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Zig vs Rust | Popularity, Salary, Performance, Features, and Applications
Zig and Rust are both modern, compiled system programming languages that are easy to work with than C or C++.
Zig is intended to be a replacement for the C programming language, while Rust is intended to be the replacement for C++.
If you want to work on real-time software, operating system kernels, embedded devices, low-latency servers, you should learn Zig over Rust.
Zig is a general-purpose programming language and toolchain for maintaining robust, optimal, and reusable software.
On the other hand, Rust is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm programming language that emphasizes performance, type safety, and concurrency.
If you are interested in building command line tools, network services, embedded systems, webAssembly, or systems programming, you should learn Rust over Zig
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.
ZIG VS RUST POPULARITY
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 Rust over Zig.
Generally, Rust is more popular than Zig. As of July 2023, the TIOBE INDEX ranks Rust as the 17th most popular programming language while Zig does not appear in the top 50 popular programming languages.
According to a Stack Overflow survey of 2023, Rust is the 14th most commonly used programming language, it is used by 13.05% of developers.
On the other hand, Zig is the 41st most commonly used programming language, it is used by 0.83% of developers according to the same survey.
Further, Rust has been the most loved programming language for seven years straight. As of 2022, Rust was loved by 86.73% of developers versus 13.27% of developers who dreaded it.
In 2023, Rust is the most admired programming language. It is admired by 84.66% of developers. On the other hand, Zig is admired by 71.33% of developers.
Ultimately, if your choice of which programming language to learn depends on popularity, you should learn Rust over Zig.
Can Rust be used for Game Development? Find out
ZIG VS RUST SALARY
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, Zig developers get higher salaries than Rust developers. Actually, Zig developers are the highest-paid developers of 2023.
The 2023 Stack Overflow survey of top-paying programming languages revealed that Zig developers get a median salary of $103,611 per year.
On the other hand, Rust developers get a median salary of $87,012 per year, about $16,500 less than Zig developers.
So, if the salary is your major incentive for learning a programming language, you should learn Zig over Rust, because you are more likely to get a higher salary as a Zig developer than as a Rust developer.
IS ZIG EASIER THAN RUST
Yes, Zig is generally easier to learn than Rust. Zig is a much smaller language with an easy to learn syntax. Zig’s entire syntax is specified with a 500-line PEG grammar file.
On the other hand, Rust has a steeper learning curve compared to Zig. Rust can be quite challenging, especially for complete beginners.
Some Rust concepts like ownership and borrowing add a little bit of complexity to the language.
But if you are familiar with systems programming, you will find Rust very easy and straightforward.
Especially when you are targeting low-resource devices, Rust will give you low-level control without giving up high-level conveniences, this makes it a little bit easy to work on systems.
The good news is that there are plenty of helpful resources for both Zig and Rust to help you learn the languages.
The Zig and Rust communities are very active and helpful, in case you get stuck with something.
ZIG VS RUST PERFORMANCE
IS ZIG FASTER THAN RUST
Yes, Zig is generally faster than Rust. But there are other cases where Rust is faster than Zig. In some benchmarks, Zig has been shown to be up to 2x faster than Rust.
Zig has 4 build modes that can be mixed and matched to increase performance and safety. These build modes are Debug, ReleaseFast, ReleaseSafe, and ReleaseSmall.
Zig also uses undefined behavior as a razor sharp tool for both bug prevention and performance enhancement.
Further, the Zig language performs no memory management on behalf of the programmer. This is why Zig has no runtime, and why Zig code works seamlessly in so many environments.
This approach is very important for good performance. Manually handling of memory makes Zig more performant than many languages that have a garbage collector.
Zig uses a modern concept known as optional types or smart pointers. This results in very low or zero overhead.
Rust is also a fast language, it is known for its emphasis on performance and control over system resources.
It provides fine-grained control over memory management, and its ownership system enforces strict rules that prevent common bugs like null pointer dereferences and data races.
Rust’s zero-cost abstractions allow you to write high-level code without sacrificing performance. It also provides advanced features for concurrent programming.
As a result, Rust is often chosen for systems programming, networking, embedded systems, and other performance-critical applications.
One of the best features of Rust is how it handles memory. While developers have to manually handle memory in languages like Zig, C, and C++ or use a garbage collector with languages like PHP, Go, Java, Scala, Kotlin, etc. Rust takes a unique approach.
Developers can still handle memory without shooting themselves in the foot with a concept of ownership and borrowing. This makes it easy and quick to build reliable and efficient software.
Since Rust does not perform garbage collection, it is often faster than other memory-safe languages.
ZIG VS RUST FEATURES AND APPLICATIONS
Zig was designed with the intention to be a C programming language replacement. It is intended to be a better solution to the sorts of tasks that are currently solved with C.
It provides interoperability with C, which makes it easy to use existing C libraries in Zig. Zig can also be used as a C compiler
Zig was designed with the goals of being even smaller and simpler to program in while also offering modern features, new optimizations, and a variety of safety mechanisms.
It has no hidden control flow, no hidden memory allocations, no preprocessor, and no macros. With Zig, Call any function at compile-time and manipulate types as values without runtime overhead.
Zig has many features that make it suitable for low-level programming, some of the notable ones include notably packed structs arbitrary-width integers, and multiple pointer types.
Rust has great unique features that make it suitable for building command line tools, network services, embedded systems, and more. One of the best features of Rust is how it handles memory.
Rust can power performance-critical services, run on embedded devices, and easily integrate with other languages.
Rust can interface with other programming languages such as C and C++, it has a foreign function interface that can be used to call code written in C from Rust and to call Rust code from C.
Rust also has a library called CXX that can be used to call C++ code from Rust and to call Rust Code from C++.
There are many companies using Rust, some of the popular ones include Dropbox, Firefox, Cloudflare, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Discord, Mozilla, NPM, etc.
SHOULD I LEARN ZIG OR RUST
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 real-time software, operating system kernels, embedded devices, low-latency servers, etc. you should learn Zig over Rust.
If you are interested in a popular, high-performance language that can help you in developing systems quickly, working on command line tools, network services, embedded systems, and webAssembly, you should learn Rust over Zig.