Python vs. C++: Key differences and uses

Python and C++ are among the most popular programming languages in the world. Find out more about their advantages and disadvantages in our comparison.

Python vs. C++: Two strong contenders in the world of programming

Whether you’ve only just begun to learn programming or have been using different languages for quite some time, sooner or later you’ll come across Python and C++. The two are among the best-known and most widely used programming languages and have been inspiring their respective communities for decades. While fans would certainly find numerous arguments for the language of their choice, neutral observers wonder which option is better. We compare the two and explain their strengths and weaknesses.

Before we compare Python and C++, however, it’s worth taking a closer look at the two programming languages and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

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What are the pros and cons of Python?

Python is an interpreted high-level programming language that was created by Dutch developer Guido van Rossum in 1991. Today, the open-source language is maintained by the Python Software Foundation and is available for free. Python runs on all major operating systems and is platform independent. The focus is on creating a syntax that’s clear and as short as possible. Python is used in sting operations, websites, web applications and software development.

Advantages of Python

  • Learning curve: The focus on simple and easy-to-understand code means that Python is easier to learn than most other programming languages. Even newcomers experience quick learning success and are able to write their first lines of code fairly quickly. To get started, we recommend going through our comprehensive Python tutorial.
  • User-friendliness: Python is renowned for its user-friendliness, offering an easy-to-learn codebase that facilitates rapid comprehension of external projects. Its logically structured syntax requires minimal dialects, enabling collaborative work without requiring extensive training beforehand.
  • Open Source: Python’s enduring success is rooted in its commitment to the open-source philosophy. As a free and open-source programming language, Python fosters widespread adoption, fueling continuous development and adaptations by a diverse community of contributors.
  • Flexibility: Python stands out as an exceptionally flexible language on multiple fronts. Firstly, its versatility extends to its wide range of applications, making it a practical and sensible solution for diverse projects. Secondly, Python’s platform independence ensures maximum portability, enabling seamless execution across various operating systems. Lastly, its compatibility with numerous other languages facilitates effortless integration, simplifying the development process and fostering interoperability.
  • Community: Python’s vast and dedicated community offers tremendous advantages for newcomers. Access to extensive libraries and comprehensive documentation enables targeted approaches to new projects or problem-solving. The community further provides valuable support, assisting with inquiries and swiftly identifying and resolving any bugs that users encounter.
  • Users: Python has gained significant traction among numerous prominent tech companies, many of which rely on the language either partially or entirely for their operations. For example, notable industry leaders like Google and Mozilla use Python.

Disadvantages of Python

  • Speed: Python can have performance disadvantages compared to some other programming languages, especially for large and complex applications. Although new packages have been developed to address this issue, some other languages still tend to exhibit better performance in terms of speed.
  • Mobile Devices: While Python excels in the domains of desktop and server applications, its performance in the mobile space has room for improvement. Mobile apps are rarely written with the programming language.
  • Memory consumption: Python’s relatively high memory consumption is one of its major drawbacks, particularly for memory-intensive projects. In such scenarios, alternative programming languages often offer better choices and more efficient memory utilization.
  • Runtime errors: As a dynamically-typed language, Python poses a higher risk of errors, which may only become apparent during runtime. In order to detect and address issues, thorough testing is needed.
  • Learning other languages: Python focuses on the essentials, which can make the switch to other languages that are more complex somewhat difficult. Starting with a more intricate language first will make it easier to learn other languages.

What are the pros and cons of C++?

C++ is an object-oriented programming language that was created by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1979. It originated as an extension of C and is commonly employed in low-level programming, such as virtual machines, drivers and operating systems. With a concise set of keywords, C++ enjoys widespread popularity globally. The language incorporates functionalities through the C++ standard library and is highly suitable for diverse platforms. However, it’s important to consider the following advantages and disadvantages of C++.

