for a great coding experience. Great lambda support, extension methods, and anonymous types allow programmers to improve code readability and maintainability. Moreover, C# has a large standard library with many pre-made solutions for common development and business goals.
Additionally, Java supports both checked and unchecked exceptions, while C# does not.
Verdict: Depends on your needs.
C# vs Java: security
Understanding the dangers of a framework can help to prevent them when writing code. Java’s design has strong security in mind. Since it is statically typed, it significantly reduces type-related errors, while automatic code verification makes sure the whole code is right before its execution. Java’s vulnerabilities come mostly from integrated libraries and applications. In comparison, C# is much more vulnerable, especially to such threats as SQL and CMD injections. A large number of C# functions are, in a way, a reason for this. To combat possible issues Microsoft website states clear guidelines for secure C# coding.
C# vs Java: popularity and talent pool
According to the community for devs and engineers Stackshare, currently, around 9600 companies use Java in their tech stacks, while C# is reportedly used by approximately 2100 companies, placing it more than a fourth lower application-wise. C# vs Java job market, naturally, reflects this difference. Linkedin, IT job boards and other job search websites are pretty consistent in their demand for Java programmers, while C# and .NET developers have a bit fewer opportunities. According to Glassdoor, an average Java programmer’s salary in the US is approximated at $79,000, while C#.NET devs make less on average with $68,500.
According to Stack Overflow 2020 Developer Survey, which examines programming language use from developers’ perspective, seems to be coherent with other data on Java vs C# popularity. Java lands fifth place among the most used languages, while C# is the seventh. A different picture is seen when devs were asked about their most loved languages to work with. Here C# is a good nine positions above Java with 59.7% and 44,1% of devs expressing their satisfaction respectively.
C# vs Java: community
All programming languages have developers and engineers who prefer strictly one over another or simply enjoy coding with one specific environment or language. When it comes to C# and Java respective communities, it is no different. Both of them have great community support and large libraries that assist in the learning process or in solving particularly tough nuts.
C# vs Java: learning curve
With very similar syntaxes and large communities of professionals and newbies always available to assist, C# and Java have very similar learning curves. Good news — not too steep. Surely, neither of them is as simple as Python, but developers with moderate up experience in the IT field, in general, should have no problem. Not to discourage complete newcomers, if you’re up to a challenge!
C# vs Java: speed of development
When it comes to the cost of development, Java has a large advantage, which lies in its syntax. Java’s syntax is independent of IDE and compilers and is the same on any computing platform. Microsoft's creation C# was originally tailored to fit the Windows operating system best, though with cross-platform successor .NET Core and .NET 5 this issue has been addressed largely. Additionally, C# encourages code reuse. At the end of the day, having a team of competent web developers who know ins and outs of their programming language is what matters in the debate of speed and performance Java vs C#.
C# vs Java: cost of development
Similarly to the speed of development characteristic above, syntax can play a big role in case you need a cross-platform application or plan on expanding it eventually. Java’s high processing power comes with a price too — it needs serious hardware to back up. More often than not, the cost of development may vary based on whether a project has its own or outsourced team, devs’ hourly rates, project complexity. Price estimation is done best with your specific idea or technology in mind, its unique characteristics and industry needs.
Verdict: Costs depend on the market, labor cost, industry, project specificities and characteristics.
C# vs Java: A cheat sheet
C# vs Java: Areas of Use
Now that we have history, characteristics, features and popularity all on their shelves, it is time to find out about the practical applications of these languages, and the projects suitable for C# and Java pros and cons.
What is C# good for?
With its strong side in versatility, compatibility and reusable code components, C# is often used in the development of:
Top companies that use C# are Microsoft, Alibaba, Stack Overflow, Intuit.
What is Java good for?
Since Java was originally developed for the internet, its major area of use lies there too. However, its high-level concurrency tools and top-notch security make it a great choice for governmental and scientific applications.
Java is best suited for:
Scientific applications and software
Famous companies that use Java are Google, Netflix, Airbnb, Instagram, Amazon.
C# and Java are general-purpose object-oriented languages developed in the 90s by Microsoft and Sun Microsystems respectively. Though similar in many ways, these programming languages have their own pros and cons which makes both strong choices for contemporary software and web development.
Java is known for its portability, rigid security, and great concurrency features, while C# has modernized with many built-in functions for simpler coding. It encourages code reuse and has a large community library with pre-made solutions. Overall, Java tends to be a more common solution with a higher and more consistent demand on the market compared to C#.
Depending on the project you are taking upon (or planning to), you may want to rely on the characteristics and functions of these programming languages in order to utilize them productively. C# is best suitable for Windows applications and video game development. It is often used for web applications and enterprise software too. While Java performs great for web apps and Android apps but also is known for its application in scientific and other high precision software.
If you’re still unsure about certain aspects of how exactly these languages and their unique attributes may apply to your project, we can consult you on that! If you are all set and ready to go, we also offer dedicated C# and Java developers specializing in your industry or niche.
Don’t hesitate to contact us right now. The best talent is just a click away!
Robert is a co-founder and CEO of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, who with passion spreads digital revolution all around the internet. Mentor and advisor at startup accelerators. Loves to learn and discover new business models.