Difference between Assembly Language and High-level Language

A computer is simply a machine and hence it cannot perform any task itself. Therefore, to make a computer functional different coding languages are developed, which are known as programming languages.

A computer programming language is a language in which the codes are written to instruct the computer to perform tasks.

Computer programming languages are broadly classified into the following three main categories −

  • Machine Language

  • Assembly Language

  • High-level Language

Read this article to get an overview of assembly language and high-level languages, and how they are different from each other.

What is Assembly Language?

Assembly language is a type of low-level programming language which is used for writing instructions for computers or other programmable devices. Since, it is a low-level language, therefore, it can communicate with computer hardware directly.

In assembly language, the computer codes are written using words and expressions that are easier to understand for human. The computer processor can only execute machine codes, hence it is required to convert the assembly codes into machine codes. For this purpose, a utility program is used to convert assembly code into executable machine code. This utility program which converts assembly code into machine code is called assembler.

The major advantages of assembly language are less memory requirement, less execution time, easier to write instructions and codes, etc.

What is High-level Language?

High-Level Language, also called HLL, is a category of computer programming languages that use English like statements to write the computer instructions and codes. These are the most widely used programming languages because they are easy to understand to human being. However, similar to the assembly language, the CPU cannot process the high-level language codes directly, i.e. they need to be translated first into the executable machine codes. For this, there are two types of language translators used namely, interpreter and compiler.

The major advantages of high-level languages include easy to write, debug, and understand, machine independent, etc. The common examples of high-level languages are C, C++, Java, Python, C#, etc.

Now, let us discuss the important differences between assembly language and high-level language.

Difference between Assembly Language and High-level Language

The following table highlights all the significant differences between assembly language and high-level language −


Assembly Language

High-Level Language


Assembly language is a computer programming language in which abbreviated keywords are used to write instruction codes.

High-level language is a computer program language in which English like statements are used to write codes.

Language translator

A language translator called “assembler” is required to convert the assembly language code into the machine code.

High-level language requires an interpreter or a compiler to convert the high-level language codes into the executable machine codes.

Level of language

Assembly language is a low-level language.

High-level language, as the name implies, is high-level language.

Programmer friendliness

Assembly language is less programmer friendly programming language.

High-level language is highly user friendly programming language.

Speed of execution

Computer instructions written in assembly language execute faster.

Computer instructions written in high-level language execute slower.

Machine dependency

Assembly language is machine dependent.

High-level language is machine independent.

Prone to error

Assembly language is more prone to errors.

The chances of errors in high-level languages are less.

Memory requirement

Assembly language codes require less memory space.

High-level language codes require more memory space.

Code length

The length of executable codes in assembly language is shorter.

The length of executable codes in high-level language is longer.


Assembly language codes are relatively difficult to debug. It is more challenging and time- consuming.

High-level language codes are very easy to debug.


Assembly language is a complex programming language, as to write the instruction codes in assembly language, the programmer must have a deep understanding of hardware and system architecture.

High-level languages are easy to write codes without much knowledge about the computer hardware and architecture.


Assembly language codes are more efficient.

High-level language codes are less efficient, as the coder has less control over the underlying hardware.


The readability of assembly language codes is less.

High-level language codes are more readable.

Development time & effort

Assembly language programs take more time and effort to develop.

High-level language programs require less development time and effort.

Memory management

Assembly language codes require manual memory management.

High-level language codes provide automatic memory management.


Assembly language uses symbolic representation of machine codes.

High-level languages use keywords and statements similar to English language.


Assembly language is primarily used to program processors, microcontrollers, embedded systems, device drivers, etc.

High-level languages are mainly used for developing software applications, web applications, etc.


To conclude, assembly language is a low-level language in which the codes are written using symbolic representation of machine codes, whereas high-level languages are programming languages that use keywords and phrases which are closer to natural language like English to write the computer instructions. Examples of some commonly used high-level languages include C, C++, Java, Python, C#, etc.

Updated on: 11-Aug-2023

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