Is learning Scala worth it?

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One thing you are bound to come across is: Scala is complicated. Some developers agree to this, considering the steepness of the learning curve. Typically, some features in this coding language are complex – the Tuples, Macro, Functions, etc. However, everybody agrees that learning Scala is well worth it.

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So, is learning Scala worth it? That question seems broad, but learning Scala depends on the applications you are going to handle. Some developers are compelled to learn Scala because they are taking up a new job – it’s the coding language that the company uses. For others, it is just a way of adding a new skill among the many skills they possess.

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But did you know that Scala comes with a mix of OOP and FP, both of which help you write better code and help you solve sophisticated problems at higher abstraction levels? That makes it worth it to learn Scala. However, the trade-off is a steeper learning curve.

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Scala’s range of powerful tools makes it easier to deal with complex issues – for example, you can compose complex behavior across different boundaries with simple building blocks using concurrency. This is possible thanks to features like Futures, Actor model, and Parallel Collections, which are fantastic models of computation.
The industry has impressively adopted Scala, with Twitter and Foursquare some of the major driving forces behind Scala. These big companies choose Scala because they know it’s a powerful programming language for maintaining a large codebase in a programming language; thus, relying on Scala and its foundations ensures quality control over the product.

Scala describes itself as a functional object language – it has good parts from both paradigms. Ideally, it means that developers can switch from an object-oriented Programming paradigm to a Functional Programming paradigm at their own pace, with the risk of code fragmentation in a large codebase.

Is learning Scala worth it
Is learning Scala worth it

Is Scala worth learning in 2021?

Scala is considered one of the most potent Java alternatives currently. It’s the JVM language of choice, and many developers prefer it because it’s a language that allows many people to write code in it. Typically, Scala compiles to JVM bytecode which promises JVM and performance.

By now, you know that Scala has robust abstractions for concurrency, making it highly versatile and conducive for future proof high-volume applications. Beyond concurrency, Scala has the right ingredients for most applications. However, it is worth noting that since Scala is midway, OOP and FP can be a turn-off for the most purist -but if carefully used, it can be a programming language of delight. 

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It’s clear; Scala is vital at many things – but the standout is the multi-paradigm language. On top of it comes the superiority of functional programming idioms to take advantage of multi-core CPU architectures. 

Realize that Scala solves many issues witnessed in Java – for example, minimal to no boilerplate. Additionally, it comes with multiple best practices and patterns, including immutability with the val keyword and case classes.

Though a strongly statically typed language, Scala still provides the fluency and flexibility of dynamic languages such as Python. The statistical typing nature prevents you from harmful practices that normally happen at runtime within dynamic languages. 

Scala is worth learning in 2021 due to the following reasons:

Supports object-oriented programming and functional programming paradigms. This gives you a chance to learn two paradigms at a go. 

Interoperability with Java: Scala can run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and interoperates nicely with Java code. This way, Scala developers can use Java libraries from Scala code.

Best practices and patterns built-In language: Scala was developed to support the latest technologies in the programming world. That’s why it is rich in inbuilt language patterns and best practices such as Val declares top-level immutability – a much better way than the overloaded final keyword within Java or const/read-only in C#. Additionally, it has case classes, making it easy to create immutable types. 

Expressiveness: has multiple useful codes, which attract more developers to write clean codes. 

Statically typed: this helps prevent developers from doing bad things. However, it also is a dynamic language with a smart compiler.

Growing Frameworks: the Scala ecosystem is constantly evolving – it has some of the best libraries and frameworks. Scala’s growth is in part due to the companies that are using it. Get some new frameworks such as Lift and Play.

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Scala vs. Python

If you are familiar with data science, cluster computing, and Big Data, Python and Scala might have come across. Both languages lend great support for creating efficient and practical projects that support emerging innovations. 


Python is a popular programming language as it supports a wide range of applications. It is an interpreted, object-oriented, high level and dynamic language. This open-source language has wide application in both automation and scripting.

Many developers prefer Python as it is easy to learn and use, faster and powerful. Besides, its high data structures alongside a simple approach to object-oriented programming make it popular among programmers. Besides interfacing with multiple OS system calls, Python supports various programming models.

