7 Best Programming Languages for Machine Learning

Machine learning is everywhere- from recommendation systems to image recognition and natural language processing. All industries are looking forward to harnessing its power, so machine learning professionals are in high demand. But how do we learn machine learning? What languages do you need to know? This article will discuss the seven best programming languages for machine learning, each with unique strengths and applications.

So, if you’re wondering which language to pick for your machine-learning journey, consider reading this article to make a more informed choice!

Best Programming Languages for Machine Learning

Below are the top programming languages to learn if you aspire to be a machine learning professional.

1. Python

Due to its simplicity and readability, Python is often the first choice for machine learning newbies. Libraries like NumPy, pandas, and sci-kit-learn allow developers to easily build sophisticated machine-learning models. Python also has a sound support community, providing endless resources and help.

Real-world application: Companies like Netflix and Instagram use Python for recommendation systems to provide personalized content recommendations to their users.

best programming languages for machine learning

2. R

R is the most widely accepted programming language for data analysis and visualization. If you’re a statistician or data scientist, R can be your best friend. It offers libraries like ggplot2 and dplyr for creating beautiful data visualizations and conducting advanced statistical analysis.

Real-world application: The FDA uses R for drug approval analysis. R’s robust statistical capabilities are crucial for analyzing clinical trial data in the pharmaceutical industry.

3. Java

Java’s portability and robustness make it a strong choice for deploying machine learning models in production. It is excellent for building scalable applications that can handle large volumes of data. 

The Weka library and Deeplearning4j framework are key players in the Java machine learning ecosystem.

Real-world application: Twitter uses Java for real-time machine learning to curate user timelines. Java’s robustness and scalability are vital for a platform with millions of users.

4. Julia

Julia is a relatively new language gaining popularity in the machine-learning community. It is known for its speed. It is perfect for high-performance numerical and scientific computing. With libraries like Flux.jl, Julia is a growing contender in the field.

Real-world application: The Federal Reserve uses Julia for economic modeling and analysis. The language’s speed and mathematical capabilities are ideal for complex financial modeling.

5. Scala

Scala runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and combines functional programming with object-oriented principles. It is a robust choice for building data-intensive applications. Libraries like Breeze and Spark make Scala a strong option for machine learning on big data.

Real-world application: LinkedIn uses Scala for recommendation systems. Scala’s scalability and the ability to handle vast amounts of user data are crucial for providing relevant job recommendations.

best programming languages for machine learning

6. C++

C++ is known for its speed and efficiency, making it a go-to language for applications requiring optimal performance. While it might not be as beginner-friendly as Python, it’s a popular choice for those who need to work with resource-intensive tasks in machine learning.

Real-world application: Adobe uses C++ for image and video processing. The language’s performance is crucial for handling resource-intensive tasks in graphic design software.

7. TensorFlow

TensorFlow is not a standalone programming language. Still, it is a critical framework for machine learning. Developed by Google, it’s an open-source platform for developing and deploying machine learning models. 

TensorFlow provides comprehensive support for deep learning, and its ecosystem is continuously evolving.

Real-world application: Google uses TensorFlow for various applications, including speech recognition and image classification. The framework’s versatility and scalability make it a powerful choice for large-scale projects.

Comparison of the Machine Learning Programming Languages

The table below provides an in-depth comparison of the different programming languages in terms of syntax, capabilities, limitations and potential drawbacks.

LanguageSyntax & ReadabilityLibraries & Ecosystem PerformanceLearning CurveFlexibilityLimitations & DrawbacksReal-world Use
PythonClear and intuitiveAbundant librariesModerateLowHighSlower for high-performance tasks, memory-inefficient for big datasets.Widely used in web services, data science, and artificial intelligence.
RSpecialized syntaxComprehensiveModerateModerateHighSteeper learning curve for non-statisticians, not suitable for general-purpose programming.Predominantly used in statistical analysis, data visualization, and research.
JavaVerbosity and structureRobust ecosystemHighModerateHighLengthy development cycles, not ideal for rapid prototyping.Popular in large-scale applications and real-time systems.
JuliaFast and expressiveGrowing ecosystemHighLowHighSmaller community compared to Python or R.Emerging language for high-performance numerical computing
ScalaCombines paradigmsScalable librariesHighModerateHighSteeper learning curve for non-functional programmers.Ideal for big data processing and distributed computing.
C++Complex and efficientSpeed and low-levelHighHighHighChallenging for beginners, memory management complexities.Commonly used in resource-intensive applications like gaming and image processing.
TensorFlowFramework, not languageDeep learning focusHighModerateHighComplex graph-based model building, not a standalone language.Widely employed by Google for AI applications and research.


Now that you have seen the 7 best programming languages for machine learning, which one are you attracted to learn? 

Choosing the appropriate language for your machine-learning journey depends on your specific needs and goals. While each language has its strengths, it’s crucial to consider potential drawbacks and challenges as well.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and you can even explore multiple languages simultaneously to make the right choice.

I hope this article helped you understand the different choices of programming languages available for your machine-learning journey. If you have any more queries/suggestions, kindly leave a reply.


Can I use more than one programming language for machine learning?

Absolutely! Many professionals use a combination of languages to leverage the strengths of each in different aspects of their projects.

Which language is the fastest for machine learning tasks?

C++ and Julia are known for their speed and efficiency in handling machine learning tasks.

Are there job opportunities for developers skilled in these languages?

Yes, the demand for machine learning professionals is continually growing, and proficiency in these languages can open up exciting career paths.

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