Lua vs Java

Lua vs Java: Popularity, Salary, Performance, Features, and Applications

If you want to work on games, web applications, embedded systems, desktop applications, or graphic software, you should learn Lua over Java.

Lua is a powerful, efficient, lightweight, embeddable scripting language. Lua is intended to be embedded into other applications.

It supports procedural programming, object-oriented programming, functional programming, data-driven programming, and data description.

On the other hand, if you want to work on big data, web applications, cloud-based app development, and Android apps, you should learn Java or Lua.

Java is a general-purpose high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language that is designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible.

Java is intended to let programmers write once, run anywhere (WORA). This means that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need to recompile.

Comparing programming languages and choosing which one to learn or use for your next project can be tricky.

There are many factors to consider in order to choose the right programming language for the job you want to do.

Popularity, opportunities, type of projects, salaries, resources, learning curve, etc. are some of the factors that many people consider when comparing programming languages and choosing which one to learn or use.

Here are some of the comparisons and considerations you should make when choosing to learn a new programming language.


Comparing the popularity of programming languages is not an easy task because each programming language is different.

Although the usage of many programming languages may intersect, different fields and projects may require the use of different programming languages.

Plus, other programming languages have been around for a longer time than others, giving them more time to be tried and tested, so, bear that in mind.

If you want to learn a programming language solely for its popularity among developers, you should learn Java over Lua.

Generally, Java is more popular than Lua. As of July 2023, the TIOBE INDEX ranks Java as the 4th most popular programming language while Lua is ranked as the 32nd most popular programming language.

According to a Stack Overflow survey of 2023, Java is the 7th most commonly used programming language, it is used by 22.42% of developers.

On the other hand, Lua is the 17th most commonly used programming language, it is used by 6.09% of developers according to the same survey.

Ultimately, if your choice of which programming language to learn depends on popularity, you should learn Java over Lua.

Also read, Is Java Enough to Get a Job?


Another popular criterion that many people use to compare programming languages and as an incentive to learn a new programming language is salary.

Salaries for developers differ from one company to the other and from one country to the other.

Experience is another factor that comes into play as far as salaries are concerned.

The more experience you have with a certain technology or programming language, the more likely you are of getting a higher salary.

Generally, Lua developers get higher salaries than Java developers. The 2023 Stack Overflow survey of top-paying programming languages revealed that Lua developers get a median salary of $80,690 per year.

On the other hand, Java developers get a median salary of $72,701 per year, about $7,900 less than Lua developers.

So, if the salary is your major incentive for learning a programming language, you should learn Lua over Java, because you are more likely to get a higher salary as a Lua developer than as a Java developer.

Here are 10 Programming Languages that Pay more than $90,000


If you want a programming language that is beginner-friendly and can be used to develop different types of applications, you should learn Lua.

Lua is easy to learn and work with than Java. It has fewer rules and comes with only 21 Keywords. It is also easy to maintain a Lua codebase even when the project is huge.

Many developers point “Fast learning curve” as the leading cause for choosing and learning Lua.

On the other hand, Java is verbose, this means that you have to write a lot of lines of code to do something that you can achieve in a few lines of code in other programming languages.

The good news is that there are plenty of helpful resources for both Lua and Java to help you learn the languages.

The Lua and Java communities are very active and helpful, in case you get stuck with something.

Also read, Best Languages for Game Development


In terms of performance, Lua is generally faster than Java. There are specific cases where Java is more performant than Lua but generally, Lua is faster than Java.

Lua is very fast and performant, the designers of Lua focused on improving its speed, portability, extensibility, and ease of use in development.

When Lua is used with its just-in-time compiler, it is widely regarded as one of the fastest scripting languages in the world.

Another great advantage of Lua is that you can run Lua code in a C program or run C code in a Lua program using a simple Lua C API. This makes it easy to embed high-performance C code in Lua programs and other applications.



Java helps developers to write once and run everywhere (WORA). This makes Java very popular in the enterprise world. It is suitable for Android app development, web development, big data, micro-services, etc.

Another great feature of Java is its interoperability with other languages like Kotlin and Scala. This makes it easy to call Kotlin or Scala code in a Java codebase and vice-versa.

As a result, developers can add more functionality to their Java codebase seamlessly using Kotlin or Scala.

Java powers some of the complex applications developed by companies like Google, Oracle, Airbnb, Intel, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Pinterest, Uber, LinkedIn, Spring, Flipkart, TripAdvisor, and many others.


In general, Lua strives to provide simple, flexible meta-features that can be extended as needed.

Lua is also distributed in a small package and builds out-of-the-box in all platforms that have a standard C compiler.

Lua is used by many companies such as Adobe, Redis, Venmo, Lost Mable LLC, Aerospike, Wikipedia, Shopify, Close, Thumbtack, Roblox, Tokopedia, Unacademy, and many others.


Once you have compared the languages and evaluated all the factors, you can choose which programming language to learn or use depending on the factors that are on your side and what you want to build.

If you want a high-paying language that you can use to work on games, web applications, desktop applications, embedded systems, graphics software, and earn a higher salary, you should learn Lua over Java.

If you want a popular language that can help you work on big data technology, cloud-based applications, web applications, distributed applications, and Android apps, you should learn Java over Lua.