PowerShell vs. Python: A Battle for the Ages


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Microsoft PowerShell and Python are both popular programming languages. They offer many of the same features which have led to their popularity, but they also differ in a number of ways. Which one is better? Let’s take a look at what each language offers as well as its history and pros/cons.

The “difference between python and powershell” is a battle for the ages. The two languages have been battling each other for over 30 years, with Python being the winner in most cases.

PowerShell vs. Python: A Battle for the Ages

Which programming language is the best? When you ask 10 different Developers, you can receive ten different replies. We’ll compare two languages in this article: PowerShell and Python. You’ll get a taste of each of these languages and see how they compare and differ in terms of syntax, platform availability, and other factors.

It’s time to pit PowerShell against Python!

You’ll be able to answer the following questions by the conclusion of this article:

  • What are the similarities and differences between these two languages?
  • What distinguishes them?
  • What are the most effective applications for each of them?
  • What are the differences in syntax?
  • What sort of job would someone need to be in order to best leverage one over the other?

This article is for individuals who are unsure whether to use PowerShell or Python and have little to no experience with either language. This article is intended for folks who are familiar with one of the languages but want to learn more about the other.

Let’s get started!

By Job Function

Although you could speak about the technical elements of Python and PowerShell all day, determining what sort of job function each language is best suited for is a vital component of comparing the two languages.

PowerShell and Python were both created on opposite sides of a fence (Microsoft and the open source Linux community). Both languages’ syntax, community, and hence overall feel are distinct, and as a result, they are often used in certain professional positions.

It’s worth noting that PowerShell (Core) has been open-sourced from version 6.0.0 and onwards. The times they are a-changin’.

Administrators of systems

Both PowerShell and Python are excellent languages for sysadmins to master. They’re both excellent automation tools that can save a sysadmin a lot of time. However, due of its native.NET framework integration, PowerShell may be a preferable solution for Windows sysadmins.

Python, on the other hand, is ideal for sysadmins who work with Linux.

Despite the fact that Python and PowerShell (Core) are both cross-platform, the vast majority of job responsibilities will be divided between Windows and PowerShell, as well as Python and Linux.


Python is by far the most popular programming language for developer employment. Python provides a lot of assistance in fields like data science, statistical analysis, and more that PowerShell doesn’t have. Python may have the sense of a scientific language at times.

Many major server-side web sites and other “developer friendly” programs are also written in Python.

Although PowerShell may be used as a programming language, it’s best for jobs that need more automation, such as DevOps or general sysadmin automation.

According to the Operating System


PowerShell is the unsung hero of the Windows world; it’s the greatest tool for automating chores in Windows. This is particularly true when it comes to on-premises and Office 365 versions of Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange.

PowerShell is well integrated with all Windows systems and can simply execute any operation since it has direct access to the.NET Framework.

PowerShell does, however, support Linux, albeit it isn’t quite as popular as Python as of this writing.


On general, Python performs better in Linux settings. Python modules exist to perform almost everything on Linux, thanks to its extensive roots in the Linux community.

Python can operate on a variety of systems, including iOS and AIX.

By Task


You may use PowerShell to construct a tool for managing everyday chores, and you can even utilize Windows PowerShell to create a graphical user interface for your tool to make it more user-friendly.


Python is ideally suited to “heavier” tasks such as machine learning, statistics, data science, and server-side web and desktop apps. Python also includes excellent image processing functionality.

Understanding the Syntax Differences and Commonalities

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of each language to see how they compare and differ.

Both PowerShell and Python are object-oriented programming languages, which means they build, modify, and reuse logical objects to execute specified tasks.

Modules are used in both PowerShell and Python to reuse code. Modules may be reused in other projects, or you can import modules written by other programmers directly.

Both languages offer a big module library that you may utilize in your scripts.

Python is an interpreted programming language, while PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language built on top of the.NET framework that takes and returns.NET framework objects.

The Python interpreter takes human-readable code and converts it to a language that the interpreter can understand, which is then converted to machine-readable code for execution.

To better understand their similarities and differences, let’s start with the fundamentals of both languages, such as commenting, defining variables, conditions, and other fundamentals.

Making a single line comment in PowerShell or Python is the same – start the line with the hash symbol (#), as seen below.

# This is a remark in Python; it will not be executed.

Variable Declaration

In PowerShell, all variables begin with a $ and are followed by a name. You can see how an integer is allocated to a variable in the example below.

In PowerShell, string variables are defined in the same fashion, except the value must be enclosed in single or double quotes.

$var2 = “string” $var3 =’string’

For additional information about PowerShell variables, see the about Variables article.

Variables are used substantially identically in Python, however they do not have to begin with a $.

7 is the first variable. “string” as var2 var3 =’string’; var4 =’string’; var5 =

W3Schools and a variety of other online sites may help you learn more about Python variables.

Math Operations in Action

Any positive or negative number without decimals is an integer in PowerShell and Python. They will be automatically allocated to an integer variable by default. On these variables, standard math operations may be performed.

You may see some examples of fundamental arithmetic operations in PowerShell below.

