Python vs. Node.js: How Are They Different, and How Do You Choose Between Them

Head-to-head comparisons are a useful tool when trying to decide between two excellent products. Developers today have so many resources to choose from that it becomes a daunting task just to make the right choices.

In the spirit of simplifying things, we present to you a head-to-head comparison of Python vs Node.JS. We will investigate each tool in detail, exploring what they are and why they’re useful, then explore their differences and similarities.

In this comparison of Python vs Node.JS, we  will start the ball rolling with Python.

What is Python?

When it comes to explaining Python, no one does it better than the Python Software Foundation, the programming language's organization. The PSF summarizes Python as “…an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level built-in data structures, combined with dynamic typing and dynamic binding, make it very attractive for Rapid Application Development, as well as for use as a scripting or glue language to connect existing components together.”

Web developers, software programmers, and data scientists like Python due to its easy-to-use syntax (a plus for novice programmers) and it’s versatility as a general-purpose programming language. As of the final months of 2020, Python is considered the second most popular programming language, recently overtaking Java, but still behind C. Python’s appeal to veteran programmers, beginning programmers, and non-programmers alike helps explain the language’s surge in popularity.

In summary, Python’s advantages include:

  • Large, extensive support libraries
  • Improved programmer productivity thanks to having to write less code
  • Open-source and free
  • Easy to learn, read, and write
  • Dynamically typed
  • Portable to many platforms
  • It’s an interpreted language, so it directly executes code, line by line

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What is Node.js?

In keeping with getting the definitive word from the source, Nodejs.org defines it as “…a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine.” Developers use Node.js to quickly build scalable, fast network applications, by means of a non-blocking, event-driven I/O model that makes the platform lightweight and efficient.

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform (e.g., Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X), back-end, server environment that lets developers write JavaScript code to run directly in a computer process rather than in a browser.

Although designed for real-time, push-based architectures, it’s often used with regular websites, streaming web applications, real-time web applications, microservices, command-line tools, and back-end application programming interface (API) services.

According to the 2020 Stack Overflow Developers Survey, Node.js came in at number one in the “Frameworks, Libraries, and Tolls” category — garnering 51.4 percent of the vote, far outranking the next best, .NET at 35.1 percent.

Node.js is an excellent resource for Java full-stack web developers and full-stack MEAN developers. Both types of developers will most likely encounter situations where they need to use Node.js.

To sum up the advantages of Node.js:

  • Scalable systems
  • Open-source NPM repository
  • Ideal for microservices
  • Reusable code
  • Improved efficiency from non-blocking I/O paradigm
  • A single programming language, ideal for both front- and back-end projects
  • Fast time to market
  • Production-ready

Python vs Node.JS – Key Differences

Before we talk about differences (and even some similarities) between Python vs Node.JS, we need to make one thing clear: Python is a programming language, and Node.js is a runtime environment for JavaScript. When programmers use Node.js, they are using the same language for the front and back ends. So, Python is a language, JavaScript is a language, and Node.js is a tool that uses JavaScript. Now that we have established what these development tools are, let’s make a closer comparison between Python vs Node.JS.

  • Architecture 

    Node.js is an event-driven environment that allows asynchronous input and output, making it ideal for designing chat apps and web-based games. Python requires special modules to write asynchronous code.
  • Building Data and Memory Intensive Applications 

    Node.js is faster and is able to handle higher memory demands. In comparison, Python’s slower processing rate makes it a poor choice for real-time or memory-intensive apps.
  • Performance and Speed 

    Node.js runs code outside of the web browser. Therefore, it is more resource-efficient and performs at a higher level. It’s event-driven, non-blocking architecture lets users run many processes simultaneously. Python has a single-flow architecture that processes requests slower than Node.js. Both are slower than compiled languages such as Java.
  • Ease of Learning 

    Python is easier to learn if you don’t know JavaScript. It boasts a cleaner, more compact code and features extensive documentation. However, if you know JavaScript, you can quickly learn Node.js.
  • Scalability 

    The asynchronous architecture of Node.js asynchronous architecture enables developers to scale up web applications quickly. It is more difficult to scale with Python, although there are some tools available to help achieve seamless scalability.
  • Extensibility 

    Both Python and Node.js offer good extensibility. Programmers can expand Node.js by using Express, Fastify, Hapi, Koa, Meteor, Nest, and Restify. Python has excellent development frameworks such as CherryPy, Django, Flask, Pyramid, and Web2Py.
  • Errors Handling 

