Best Programming Languages for Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

best programming language for machine learning and artificial intelligence

So what are the best programming languages for machine learning and artificial intelligence? This is a very good question to ask yourself before starting to learn. There are a lot of different machine learning courses out there which are based on many different languages. This article contains a list of the best ones out there today.

Each of the language will be rated based on what makes up a good machine learning programming language:

    • Popularity in the machine learning community
    • Simplicity: Easy to learn, use and read.
    • Efficiency: Good compilation, execution and minimum memory requirement.
    • Compactness: No one wants to write too much.
    • Locality: A good programming language let’s the programmer concentrate almost solely on the part of the program around the statement currently being worked with.

Here is a list of the 10 best programming languages for machine learning rated from 1 (best) to 10.

1. Python

python logo machine learning

Python is commonly acknowledged as the machine learning programming language. This is mainly due to the massive community and continuous development of high quality machine learning libraries such as sci-kit learn which contains almost anything you need for general machine learning tasks. Python also stands out in various general machine learning tasks such as web mining, natural language processing (NLP), sentiment analysis and chatbots.

We have several python guides available on this site. Check out how to generate test data in Python or this guide to TensorFlow in Python.

Pro and cons of Python

+ Easy to learn and write
+ Large community
+ Minimalism (few lines of code required)
+ Many machine learning courses
+ Many libraries and frameworks
Slow execution compared to e.g. Java
Cumbersome mobile development
Below average for game development

Who should learn Python?

Anyone who wants to get into machine learning should probably have a look at this programming language to be honest. That being said, the majority of Python programmers in the machine learning community are data scientists.

2. C++

c++ logo machine learning

C++ is preferred by many due to its high portability and it is often chosen for multi platform applications and software development. The programming language is highly preferred for machine learning and AI applications in games, network security and cyber attack detection.

Pro and cons of C++

+ Write everything from low-level to complicated GUIs
+ Large community
+ Fast execution
+ Great cross platform capabilities
Difficult to learn
Poor memory management
Freedom reduces safety

Who should learn C++?

You can never really go wrong with this programming language either. However, you definitely have to learn C++, if you are working with embedded hardware or electronics in general.

3. Java

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Java is a great programming language for machine learning and AI development. A lot of times, powerful AI requires search algorithms and other heavy computing task which Java handles extremely well. Java stands out in machine learning tasks such as fraud detection, search and customer support management.

Pro and cons of Java

+ Large community
+ Platform independence
+ Fast execution compared to e.g. Python
+ Great for mobile application development
+ Great for game development
Difficult to learn
Need Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to run

Who should learn Java?

Java’s main advantage over other machine learning programming languages is its platform independence. This makes the language ideal for you if you work with any kind of front-end desktop application development.

4. C#

c# logo machine learning

C# is easy to understand as long as you have a basic knowledge of C/C++. Microsoft developed C# as a modern, general-purpose, object-oriented programming language.

Pro and cons of C#

+ Easy to learn if you know C/C++
+ Large community
+ Fully integrated with the .NET library
+ Safer than C/C++
Complicated if you don’t know C/C++
Less efficient in execution than C/++
Loses cross-platform capabilities due to .NET integration

Who should learn C#?

C# is extremely versatile and you should consider learning it if you are working in any of these fields: mobile apps, cloud-based services, enterprise software, and especially games.

5. R

R logo machine learning

R is a statistical programming language and is considered the go-to language for statistical analysis. It allows the user to easily produce data models and high-quality visualizations. The R programming language is mostly used for classic statistical modelling and tasks like sentiment analysis and fraud detection.

Pro and cons of R

+ Very good for statistics
+ Many libraries and frameworks
Slow execution compared to e.g. Python and Java
Not as beginner friendly as Python

Who should learn R?

R is mainly for statisticians and data scientists who is interested in analyzing, plotting and testing various machine learning models.

6. JavaScript

javascript logo machine learning

Here is another easy-to-learn language and this one will definitely be worth your time if you are into web development. JavaScript in combination with Node.js is one of the best programming languages for web development because of its full-stack features. Moreover, many search engines are written mostly in JavaScript.

Pro and cons of JavaScript

+ Easy to learn and write
+ Full-stack
+ Fast execution compared to e.g. Python
The Node.js platform required good JavaScript knowledge to use
Some concepts may be confusing

Who should learn JavaScript?

It should come as no surprise that JavaScript is mainly for people working with front-end web development, so if this is your field, we highly recommend JavaScript for your machine learning applications.

7. Scala

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We live in a world of big data, and the ability to apply machine learning to large datasets is a highly sought-after skill in tech companies today. Scala is amazing for studying and analyzing large amounts of data that would otherwise be inconvenient if not impossible. The programming language also works great as a platform for building machine learning algorithms and statistical models.

8. Julia

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Julia is a data science programming language which was written with high performance and efficiency in mind. Since the language was mainly developed for data science, it has many useful features for machine learning such as interactive plotting, deep learning tools, and numerical- and scientific computing.

Julia is easy to learn and a great language to pick for data scientists.

9. TypeScript

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You may have guessed it from the name already. TypeScript is a typed superset of JavaScript (JS) and it compiles into plain JavaScript. TypeScript shines in large applications and was designed as a way to simplify JavaScript. The syntax is mostly shared with JavaScript and you will therefore be able to call popular JS libraries and use existing JS code.

JavaScript was never designed to be a programming language for writing big applications – it was designed as a scripting language. TypeScript has a lot of structuring upgrades such as classes, modules and interfaces which is not included is JS.

TypeScript is essentially JavaScript that scales.

10. Lisp

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Lisp is the second oldest programming languages that is still being used today (only one older is Fortran). Many concepts that are used in modern programming languages originates from Lisp. The basic concepts behind Lisp are easy to learn while mastering the language will take time.

Many people have said that learning Lisp will make you a better programmer and developer, even if you are never gonna use this language for anything.

Best Programming Language for Machine Learning

So is it actually possible to decide which programming language is the best for machine learning? On this list we decided to put Python first due to its great versatility and community size, but to be honest, it is not really possible to choose one single language. It really depends on the application. Hopefully the list above can give you some idea about which programming language to pick up next!


We hope you liked this list of the best programming languages for machine learning and artificial intelligence! Which language are you gonna learn first? And did we forget anything? Let us know in the comment section below! Thanks for reading.

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