Advantages of Python

  • Easy to learn and use
  • A tremendous community support
  • Well documented 
  • Has a substantial set of libraries and frameworks
  • It has inbuilt support for datatypes

Disadvantages of Python

  • Very slow 
  • High memory consumption 
  • Language fragmentation
  • Inflexible user base 


Though an object-oriented language, Scala offers support for functional programming alongside a robust static type system. Scala was initially built for Java Virtual Machine (JVM), making it easier to interact with Java code. 

Static types in Scala help prevent bugs within complex apps while the JVM allows the building of high-performance systems, thanks to the easy access to huge ecosystems of libraries.

Advantages of Scala

  • High run speed 
  • Scalable 
  • Great for concurrency 
  • Expressive 
  • Supports multiple paradigms
  • Compiles to JVM bytecode
  • Supports functional programming 


  • Steep learning curve 
  • It lacks true tail recursive optimization as it runs on JVM 
  • Less backward compatibility 
  • Limited community support 

Scala vs. Python Comparison 

Performance: Python is dynamically typed, creating extra load for the interpreter at run time. By contrast, Scala is statistically typed and uses JVM; thus, it runs ten times faster than Python.

Platform: Python has many interpreters – it interfaces with multiple OS calls and libraries. Scala is based on JVM. Further, its source code is compiled to a bytecode then executed by JVM. 

Concurrency: there is no proper multithreading in Python, but it supports heavyweight process forking. The reactive cores and asynchronous libraries make Scala a better choice for implementing concurrency.

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Testing: the dynamic nature of Python makes the testing process and methodologies much complex. By contrast, Scala is statistically typed, making testing much easier.  

Advanced features: Python features an extensive library and frameworks for data science, machine learning, and natural language processing. The tools include SciPy, Matplolib, NumPy, and Pandas. Most of these tools and frameworks are lacking in Scala. 

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Scala vs. Java

Compared to Java, Scala is a relatively new language; however, both languages are popular options for developers worldwide. The basic difference between the two is that Scala is a machine compiled language while Java an object-oriented language. 

Features of Java

  • The Java code can run on any platform – you only run the code once 
  • Highly secure and a more robust platform 
  • An excellent platform for developing object-oriented applications.
  • It is multithreaded with automatic memory management
  • It’s network-centric; thus facilitating distributed computing 

Features of Scala

The notable Scala features include:

  • Both objected-oriented and functional programming language 
  • Supports Java code execution 
  • Statistically typed language 
  • It’s scalable according to the user’s demand 
  • Concise and powerful 

What Is Java?

Java is an object-oriented, general-purpose, network-centric, multi-platform programming language. It is a programming language as well as a computing platform for app development. 

Java app source code is compiled to a bytecode that runs on any Java virtual machine (JVM). That makes it a fast, reliable, secure language. Keep in mind; Java is a “write once, run anywhere” programming language.

Advantages of Java

  • Robust and highly secure 
  • Great for object-oriented apps 
  • You can run the code on any computer 
  • Lets you write the code only once 
  • It’s backward compatible – it runs anytime
  • Has a garbage collector – memory management isn’t needed by programmers 
  • Easy to learn 
  • Supports multithreading – a program can perform several tasks at the same time.

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The Disadvantages of Java

  • It consumes more memory and is considerably slower than natively compiled programming languages. 
  • The default GUI applications written in Java alongside the Swing toolkit look different from native applications.

Similarities between Java and Scala 

  • They are object-oriented; thus let programmers model the real world
  • The languages run on JVM
  • Both are statically typed languages
  • Both are multi-paradigm and imperative

Scala vs. Java: Differences 

Code type: Scala’s code is much reduced to few lines – a Java code, when written in Scala, can be reduced by half the number of lines. 

Learning Curve: Scala has a steeper learning curve than Java. That makes it trickier to code in Scala, mainly predicting the code since it’s concise. Besides, Scala has a confusing syntax. 

Readability: Scala has nested codes making the code less readable. 

Lazy Evaluation feature: Scala has inbuilt ‘lazy evaluation’ not present in Java. The feature allows deferring time-consuming computation until when necessary. 

