Learn Go and Become a Golang Developer

Introduction: Go Programming Language Manual — In these series, you will learn the origin, fundamentals, and key differentiators of what makes the Go programming language prevalent in today’s modern enterprises.

What is Go?

Go, also known as Golang, is a statically-typed, open-source compiled programming language developed by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson at Google. It draws from imperative languages, such as Algol, Pascal, C, Modula, Oberon, Smalltalk, and Newsqueak, to support seamless concurrent programming. Griesemer, Pike, and Thompson built Go to alleviate real-world programming obstacles like safety, speed, and overall ease of programming.

Why Learn Go?

Compiled. Safe. Concurrent. Standard Library.
Golang.org describes Go as “a general-purpose language designed with systems programming in mind.” To better understand this definition, we need to first understand what systems programming is. Arguably, a programming language must compile to an executable that is directly interpretable by the CPU (native binary aka machine language) to be considered a systems programming language. All computer programs ultimately run on the system hardware. If a virtual machine interface (JVM, Ruby VM, Python VM, etc.) is necessary to execute programs, then you are using a platform to communicate with the system hardware and therefore the language is not considered a systems programming language.

Why Go language is popular: (Not including the fact that a 20-year-old big data company created and uses it themselves) 1) There is no virtual machine. Go compiles directly to machine code for extremely fast compilation. 2) Garbage collection. The garbage collector in Go does the memory management and allows for the deferred execution of functions. 3.) Concise syntax. Why write ten lines of Java when two lines of Go will do?

So what happens when we introduce multiple processes and applications that are housed across different networks? This simply means that an application is using a distributed system with a multi-server architecture to complete functions. The Go programming language is used for the ease of writing concurrent programs to best utilize networked machines, whether they are traditional systems or distributed.

What will I learn?

Since Go was created with high performance, reliability, and best practices in mind; you will learn the fundamentals of building a strongly typed (data types are predefined as part of the programming language) and statically typed (verifying and enforcing type constraints at compile-time as opposed to run-time), easy to work with, modern application with fast results. Golang is worth learning due to the nature of its’ origin. Being an imperative language means that key aspects of Golang were derived from pre-existing languages. Features of Go were chosen to be included in the rich standard library due to other existing languages lacking in those areas. For example:

  • Go vs. Python – Both are operating system neutral, clear, readable, and promote ease of use. Python is the go-to language for solving data science problems. Go is becoming preferred for system programming.
  • The key difference here is concurrency. Python does not have built-in concurrency, while Go does have built-in concurrency.
  • Go vs. Java – Both are portable languages and promote ease of use. We have already established that Go is a general-purpose language that is concurrent and object-oriented. Java is the same, with the exception that Java must be pre-installed to execute programs (compiled Go programs run natively) and the use of class-based declarations (Go uses structs).
  • The key difference here is the architecture. Java compiles to bytecode that is interpreted by the JVM. Even compiled Java programs or JARs need an OS-specific JVM to run. Go does not rely on an additional processing step and instead interfaces directly with CPU to have greater performing applications.
  • Go vs. C++ – Both Go and C++ were designed with system programming in mind. C++ is mostly used to lay the groundwork for large software systems to be developed. It is often embedded in devices but lacks security in data being managed and usage of programming features. Go is used for the development of large scale software systems.
  • The key difference here is the simplicity of Go. Built-in static and strong typing discipline, built-in concurrency features with channels and lightweight processes, and built-in memory allocation that also uses garbage collection, in turn, improves the performance of the programs or applications.

None of these languages are in competition with each other. They each have their strengths in their respective niches and can be utilized together, where suitable, for high performing applications. The future of Golang is to continue refining the language to more efficiently manage dependencies, run multiple processes simultaneously, and provide companies with a secure environment to scale quickly.

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