Differences Between C and Java Programming Languages

Both C and Java are programming languages but they share numerous similarities and differences. Each language is used for different purposes according to its nature and application. Java is the most used language nowadays that helps in software development, android application development, and more. However, C language is used for developing the operating systems, firmware, and more. In this blog, we will look at C vs Java: the similarities and differences between the two programming languages. 

What is the C programming language?

C is a general-purpose programming language developed by Dennis Ritchie in 1970 at Bell laboratories. It is a middle-level programming language and it is a compiled language. Learning the C language is comparatively easier than Java. At the same time, developing a C program takes time and it is more lengthy than Java. 

Many programming languages are based on the basic features of the C language. It is an imperative procedural language designed to provide memory access at a low level. It helps to map the machine instructions efficiently. C programming language uses the top-down approach and it is suitable for developing portable applications and firmware.

What is the Java language?

Java is an object-oriented, general-purpose, and high-level programming language developed by James Gosling in 1991 at Sun Microsystems. Java was first given the name of OAK after an oak tree, later it was renamed Java. Java is an interpreted language that follows a bottom-up approach.

Java is a powerful programming language used for developing desktop applications, mobile and web apps, embedded systems, big data processing, and more. Sometimes, Java codes can take more time because of the overhead. The main focus of the Java language is to develop handheld device applications. 

C vs Java: Main differences between them

Both C and Java programming language has so many differences between them. We will see some of the top differences between the two languages in the following points

1. It is a middle-level programming languageIt is a high-level programming language
2.C is both structural and procedure-oriented languageIt is an object-oriented language
3.For designing applications, C uses the top-down approachFor designing applications, Java uses the bottom-up approach
4.C language is a compiled programming languageJava is an interpreted programming language
5.C is a platform-dependent languageJava is a platform-independent language that uses WORA (Write Once and Read Any)
6.C language contains 32 keywordsJava language consists of 50 keywords
7.C doesn’t follow OOP (object-oriented programming) conceptsJava follows OOPs concepts
8.C programs are saved with extension .cJava files are saved with the .java extension
9.The programs are function-drivenThe programs in Java are class and object driven
10.Only multi-line comments are possible in C. For example, /* comments */Both single and multi-line comments are possible in Java. For example,  /* comments */ and //comments 
11. C is not as secure as JavaJava is a fully secured language compared to the C language
12.C converts its code to machine language in order to be understandable by the machineJava translates the code to bytecode to be executed by JVM (Java Virtual Machine)
13.C supports pointers Java doesn’t support pointers to provide security 
14.C doesn’t support code reusability and inheritance Java support inheritance to provide code reusability
15.Threading is not supported in the C language Java supports threading and multiple tasks can be performed at once
16.Memory management is not maintained internallyMemory management is maintained internally in Java
17.C language generates files with .exe extension Java language generates files with .class extension 
18Code execution in C happens directlyCode execution in Java is carried out with the help of JVM
19.C language supports both call by value and call by reference Java supports call by value only
20. C is not a portable languageJava is a portable language
21. C language supports goto statement Java doesn’t support the goto statement
22.C language has support for preprocessorsJava language doesn’t support preprocessors
23. C is not a robust languageJava is a robust language because of its strong memory management
24.This language is useful for developing firmware and system applicationIt is helpful in creating enterprise applications and web apps
25.C doesn’t support polymorphism, virtual function, and operator overloading Java support polymorphism, virtual function, and operator overloading 
26. C supports union and structure data typesJava doesn’t support union and structure data types
27.Storage classes are supported in CStorage classes are not supported in Java
28. C supports virtual keywords Java doesn’t support virtual keywords
29.In C language, the default members are publicIn Java, the default members are private
30.In C, data hiding is possible using static In Java, data hiding is possible using private 

Applications of C and Java

Both C and Java are used nowadays according to their programming nature. Below is the list of main applications of C and Java.

Some of the applications of the C language include:

  • Embedded systems
  • Operating systems
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Compiler design
  • MySQL
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • Gaming and Animation 

Some of the applications of Java include:

  • Enterprise applications
  • Network applications
  • Web applications
  • Android applications 
  • Games
  • Desktop applications 
  • Cloud-based applications 
  • Distributed applications
  • Big Data technologies


Apart from C or Java, one can learn a programming language by choosing any of the languages that exist today. But these two languages are most popularly used for developing software and operating systems. If you are new to programming, starting with the C language would be a better choice as it is easy to learn than Java. If you want to work with web apps with great user interaction or to develop desktop or android apps, then Java is the right one for you. In this blog, we learned about C vs Java– the differences between them. Go through all the differences between them and choose the language that best fits your requirements.