Python Pros and Cons (2021 Update)
Python code has become one of the fastest growing and most popular programming languages in the world.
Is it a good choice for your next project though?
Python is versatile, it is easy to use and develop. Moreover, it has a very vibrant community. You can easily find support from the best minds in the field.
However, there are several disadvantages of Python, which you should take into consideration, such as speed limitation. Let’s see some more pros and cons of Python compared to other programming languages, to help you decide.
Myself and others have been using Python for both quick scripting as well as developing enterprise software for Fortune 500 companies.
Its power is flexibility and ease of use in both cases. The learning curve is very mild and the language is feature-rich.
Software Architect at Nokia
What is the main use of Python?
Python has been used in web development services for almost 30 years, and today is one of the most dynamically growing languages in the world. It is also known for being one of the most versatile software development technologies.
Why is it so popular? Well, because Python is a high-level, dynamically typed programming language that focuses on rapid and robust development, it can be used for projects of practically any size.
Python is a flexible programming language, so it can actually be used for many things. You can use Python for web apps, mobile app development, machine learning and AI programs, or even creating a video game.
Python is probably most commonly used for web development or data science, but its versatility means it is still extremely popular with other methods. Some of the world’s biggest companies have used it for various purposes, like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Spotify, Instagram and Uber - all of these giants power their platforms with Python.
It’s also a popular programming language for startups who are working under time and cost pressures but still want to deliver a high-quality product to the market on time. Take Django for example.
Django is a free, open source, Python-based framework. It was designed to develop web applications in a fast and easy manner.
Django relies heavily on the DRY concept (Don’t Repeat Yourself), so it encourages rapid development and clean, practical design. It offers a solid foundation for Python development, allowing developers to focus on the parts of their site that are unique to their project, and not waste time with boilerplate code. This makes it particularly useful for startups.
Python is relatively easy to learn, so it can be used by everyone from accountants to scientists, as well as software development or app development, of course.
Is Python worth learning in 2022?
We’re going to go into detail about the specific Python advantages and disadvantages later in this article, but first let’s answer the question: do you need to learn Python in 2022?
The short answer is: yes. Python has some drawbacks compared to alternatives, which we’ll go into later, but the benefits of knowing how to use it outweigh the negatives.
First of all, Python is simple, easy to learn and easy to use. It’s an extremely flexible language, not to mention extendable, which is often so important for businesses and fast-moving times.
And if we’re talking about 2022 specifically, and whether you need Python to stay where the innovation is happening, the answer is yes to that as well.
Python is used in pretty much every trending tech domain, from AI and machine learning to data science web development, web scraping and embedded systems development.
Finally, Python has a huge community support behind it - reports say there are currently over 8 million Python developers around the world. Because it’s open source, Python allows you to benefit from reliable community support and extensive support libraries whenever you have a problem.
So Python is definitely worth learning in 2022, even if you occasionally use other programming languages.
With its simple syntax, open source code, vast support libraries, Python Package Manager, and ability to develop complex applications makes it indispensable. Even if the programming paradigm doesn’t always require it.
What are the advantages of using Python?
Here are some the most important advantages of Python are:
Versatile, easy to use and fast to develop
Python programming language focuses on code readability. It’s versatile, neat, easy to use and learn, readable, and well-structured.
Gregory Reshetniak, Software Architect at Nokia, says:
Myself and others have been using Python for both quick scripting as well as developing enterprise software for Fortune 500 companies. It’s power is flexibility and ease of use in both cases.
The learning curve is very mild and the language is feature-rich. Python is a dynamically typed language, which makes it friendly and faster to develop with, providing REPL as well as notebook-like environments such as Jupyter. The latter is quickly becoming the de facto working environment for data scientists.
Due to Python’s flexibility, it’s easy to conduct exploratory or complex legacy data analysis - basically looking for needles in the haystack when you’re not sure what the needle is.
Python allows you to take the best of different paradigms of programming. It’s object oriented programming, but also actively adopts functional programming features.
Open source with a vibrant Python community
You can download Python for free and write asynchronous code in a matter of minutes. Developing with Python is hassle-free.
What’s more, the Python programmers community is one of the best in the world - it’s very large and active. Some of the best IT minds in the world are contributing to both the language itself and its support forums.
Has all the libraries you can imagine
You can find a library for basically anything you can think of: from web and mobile development, through game development, to machine learning - and if there isn’t one available already, you can easily create your own.
This makes it perfect for all of the use cases we mentioned above, such as mobile app development, machine learning & AI models and video games
Great for prototypes - you can do more with less code
As it was mentioned before, Python is easy to learn and fast to develop with and offers asynchronous coding.
You can do more with less code, which means you can build prototypes, such as graphical user interfaces, and test out ideas much quicker in Python than in other languages.
This means that using it not only saves a lot of time, but also reduces your company’s costs.
Another advantage of Python is that this powerful programming language can increase productivity. Its integration features and control capabilities can enhance the productivity of enterprise software applications.
In comparison to other coding languages, Python is more a very productive language, more so than Java because it is dynamically typed and more concise.
The main disadvantages of Python
Experienced programmers always recommend using the right tools for the project. It’s good to know not only Python’s pros, but also its cons.
What problems can you face by choosing this high level programming language?
Python is an interpreted language, so you may find that it is slower than some other popular languages. But if speed is not the most important consideration for your project, then Python will serve you just fine.
Problems with threading
Threading is not really good in Python due to the Global Interpreter Lock (GIL). GIL is simply a mutex that allows only one thread to execute at a time.
As a result, executing code through multi-threaded CPU-bound programs may be slower than single-threaded ones - says Mateusz Opala, Machine Learning Leader at Netguru.
Luckily there’s a solution for this problem. - We need to implement multiprocessing programs instead of multithreaded ones - and as with most other things in Python, there’s already a package for that. That's what we often do for processing different data types.
Not native to mobile environment
Python is not native to the mobile environment and some programmers see it as a weak language for mobile computing. Android and iOS don’t support mobile computing in Python as an official programming language.
Still, it can be easily used for mobile purposes, but it requires some additional effort.
Gregory Reshetniak explains:
"There are a number of extensive libraries that provide a way to develop for both Android and iOS using Python.
The most notable example would be the Kivy framework that allows using the API to create apps not only mobile applications, but also software meant to run on Windows, Linux and Raspberry PI.
That's a pretty unprecedented variety, and it’s dead easy to use too!"
You should take into consideration that Python’s memory consumption is very high. For that reason, it might not be the best choice for memory intensive tasks.
It might be problematic when a big number of objects are active in RAM. This high consumption is often due to problems freeing up memory with the garbage collector responsible, that no longer needs to be allocated.
High memory usage is often a result of a poor solution and can indeed be refactored, but it’s something to be wary of when using Python.
Simplicity - Problem or unique feature?
Some programmers say that Python’s advantage - simplicity - is also its weak point. But is it really so?
Simplicity is not a disadvantage, it is just a feature which gives you an easy start, a flat learning curve, but "with great power comes great responsibility".
Every language has its special, unique features. The same goes for Python.
Software Engineer at Volvo IT
Is Python a good language for your next project?
If you have not decided yet, here is a summary of pros and cons of Python that might help you take the final decision:
- Python is definitely a language worth considering for your next project.
- The world’s finest use Python, companies like Google, Facebook or Microsoft, and it’s growing very fast. Developers love its features.
- Python is simple, approachable, versatile and complete.
- This language is an obvious choice for machine learning, data analysis and visualisation. AI-first companies should love it.
- Just like any programming language, Python is not a perfect fit for all projects but, as I just showed you, it can be a very good choice in many use case.