$int1 = $int2 = $int3 = $int4 $int2 = $int2 = $int2 = $int2 = $ $int3 = -10$int3 = -10$int3 = -10 $int1 + $int2 = $int3 $int1 + $Int3 $int2 – $int1 $int2 – $int1 $int2 – $int1 $int2 –

Integers and PythonIntegers and Python

For additional information, see RedmondMag’s How to perform Math with PowerShell series.

Similarly, you can do simple arithmetic operations in Python, as demonstrated below.

int1 = 70 int2 = 77 int3 = -10 int1 + int2 int2 – int1 int1 + int3 int1 + int2 int2 – int1 int1 + int3

Python's arithmeticPython’s arithmetic

In this post from geeks2geeks.com, you may learn more about arithmetic operations in Python.

Utilizing Conditional Statements

Any computer language relies on conditional statements. Conditional statements enable a programmer to change the flow of code based on one or more criteria. When it comes to conditional statements, such as if/then constructions, PowerShell and Python are almost similar.

As you can see in the table below, there is a little yet significant difference between the two languages. Parentheses (), curly brackets (), and other special characters are frequently used in PowerShell, while Python utilizes indentation.

In the PowerShell sample below, notice all of the parenthesis and curly brackets.

if (Condition) if (Condition) if (Condition) if (Condition) if (Condition) if (Condition) if (Condition) if (Condition else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else else

Compare and contrast the PowerShell and Python code below. Only colons and spaces will be used to denote the end of conditional statements and the code to be executed within.

if condition is met: If the condition is true, code will be run. else: If the condition is false, more code will be performed.

Let’s have a look at how a standard PowerShell if/then statement looks and works. When you execute the code below, you’ll see that the output is more than 70.

$var1 = $var2 = $var3 = $var4 = $var5 if ($var1 -gt $var2), $var2 = 70 “$var1 is larger than $var2,” Write-Host -Object else “$var1 is less than $var2” Write-host -Object

Consider how the identical process is carried out in Python. There are a number of distinctions, including various operators and instructions for printing text to the console.

if var1 > var2: print(f”{var1} is greater than {var2}”) else: print(f”{var1} is less than {var2}”)


Looping is another key notion in programming languages. Loops enable a language to loop through a piece of code indefinitely until a condition is satisfied or until a specified number of times is reached.

A typical foreach statement in PowerShell might look like this.

foreach ($item in $list) $item in $list) $item in $list) $item in $list) $item in $list) $item in $list) $item in

In Python, a for loop might be used to execute the identical operation, as seen below.

for each item in the list: For each thing, there will be a code to run.

The grammar of PowerShell and Python is very similar, particularly in terms of the languages’ fundamentals and essential functionality. Anyone who knows PowerShell and wants to learn more about Python, or vice versa, will benefit greatly from these commonalities.

Solving the Same Problem in a Novel Way

Let’s look at how PowerShell and Python may be used to handle a similar issue in somewhat different ways. To do so, we’ll read a basic text file containing line-delimited integers and only return a subset of them to the terminal.

The file we’ll be utilizing is named input text.txt, and it includes line-delimited integers ranging from 1 to 6345.

To handle all of the numbers received from the file, we’ll write a function in both PowerShell and Python.

Using PowerShell to Process a File

You’ll see how to do it with PowerShell in the sections below.

Define a function called Get-TwoDigits function Get-TwoDigits { [CmdletBinding()] param( [Parameter()] $List ## Provide an input parameter called List representing numbers ) ## Loop over each number in List. If the number is greater than 9 and less ## then 99, return that number to the conosle foreach($num in $List){ if($num -gt 9 -and $num -le 99 ){ Write-Host $num } } } Read the text file and place contents into an array called inputlist PS51> $inputlist = Get-Content -Path .input_text.txt Call the function providing the contents of the file as the List parameter PS51> Get-TwoDigits -List $inputlist

When you run Get-TwoDigits, you’ll see that PowerShell only returns numbers between 9 and 99 in input text.txt.

Using Python to Process a File

Now we’ll repeat the same using Python to see how the syntax differs.

## Open the file handle using the open() method File_Read = open(“/PS_Vs._PY/input_text.txt”) ## Read the file and split the large string up into an array with the splitlines() method inputData = (File_Read.read().splitlines()) ## Close the open file handle File_Read.close() ## Define a function called two_digits with a single parameter called input_list def two_digits (input_list): ## Loop over each number in List. If the number is greater than 9 and less ## then 99, return that number to the conosle for num in input_list: if (int(num) > 9) and (int(num) <= 99): print(num) >>> two_digits(inputData)

Python will only return any number in input text.txt that is between 9 and 99 when you use the two digits() method.

Creating a function in Python follows a similar pattern. Keep in mind that indentation, as well as case sensitivity, are critical in Python.

Additional Reading

The “powershell vs python reddit” is a battle for the ages. Python and PowerShell have been in competition since their inception, with both being widely used.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PowerShell better than Python?

A: PowerShell is an object-oriented scripting language, while Python is a high level procedural language.

Is PowerShell worth learning 2020?

Should I learn PowerShell before Python?

A: PowerShell is a programmable scripting language based on the .NET Framework. Python, by contrast, is an interpreted programming language that does not require compilation to run scripts. In general, it can be said that learning one of these languages before the other would make sense if youre interested in doing heavy development work with either script or code bases.

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