Go vs Rust

Is Rust better than Go? Is Rust harder to learn than Go? Why is Go more popular than Rust?

This blog explains the similarities and differences between Go and Rust programming languages. We will also explore the applications of Go (also known as Golang) and Rust.

An image that explains the differences between Go and Rust programming languages.

Aug 17, 2023    By Team YoungWonks *


Go, often referred to as Golang, is an open-source programming language from Google. It made its first prominent release in 2011. It was in 2007 when Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike and Ken Thompson first initiated the design for Go and it was then open sourced in 2009. Golang was a response to the various challenges which large-scale software engineering teams were facing to balance expressiveness, efficiency, and simplicity.

It did not take much time for Go to rise in popularity and it eventually became many developers' first choice due to its simplicity, readability, efficiency, and concurrent nature. 

Go is used for backend (server-side) programming, game development, cloud-based programming, and even Data Science. It is also popular for making command-line tools. Many tech giants like Google, Netflix, Twitch, Ethereum, Dropbox, Kubernetes, Docker, Heroku, and lots more use Go. 

Cloud-based programming is one of the main reasons why Go was designed and hence the likes of Kubernetes, Docker, and Heroku are using Go. 


Rust is a low-level programming language that was developed by Graydon Hoare at Mozilla Research. This programming language is a multi-paradigm one and it has its chief focus on performance and safety. Rust has a syntax which is very similar to C++, but it offers faster speed, more effective memory management and more memory safety comparatively without garbage collection.

Rust has a very efficient speed and capability of debugging code before testing. For example, it helps us develop programs that help us check for code errors at runtime. Rust is also well known for its safe concurrency capabilities.

Rust is used to build device drivers, embedded systems, games, and operating systems such as BlogOS, Redox, RustOS, Rux, and Tock. It has become a very well-known programming language and is an open-source tool with 37.3K GitHub stars and 5.85K GitHub forks.

What are the differences between Go and Rust?

The following are some of the differences between Go and Rust:


One of the main differences between Go and Rust is definitely simplicity. This also serves as one of the most effective Go selling points. Becoming productive using Golang might take some hours or days whereas becoming productive in Rust might take weeks or even more. This has a direct effect on the collaborations because Go programs are usually easy to read and easy to write and hence are easy to manage in large teams. Also, because it's more difficult to get teams learn a complex programming language such as Rust, Go is also designed for software development at scale, with large codebases and large teams.

Memory Management

Go has a garbage collector in the same way as Java, JavaScript or Python do. Rust on the other hand, has a manual memory management system which is based on the concept of ownership and borrowing. This provides flexibility and freedom to write very performant code. Rust, combined with its ownership and borrowing system, enables fine-grained control over memory allocation and deallocation, preventing common issues like null pointer dereferences, data races, and memory leaks. But this comes with a cost because with great power comes great responsibility. Thus, we have to be definitely careful while using Rust even though the Rust compiler is very efficient in catching memory bugs at compile time. 


Go is a great supporter of concurrency. The best-known features are Core Routines and Channels. These features and many more are also available in Rust either directly through standard libraries or by using third party libraries such as Tokyo. What is more important is that the Rust concurrency model is probably correct which means that the compiler can catch a whole class of thread safety bugs at compile time before our program even runs. This makes it pretty hard to make basic concurrency mistakes. Rust will almost always beat Go in run-time benchmarks due to its fine-grained control over how threads behave and how resources are shared between threads.


Golang's simplicity combined with the fact that it's been around for more time makes it more popular than Rust. This means that general libraries or frameworks are more mature on Go programming language compared to Rust programming language, especially the ones related to web-development. 

Compilation time

The Go compiler is much faster than the Rust compiler. This is mostly because of the number of optimizations and checks the Rust compiler does. 


Both Golang and Rust are good at scaling up to take advantage of many CPUs to process data in parallel. We can use a Goroutine to process each piece of data and use a WaitGroup to wait for them all to finish in go. While in Rust, rayon makes it easy to iterate over a container in parallel.

When to use Golang?

Go programming language is very well suited to build services and simple applications. It was built to replace Java and C-sharp and hence if our purpose is to build a web rest APIs then Golang is a very good choice. If we wish to create APIs and web applications, we must go for Go to leverage its built-in concurrency features, supporting the micro-services architecture.

When to use Rust?

Rust is a system programming language and thus it is a very good fit if our requirement is efficiency and high performance. Rust works well for processing large amounts of data and other CPU-intensive operations, such as executing algorithms. Once there is a good grasp on the Rust fundamentals, working with Rust becomes a very nice experience. This language is very well suited for performance critical applications such as web browsers, databases, operating systems or for examples libraries that do heavy mathematical computations. 

What are the similarities between Go and Rust?

The common thing between Rust and Go is deployment. This is because both of them produce a static binary as an output which means that in order to run the programs, we do not need an interpreter such as the one we have for Python or a Virtual machine that we have for Java. So, we just need to deploy the executable. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Go programming language?