    Although Node.js is good at recognizing exceptions during code applications, Python handles errors better because it troubleshoots bugs and errors faster.
  • Libraries 

    Python uses PIP installs to manage packages and libraries. It’s easy to use, fast, and reliable. Node.js uses NPM, the Node Package Manager. It’s easy to learn, fast, and features extensive documentation.
  • Syntax 

    Node.js closely resembles JavaScript, so if you know the latter, syntax won’t be an issue. However, developers using Python don’t have to write an excessive amount of code, as Node.js users do. Python code is easy to read and grasp, particularly for people with a technical background.
  • Project Usefulness 

    Node.js doesn’t have adequate clear coding standards; thus, it’s not the best framework for large-scale projects. Node.js is better suited for smaller projects involving web app or website development. Python offers accurate coding, ideal for larger projects, especially apps that must perform numerous tasks.
  • Universal Usage 

    Python is a full-stack development tool, so it’s ideal for both front- and back-end development. Python is cross-platform best used for web and desktop development. Node.js is mostly useful for back-end development, though developers can use JavaScript for front-end development. Node.js is cross-platform and is ideal for hybrid mobile apps and desktop applications. The environment is especially advantageous when working with the Internet of Things.
  • User Community 

    Both tools have been around for a while. Consequently, each has a large community filled with experienced users. It helps that both are open source, thereby attracting many users and developers.

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Here’s a quick-reference chart that sums up the differences between Python vs Node.JS.

Python vs Node.JS

Python

Node.js

Learning Curve

Easy to learn and use, good documentation

Very easy to learn if you already know JavaScript

Architecture

Requires extra tools to write asynchronous code. Single-flow architecture

Less opinionated, event-driven ecosystem. Allows asynchronous input/output

Usage

Full-stack development, cross-platform, suitable for desktop and web development

Best used for back-end development, ideal for desktop apps and hybrid mobile apps.

Community

Large, well-established user community

Large, well-established user community

Speed

Single-flow architecture results in slower processing. Slower than compiled languages like Java.

Event-driven architecture means more simultaneously running processes. Runs outside the browser, so it uses fewer resources. Slower than compiled languages.

Errors

Troubleshoots bugs and errors faster

Does a good job recognizing coding errors

Extensibility

Uses development frameworks such as CherryPy, Django, Flask, Pyramid, and Web2Py.

Uses frameworks such as Express, Fastify, Hapi, Koa, Meteor, Nest, and Restify

Scalability

Scaling is difficult, though it has tools to help

Easy to set up scalable web applications due to asynchronous architecture

Do You Want a Career as a Web Developer?

We hope that this article has served as a good Python vs Node.JS guide.There is a greater than ever demand for developers, and Simplilearn can help you get your training in this fantastic career. Simplilearn’s Python certification course covers Python’s fundamentals and how to apply them to real-world applications. The modules, lesson-end projects, and assignments comprising the curriculum cover data operations in Python, strings, conditional statements, error handling, shell scripting, web scraping, and the commonly used Python web framework Django.

On the other hand, if you want to learn Node.js, check out the Node.js certification training course. The course helps you gain an in-depth knowledge of Node.js concepts such as Express.js, Node Packet Manager (NPM), shrinkwrap, NPM Vet, REST, Express.js with MongoDB, and SQLite CRUD operations. The course also focuses on the essential concepts of Node.js and provides hands-on experience in building an HTTP server.

Of course, you don’t have to choose between them — you can always take both! After all, a good programmer should have many different development skills in their skillset.

According to Indeed, Python developers in the US can earn a yearly average of USD 110,447. In India, Python developers can earn ₹566,019, according to Indeed. American Node.js developers can earn an annual average of USD 104,964, according to Payscale, and Glassdoor reports that Node.js developers in India can earn an average of ₹408,000 per year.

Speaking of having more skills, after you’ve benefited from the Python and Node.js courses, consider taking your developer career to newer and greater heights with the Automation Test Engineer Master’s course. The automation test engineer training program is designed to provide you with complete knowledge of software testing technologies such as Selenium Web Driver, TestNG, Maven, AutoIT, Selenium Grid, Appium, and Docker — training you in how to apply engineering principles to software development processes.

Visit Simplilearn today, and get started on a new career path that offers security, opportunity, and marvelous rewards!

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