Java versus C#.NET from Developers Viewpoint

Java or C#.NET, that’s an endless debate. Can you have both? that’s NOT a good idea because it is not necessary, and you cannot afford it. Project managers always debate the merits of one over the other in new architecture design and upgraded system implementations. It’s very odd to see a project being built on both technologies.

Programmers and developers want to become proficient on one of the technologies to enhance their value in job market when they look for new jobs or move up within their own organizations. A developer can learn both but it’s better to focus on one to become the highly valued expert. So, which one is good for you? keep reading and hopefully you’ll get the answer.

What’s in Common

For programmers and developers who build business solution systems in mid-market and enterprise level, both Java and C# are great languages to use. In fact, when you look at the languages themselves, you will find they’re extremely close. Both Java and C# tout features like simplicity, object orientation and robustness.


Developed by Sun Microsystems Inc., Java is a platform-independent, object-oriented language. Java works with a variety of server flavors, including Unix, Linux, NT and others – a breadth that C# and .NET aspire to but have not yet achieved. Java programs are not compiled; they are interpreted as they run, that’s how it delivers the “write once, run anywhere” feature.


Microsoft describes C# as a programming language that makes it easier for C and C++ programmers to generate COM+ ready programs with type safety, garbage collection, simplified type declarations, versioning and scalability support, and other features. C# supports attribute-based programming, operator overloading and defining custom enumerations, among other functions.

What’s the Difference

What C# is missing is Java’s double dose – Java is both a language and a platform, while C# is the language that uses the .NET platform. Java platform works on both UNIX and Windows, but C#.NET is Microsoft Windows specific.

Java and C# run in very different environments. Each of them has very unique API structures. The knowledge required to interface to the APIs is very different.

Because Java deals with platform in the language, you may need more time to learn Java. For an average programmer it takes less than a month to learn a new language, but learning the underlying platform is a much harder task and can take a couple months.

Which One to Choose for Career

As I’ve pointed out, today’s enterprise business solutions are implemented with either Java/J2EE platform or C#/VS.NET. Both Java and C# target the same application development market. Thus programmers who know either Java or C# are walking on the same career path. Because Java supports multiple OS environments, Java programmers have wider choice in career growth. For those who program C# only, their job opportunities are limited to Windows environment only.

Currently there are more Java/J2EE projects going on than C#/.NET in the industry, although C#.NET is catching up. For the foreseeable future, Java will continue to be a significant driving force in IT for large enterprises. In terms of C#, we are seeing more mid-market pilot projects in the .NET environment.

For experienced programmers, I recommend Java as the primary skill-set. Java skill is more valuable because it covers platform knowledge. Java programmers can jump onto C# quickly if there is a need in current job or in a new opportunity. Moving from Java to C# is an easier transition to make. On average, it would take about a week for those fluent in Java to get comfortable with the C# syntax and three months to get familiar with the .NET platform.

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