Kotlin vs Scala: Which JVM Language To Choose For Your Project?


July 15, 2022


March 23rd, 2023

Java has been a revolutionary programming language across the globe. It has catalyzed multiple other languages over these years. These languages are considered Java’s alternative for effective application development. And the two famous names in the programming world under the JVM language category are Kotlin and Scala. Be it Scala or Kotlin, both have been a developer’s delight with their own bouquet of salient features to offer.

There has been a constant comparison between Kotlin vs Scala, though both showcase their innovative ways of enhancing Java. Kotlin focuses on a better version of Java by reducing the boilerplate code and new features like null safe design. In comparison, Scala offers a flexible syntax motivated by functional programming ideas.

Before we compare them both, have a look at their overview and salient features.

What Is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a modern programming language that makes developers happier. It is a concise and safe programming language, easy to pick up, so you can create powerful applications immediately.

Kotlin is a well-known, open-source, JVM programming language developed in 2010, backed by two known entities – JetBrains and Google. It possesses object-oriented features like Smart Casts, Extension Function, etc. It is an ideal choice for Android users since Android Studio lets app development be done in Java and Kotlin. If you are known to Java, learning Kotlin is easier.

Being a functional language too, it offers good support for high-order functions. Kotlin is a modern language that is used to build server-side apps, Android apps, and much more. It majorly targets the Java Virtual Machine and compiles to JavaScript. It is affected by other languages like Groovy, Java, C#, etc. It relies on the current Java Class library for its syntax. It offers interoperability and safety of code to all its developer community.

Features Of Kotlin:

  • Object-oriented and functional programming
  • Clean and compact syntax
  • Operator overloading
  • Compiles to JVM bytecode
  • Extension functions
  • Reduction of a crash at runtime
  • Supports higher-order functions
  • Neat, short, and sleek expression
Companies Using Kotlin:

Uber, Pinterest, Coursera, Evernote, Atlassian, Google, Foursquare, Corda, Trello, Gradle, Amazon, Pivotal, etc.

What Is Scala?

The Scala Programming Language combines object-oriented and functional programming in one concise, high-level language. Scala’s JVM and JavaScript runtimes let you build high-performance systems with easy access to huge ecosystems of libraries.

Scala is a popular JVM language that is meant for large-scale programs for functional programming. It is interoperable with Java and possesses features like code conciseness, higher-order functions, etc. It supports object-oriented programming, type system, collections, custom control structures, traits, functions, and closures. Pattern matching is a highlight in Scala through which you can make use of the match statement and correspond any type of data or lists with your own types.

It has an extensible and flexible code syntax. Scala is majorly intended to showcase common programming patterns in a sleek, short, and effective manner. Since the object-oriented and functional features are integrated, developers find it easy to explore Scala and its features. It infers type information in an automatic manner. It facilitates turning variables mutable or immutable while declaring them.

Scala Features:
  • Immutability and concurrency control
  • High order functions
  • Exact syntax with no boilerplate code
  • Supports object-oriented and functional programming
  • Faster error and bug detection
  • Statically typed and extensible
  • Supports pattern matching and macros
  • Facilitates overloading operators
Companies Using Scala:

Netflix, LinkedIn, Apple, Twitter, LinkedIn, Uber, Foursquare, Tumblr, Sony, The Guardian, precog, Airbnb, etc.

Good Read: Scala vs Java: Features, Applications, And Difference

Kotlin vs Scala: The Similarities

  • Popular and liked by developers
  • Support for Null Safety management
  • Java Virtual Machine (JVM) languages
  • Operator overloading
  • Functional programming


Kotlin vs Scala: An Evaluation Between Two Popular JVM Languages

Parameters Kotlin Scala
Inception 2011 2004
Overview Object-oriented language with functions as first-class citizens Multi-paradigm programming language
Popular Frameworks/Libraries Spek, Klaxon, Kotlin NoSQL, Kanary, Kotlin-Core etc. Epic, Breeze, Saddle, Akka, Summing Bird, Smile, etc.
Android Compatibility Kotlin is ideally used for Android app development Scala is not widely used for Android app development
Compilation Speed Faster compilation speed compared to Scala Slower compilation speed compared to Kotlin
Pattern Matching Kotlin does not completely support pattern matching Scala offers complete support for pattern matching
Length of Code Usually short, to the point Usually larger
Community Support Small-sized community support Large community support
Ease of Learning Easy to understand with basic syntax and simple coding style Powerful and flexible syntax, a little tough for novices
Big Data and Data Science Not ideal for Big Data and Data Science applications Fit for Big Data and Data Science with features like pattern matching
Job Opportunities Lesser Kotlin jobs in the market More Scala jobs in the market
Average Salary of Developers The average Kotlin developer salary in the USA is $130,000 per year or $66.67 per hour. The average Scala developer salary in the USA is $135,900 per year or $69.69 per hour.
Ease of Coding Easy to code and debug with simple syntax It will take time to understand the coding syntax
Inline Functionality The compiler automatically takes functions with ‘inline’ keyword as inline The developer must ask the compiler to inline a method through @inline
Null Point Exceptions Effective and easy null safety management Adds complexity to code while doing null safety management
Operator Overloading Kotlin overloads basic operators making it easy to understand but is less flexible Scala is easy going towards operator overloading making it better for human-readable code
Interoperability with Java It is 100% interoperable with Java. One can call Kotlin code from Java and vice versa. One can access Java classes but cannot call Scala classes in a Java environment
Use Cases Android development, web development, and server-side development Big Data & Machine learning solutions, projects with OOPS, and functional programming
Codes Kotlin Codes are efficient and brief Scala codes are bigger and widespread
Documentation API documentation is extensive but not very well arranged API documentation is simple and well arranged

Kotlin vs Scala: The Bottomline

The debate between Kotlin vs Scala seems like a long one. Kotlin is a comfortable option in an Android environment, however, beyond that, there could be other options. For options like Eclipse, Scala could prove better. Scala IDE is a tad more developed than the Kotlin plug-in, yet it is highly popular amongst Java developers. Being modern, Kotlin is looked at as a better option by developers. Scala is for implementing newer ideas, and Kotlin is for getting the best results.

Be it Scala or Kotlin, both are popular, both are effective, and a developer’s choice.

Finally, it is up to your organizational goals, working culture, and reasons for opting for a Java alternative, that takes a final call. Either one you choose; is a good choice!


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