Operator Overloading: Scala supports operator overloading. A programmer can overload and create operators in Scala any time – this is not supported in Java. 

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Scala vs. Kotlin

Java comes off more of an ecosystem than just a programming language. The excellent show for this is you can create a code for JVM without writing any Java. The result of this is that you can use modern languages. 

Kotlin and Scala are famous members of the JVM world, making it a little confusing to settle on one. 

Martin Odersky, in 2004, released Scala, an updated version of Java. Scala came with additional features like objects, type inference, functions as assignable data, and pattern matching. It compiles to Java bytecodes and can be mixed with Java code.

Kotlin was launched in February 2012 and is an open-source, freely available programming language. To date, there are only two versions of Kotlin – Kotlin 1.2 being the most stable version. Kotlin adoption is highly growing among JVM users, thanks to its seamless integration with Java tools like Eclipse, Maven, Android Studio, Gradle, etc.,

Scala users complain of slow compilation time. Nonetheless, Kotlin offers faster compile speeds, i.e., comparable to Java. And the big boost from Google makes everything even better. 

Popular organizations using Uber, Atlassian, Pinterest, and Coursera. 

Both Scala and Kotlin are somewhat new to the market. Google, a tech giant, supports Kotlin (google declared Kotlin first-class language for Android development), meaning that Kotlin might emerge fast than Scala. However, Scala is a bit older than Kotlin and thus, has a comparatively big community. This implies that Scala has more sustainable power and job opportunities.

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Advantages of Kotlin 

  • More Reliable: Kotlin’s latest version is more matures, thanks to the vigorous Alpha and Beta stages scrutiny. As a result, this version is highly reliable.
  • Higher Development Speed: Kotlin allows writing a smaller number of code lines, enhancing productivity and speeding up the development process. 
  • Fail-fast System: Kotlin has an inbuilt fail-fast system, reducing the risk of error coding. 
  • Easy to Maintain: Kotlin supports multiple IDEs, including Android Studio. The advantage of this is that developers can build solutions on different platforms and maintain them timely.

Disadvantages of Kotlin 

  • Only a few individuals who can use Kotlin 

Kotlin advantage over Scala

  • Zero Overhead Null Safety
  • First-class Delegations
  • Smart Casts
  • Higher-Order Functions
  • Member References
  • Inline functions facilitate Nonlocal Jumps

Scala advantage Over Kotlin

  • Structural Types
  • Overridable Type Members
  • Built-in XML
  • Complicated Logic for Initialization
  • Macros
  • Path dependent types
  • Custom Symbolic Operations

Keep in mind, Scala is not for android and has a slow compilation speed than Kotlin. Besides, Scala codes are big. 

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Why Scala is bad

The Scala programming language is notorious for its lengthy syntax. This may be the first time you’ve heard of it, but this could potentially have something to do with how little demand there currently is for people who know how to program in that particular way.

Besides, Scala programming language has a reputation as being one of the most difficult languages out there. As such, it can often seem like an impenetrable mess when compared against other, more straightforward-sounding ones such as Python or Java. Some parts of Scala are complicated due to their length. This might leave newcomers scratching their heads because they’re written strangely based on standard English grammar rules – so much so that sometimes what appears at first glance.

Though Scala has been getting more popular over the last year, it doesn’t mean that its features are better than other languages. What makes Scala challenging to grasp is the lack of great IDEs. You can say that Scala was designed to be easy for learned programmers, i.e., those possessing PhDs in math and computer science. That leaves beginners to struggle a lot to understand how this language operates – they’ll need extensive guidance and study from an expert. 

Most complaints about Scala are that there is too much mathematics in it. That makes it a bad programming language for people who are entering programming for fun or enjoyment – its mathematical elements might be boring. But Scala can be an excellent option for people with specific programming requirements. 

Scala is the most recent language to be popularised among developers. Initially, Scala was hyped for pushing syntactic boundaries, reactive architectures, functional programming, and the Apache Spark project. With time came much backlash alongside massive negativity from both the community and outside the Scala community. But that also faded.

What remains is a reasonable language that is steadily advancing, though tedious. No one can deny that Scala currently provides an excellent platform for general software engineering. In the early years of Scala, developers loved it for its flexibility – extension methods, implicit constructors, operator overloading, as well as a highly flexible implicit-parameter feature. This was incredibly liberating. 