Advantages of Go language:

  • Go is a fast-programming language, as it is a machine code compilation and easily outperforms languages that have virtual runtimes. As a result, the binary is very small because it complies comparatively fast.
  • The syntax structure of the go programming language is small compared to other languages, which makes it easy to learn. 
  • Interfaces of Go (programming language) can satisfy any struct by executing its strategies. You may write more tested and modular code by the means of its interfaces. It also enables us to write our code in a more functional manner.
  • Unlike C and C++, memory management has been made purposefully simple and easy in go programming. 

Disadvantages of Golang: 

  • It is a very young language and thus developers might find it difficult to make maximum use of the libraries. They might have to write the libraries themselves.
  • Manual memory management is important, and the lack of it in Golang often leads to overhead garbage collection, issues like pauses, which in turn could lead to system programming.
  • The simplicity of the Golang could be an issue, as it makes it superficial and, in an effort, to make it simple, the language wasted several years of programming language progress.
  • Though error handling is not perfect in Go, solutions are still being searched for and proposals have come up for error handling.
  • Even though Go is safe, it doesn't deliver the level of the safety that Rust provides. The safety level is compile-time only and to a certain extent runtime. Go focuses on the speed of production, and Rust concentrates on the safety aspect.
  • Other cons include operator overloading, and problems in code duplication and meta-programming because those cannot be statically checked.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Rust programming language?

Advantages of Rust:

  • Platform Independent - We can compile a Rust program on one platform and run it on another platform.
  • Performance - Rust is one of the fastest programming languages. Not only that, but it also requires less memory, which makes it a highly efficient language. Rust also allows you to create complex abstractions without paying a performance penalty at run-time.
  • Safe Concurrency - Rust doesn't allow programs to modify the same value simultaneously while running the concurrent program.
  • Memory Safety - Rust also provides memory safety to prevent unexpected crashes of its program.
  • C++ like Syntax - Rust is syntactically similar to C++.

Disadvantages of Rust:

  • Steep Learning Curve: Rust is not an easy language to learn. It has a unique syntax and challenging concepts such as ownership and borrowing. 
  • Limited Ecosystem: Rust is a relatively new language, and its ecosystem is still developing. This means that the number of libraries and tools available for Rust is not as extensive as those available for more established languages like Python and Java.
  • Compilation Time: Rust's compilation time can be slow compared to other languages. This is because Rust performs a lot of checks during compilation to ensure memory safety and prevent bugs. This can slow down the development process, especially for large projects.
  • Unsafe Code: While Rust provides memory safety, it also allows developers to write unsafe code for performance-critical tasks. This code is not subject to the same checks as safe code, and can potentially introduce bugs and security vulnerabilities.
  • Error messages: Rust's error messages can be difficult to understand, especially for beginners. While they are designed to be helpful, they can sometimes be overwhelming, making it difficult to pinpoint the root cause of a problem.

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Both Go and Rust offer compelling features for software development, each with its strengths in efficiency, safety, and concurrency. For young learners eager to dip their toes into the vast ocean of programming, Coding Classes for Kids at YoungWonks provide an excellent starting point. Those particularly interested in developing their programming skills further can benefit from our Python Coding Classes for Kids, which lays down a strong foundation applicable in many programming scenarios, including those related to Go and Rust concepts. Meanwhile, our Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Game Development Coding Classes offer an immersive experience into the practical applications of programming, equipping students with the knowledge to innovate and create in the digital age.

Frequently asked questions on Rust vs Go

This section answers the most frequently asked questions related to Go and Rust programming languages.

Is Rust appropriate for 12-year-olds?

Rust challenges our preconceptions and forces us to reevaluate what we believe is true. It's a great language to learn if we already have some exposure to programming. Rust feels a lot like lisp, forth, haskell, apl. It is more difficult than many of the alternatives and most of the "beginner" learning resources for it actually assume that you already know how to program in some other language.

Is Rust a better language than Go?

GoLang and Rust, are considered to be rivals to each other because of their very similar origin times. Go develops faster than Rust. Both languages have very few similarities. The difference between the two languages GoLang and Rust is that Go is simple, and Rust is complex. However, their functions and priorities differ in various meaningful ways. Which language is better totally depending upon the kind of project we have to deal with. We have to make our own choice in the end. 

Is Golang better than Python? 

It's difficult to say that Golang is better than Python because programmers use different languages for different use cases. Golang is definitely better than Python for microservices, APIs, and other fast-load features. Go works well for a wide variety of use cases, making it a great alternative to Node.js for creating web APIs. However, for natural language processing or machine learning, the robustness and readability of Python (as well as the extensiveness of its libraries) becomes more effective. Python is also a great first programming language for anyone. Its easy syntax makes learning computer science easy. People who learn Python can easily pick other languages later, as computer science concepts are the same in all programming languages.

Why is Golang so famous?

Golang's simplicity combined with the fact that it's been around for more time makes it more popular than Rust. Go, with its simplicity, sets some benchmarks by quicker build speed than a range of languages in the market.

*Contributors: Written by Pronamee Hazarika; Edited by Rohit Budania; Lead image by Shivendra Singh

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