Advantages of C++

  • Versatility: C++ is a highly versatile programming language with a wide range of applications. Beyond its usage in operating systems, drivers and virtual machines, it is also commonly employed in diverse fields such as game development and security systems.
  • Learning other languages: Despite its complexity, C++ can serve as a beneficial entry point for inexperienced developers. Mastering the logical structure of C++ provides a solid foundation that facilitates the learning of other languages. Once developers internalize the concepts and principles of C++, transitioning to other languages becomes more manageable.
  • Portability: C++ is platform independent, ensuring excellent portability. Code development remains independent of operating systems, allowing for seamless switching between platforms.
  • Memory consumption: C++ exhibits low memory consumption due to its minimal abstraction from the underlying architecture. It also eliminates the need for intermediaries and separate runtime environments. With no garbage collection, memory management is entirely in the hands of the programmer, enabling the release of complete memory blocks when required.
  • Scalability: C++ is highly flexible and scalable, making it effortless to begin with a small project and incrementally expand it over time.
  • Community: C++ boasts a large and supportive community, offering guidance and assistance to newcomers. The language also benefits from extensive documentation resources.

Disadvantages of C++

  • Learning curve: C++ has a steeper learning curve compared to languages like Python. While the effort pays off and aids in learning other languages, beginners may find it initially challenging and encounter pitfalls. While the syntax is straightforward at first glance, the language comes with its own set of stumbling blocks. You can find out more about the structure and challenges of the syntax in our C++ tutorial.
  • User-friendliness: The syntax of C++ can be error-prone and unforgiving, leading to user frustration. A longer lead time is often required before writing code or tackling projects. Even experienced users may require multiple attempts to successfully initiate a project in C++.
  • Security: Coding errors not only result in software bugs but also serve as potential entry points for hackers.
  • No Garbage Collector: C++ does not automatically filter unnecessary data, offering memory flexibility but potentially introducing confusion into projects.

What are the difference between Python and C++?

Now that you have a general idea of the two programming languages, let’s delve into a direct comparison of Python and C++. Below we’ll highlight the main differences between the two programming languages.

Differences in syntax

When it comes to syntax, there are significant differences between Python and C++. Python uses indentations, while C++ relies on semicolons and curly braces for delimitation. Python offers more options for Boolean expressions, while C++ only interprets values that correspond to 0 as false. Additionally, in C++, variables are needed to specify values with a storage location. Python, on the other hand, treats everything as an object.

The following two examples illustrate the syntactic differences of Python and C++. Here’s the syntax of Python:

>>> print("This is the python syntax")

And here’s what C++ syntax looks like:

int main() {
cout << "This is the C++-syntax";
return 0;

Other differences

There are plenty more differences between the two:

  • Learning curve: Python is easier to learn than C++ and has more flexible and concise code. In contrast, C++ demands closer attention, as mistakes are swiftly penalized.
  • Performance: C++ outperforms Python in terms of performance, making it advantageous for large projects. Python’s dynamic typing introduces overhead, resulting in slower execution compared to C++.
  • Garbage Collection: While Python supports garbage collection, C++ does not.
  • Memory Management: As a result, Python has automatic memory management. C++ must be managed manually, but it also offers more setting options.
  • Designation: In Python, data doesn’t need to be labeled by a variable, while C++ requires typing.
  • Use: C++ is commonly employed in large-scale projects and low-level hardware programming. It is also well-suited for building extensive games. On the other hand, Python finds its strength in software development and web applications. It is widely used in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Python vs. C++: Which language is better?

The Python vs. C++ duel lacks a clear winner, as the better choice depends on individual preferences and project requirements. Python excels in quick learning and the rapid development of small programs. In contrast, C++ is suitable for large projects and exploring multiple languages, although it requires more time to master. With influential companies like Google favoring Python and Netflix relying on C++, both languages are poised to have significant roles in the future.


Want to know how Python compares to other programming languages? Our Digital Guide has the answers. Find out more about Python vs. Java, Python vs. R, Python vs. Matlab, and Python vs. PHP.

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