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So, is Scala bad? That will depend on many factors, including your level of expertise, requirements, and hand and application to build. Some developers find Scala to be the go-to programming language. But novices shouldn’t expect a good experience in this language. 

Is Scala dying?

The Cala community has a lot of talk about the many people leaving the Scala programming language. The primary reasons for this departure from Scala are that it is difficult to learn and use. However, other community members feel that newer and easier-to-use languages are becoming a favored choice for most developers. 

Though still a popular language, its popularity has slightly faded. The waves that it used to generate in the software industry for years now are its elegant syntax and concise code design that help programmers write more quickly and efficiently than older languages such as Java or C++.

These qualities are admirable, but they come with a massive unfortunate trend. Newcomers might find it quite hard to learn. Newcomers prefer something more straightforward – it allows them to begin building products much faster, sacrificing too much power under the hood.

But that doesn’t mean Scala is dying, considering that huge companies like Twitter still use it. So, developers believe that the future of Scala is bright. Some reviews show that it is eclipsing Java, thanks to its innovative nature. 

Remember, Scala was designed as the best choice for scalable, modern applications. It provides developers with an expressive syntax and high-level abstractions. This lets developers focus on their business logic rather than concentrating on working around the limitations of languages like Java or C#

The Scala unifies OOP and FP, which is something unique – no other programming language has done it before. Note that unlike other languages like Ruby, Scala is still innovating. That means it has some feature you can spot elsewhere, and the Scala community is taking advantage of these features to rapidly develop the best quality libraries. 

With the wonderful array of features in Scala, it is most likely to stay around for long. And like other languages, it expects just a fluctuation in its popularity – but it won’t die soon. 

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Is Scala in demand?

Scala is in demand, and the demand might keep rising in the next year. The reason for the demand is because many people are looking for Scala developers. Beyond that, many people love using Scala to develop their applications. 

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According to the StackOverflow survey, Scala features among the top 5 most loved programming languages. 

Here are some factors that indicate Scala is a programming language with higher demand:

Scala is among the best paying technologies: according to Stack Overflow, Scala is a high-paying technology in the US. On average, a Scala developer earns $125,000 a year. Additionally, engineers with a background in mathematics, including Machine Learning Developers and Data Scientists who know Scala earn higher salaries than other programmers.

Many Scala jobs are being created: the technology market is constantly evolving, and currently, the demand for Scala developers is soaring higher and higher. Sadly, there are few Scala developers in the job market. A closer look at various job boards shows that many organizations are looking for Scala developers. For instance, the demand for Scala developers has increased by about 65% in the recent past in the UK.

Scala helps you become a better programmer: though Scala is challenging to learn, using it is pretty straightforward. So, it is easy to write clean codes – something that every programmer wants to do. Codes developed on Scala are concise, efficient, and much faster than other programming languages. This is so because Scala is well organized, and its functional programming paradigm makes the code safe and stable. 

Scala is cross-compatible with Java: you can integrate Scala into Java since it runs on JVM and compiles to Java Bytecode. That implies that Scala can utilize Java written classes. The importance of this is that it gives you access to many third-party libraries and frameworks. 


The Scala programming language is all about flexibility. The syntax for this programming language is flexible – you can change it to accommodate different design needs with a swift change of technique and code structure. This allows programmers to experiment freely, knowing that they will have an easy time adapting their work if the need arises or another perspective develops on how best to approach it.

Anyone who codes in Scala will tell you how great Scala is for functional programming. The syntax is beautiful and concise, the types are strong but not overbearing, and it has everything from OOP to FP under one roof. Plus, there are all sorts of libraries that will help with your project development.

Scala is famous among data scientists. Specifically, Scala emphasizes the scalability of applications and databases by leveraging both functional programming paradigms and object-oriented concepts like classes and methods to manage complexity in large codebases.

The downside of the Scala programming language is that it’s hard to read and maintain. Many people find it frustrating to learn Scala, especially for beginners, because it is difficult to understand what a program does at first glance. After all, there are no explicit statements such as if-else or while loops.

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Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.