Whenever you start your journey in the programming world you’re likely to come across the terms “high level” and “Low level” programming language. So many people often talk about this. But what does it mean? What is the difference between high-level and low-level programming language? Which programming language should you learn?
In this article, we will learn all about this. But keep in mind that there are no such criteria to decide which is high-level and low-level. For a Java programmer, c language feels like low level and Ruby feels like a high-level language.
Low-level programming language and Machine code
Since a computer can only understand two instructions on and off means 1 and 0, so we have to use only these two signals to provide instructions to a computer. Machine code is set binary signals and strings of 1 and 0 instructions on which computer can perform different types of tasks. Sometimes Decimal and Hexadecimal notations are also used to write machine code.
An example of Machine code
8B542408 83FA0077 06B80000 0000C383 FA027706 B8010000 00C353BB 01000000 B9010000 008D0419 83FA0376 078BD989 C14AEBF1 5BC3
Machine code needs to be written perfectly so that computer can understand and execute that operation perfectly. If you want to retrieve memory from some memory block then you need to specify the exact location of that memory block in machine code.
Normally machine code is very hard to remember and write and it is not a good idea to use machine code for programming. To solve this problem we can use low-level programming languages. Low-level languages are human readable and easy to understand compare to machine code. Low-level language hides machine code behind.
Machine code looks like “10001010 1000100” whereas the low-level language code looks like “MOV AL, 61h” which assembly language code to do the same thing. Assembly language is a lowest level programming language. When you write this low-level program then it will be converted into machine code so that a computer can understand.
when you come one step up then you will find c language which is not as lowest as an assembly language but lower than other programming languages. It needs less process time and less procedure to get converted into machine code.
High-level programming languages
The programming language like Java is high-level languages. You can also consider Java as a mid-level language because it provides some features of low-level programming languages.
High-level programming languages are very easy to understand, read and write. Programming languages like Python, Ruby is completely high-level languages and They provide fewer features compare to low-level programming languages. High-level programming languages are machine independent. Some high-level languages look like human languages so that it is easier to write, read and understand.
In a high-level language, you can write code in parts and combine them later. Classes, objects, variables, integers, loops are all parts of high-level languages. In assembly language you have to write each command line by line and computer performs it one by one. But in a high-level language, you can perform dozens of command using a single line of code. You can tell the machine to do so many things in shortcodes.
Which programming language should I learn low-level or high level?
This is the very common question among new programmers that which programming language should I learn low-level or high-level? or which programming language should I learn first?
Both types of languages have a different kind of advantages and disadvantages. Low-level programming language generally runs very fast because they take less time to convert into machine code. Low-level languages also provide lots of control over data storage, memory, and retrieval. But when you need to perform big tasks and solve big problems it is not a good idea to use low-level language Because you have to write more lines of codes. The low-level language is also more complicated and not very easy to write, read and understand compared to high-level languages.
Whereas high-level languages are more easy to read, write and understand. Programmers can write programmes more efficiently. You can understand and edit written code easily and more safely. When you want to perform and solve big problems then it is a good idea to use high-level languages. You can perform so many instructions in small codes. But the disadvantage of high-level languages is they are slower compared to low-level. They also don’t have features and controls like low-level languages.
Here is the list of some popular high-level languages.
What do you want to do?
If you have an answer of this question then you can get more batter idea to choose programming languages.
If you want to write an Operation system, kernels or something that run very fast at high speed then you have to choose a low-level language. Most of the computer and mobile operating systems are written in c languages and C++ languages.
Can I learn both types of languages
Yes, you can learn both types of languages. So many programmers learn both types of languages. But at the beginner level, it is more difficult and hard to learn both types of languages at once. But you can learn languages one by one according to your need so that you can get better ideas and you can understand things clearly. You can start with C language as most beginners do.
The selection of language mostly depends on what you want to build? or what you want to program? so first decide that. Then do some research on that and try to figure out which language should you pick.
For some programmer or for some kind work a low-level language can be a better option or maybe high-level language. There can be some situation when you need both types of language then you should learn both languages.