When comparing Julia vs Clojure, the Slant community recommends Clojure for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Clojure is ranked 11th while Julia is ranked 24th. The most important reason people chose Clojure is:
Clojure programmers are highly encouraged to use immutable data in their code. Therefore, most data will be immutable by default. State change is handled by functions (for transformations) and atoms (an abstraction that encapsulates the idea of some entity having an identity).
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Pro Strong dynamic typing
Dynamic and high level, but does not isolate the user from properly thinking about types. Can do explicit type signatures which is great for teaching structured thinking.
Pro Almost as fast as C
Julia runs almost as fast as (and in fact in some cases faster than) C code.
Pro Great standard REPL
Out of the box Julia has a very good Read-Eval-Print-Loop, which both completes functions and types, as well as completion based on history of previous statements. It integrates well with the shell and has an excellent online help system.
Pro Nice regular syntax
Julia code is easy to read and avoid a lot of unnecessary special symbols and fluff. It uses newline to end statements and "end" to end blocks so there is no need for lots of semicolons and curly braces. It is regular in that unless it is a variable assignment, function name always comes first. No need to be confused about whether something is a method on an object or a free function.
Unlike Python and Ruby, since you can annotate the types a function operates on, you can overload function names, so that you can use the same function name for many data types. So you can keep simple descriptive function names and not have to invent artificial function names to separate them from the type they operate on.
Pro Written in itself
The Julia language is written in itself to a much larger extent than most other languages, so a budding programmer can read through the depths of the standard library and learn exactly how things work all the way down to the low-level bit-twiddling details, which can be englightening.
Pro Powerful n-dimensional arrays
Julia has built in n-dimensional arrays similar in functionality as Python's numpy.
Pro Function and operator broadcasting
You can perform operations on scalars, for example 2^2 or [1, 2, 3].^2.
Pro Function overloading
You can have multiple functions with the same name, but doing different things depending on function arguments and argument types.
Pro Amazing learning curve
Julia requires no boilerplate code – a beginner needs to write only the parts they care about. This combined with the REPL provides the best learning experience available.
Pro High-level code
Julia provides a high level of abstraction, making platform-independent programming trivial and easing the learning curve.
Pro Immutability is the default
Clojure programmers are highly encouraged to use immutable data in their code. Therefore, most data will be immutable by default.
State change is handled by functions (for transformations) and atoms (an abstraction that encapsulates the idea of some entity having an identity).
Pro Minimal syntax
Being a LISP, programs are simple: they're just functions and data. That it doesn't get bogged down with syntax or the loftier FP concepts like monads makes it one of most approachable functional languages for beginners.
Pro Tries to solve problems as simply as possible
Simplicity is one of the pillars on which Clojure is built. Clojure tries to solve many problems in software development as simply as possible. Instead of building complex interfaces, objects or factories, it uses immutability and simple data structures.
Pro Good for writing concurrent programs
Since Clojure is designed for concurrency, it offers things like Software Transaction Memory, functional programming without side-effects and immutable data structures right out of the box. This means that the development team can focus their energies on developing features instead of concurrency details.
Pro Cross platform
Clojure compiles to JVM bytecode and runs inside the JVM. This means that applications written in Clojure are cross-platform out of the box.
Pro Huge ecosystem of libraries to work with
There's a very large ecosystem of high-quality Clojure libraries which developers can use. One example is Incanter. It's a great data analytics library and a very powerful tool for dealing with matrices, datasets and csv files.
Pro Dynamic language
A superb data processing language. While rich type and specification systems are available they are optional.
Pro Rich Hickey
The creator is so awesome, he's a feature. Just look up his talks and see why.
Clojure has an elegant macro system which enables language additions, Domain-specific languages (DSLs), to be created much easier than most other languages (with the exception of Racket, perhaps).
Pro Great tool used in automating, configuring and managing dependencies available
Leiningen is a very useful tool for Clojure developers. It helps wiht automation, configuration and dependency management. It's basically a must for every Clojure project.
Pro Game is available with which you can learn Clojure
Nightmod is a tool used to make "live-moddable" games. It displays the game's code while you are playing and allows you to inject new code using Clojure. This can be a fun and useful experience for people trying to learn Clojure.
Pro No C/Java syntax
Con Young language with limited support
Julia was released in 2012. Due to its short existence, there is a limited amount of support for the language. Very few libraries exist as of yet, and the community is still quite small (though growing quickly).
Con 1-based array and column major
This design probably comes from Matlab, but makes it unnatural to interface C and C++ and python.
Con Confusing error messages
Clojure's error messages more often than not are very confusing. They usually involve stack traces that do not thoroughly explain where the error was caused or what caused it.
Con Tied to the JVM and it's limitations.
Some language constructs were obviously created as workarounds for JVM limitations. This makes the language much less elegant than it could have been.
Also, the JVM has a very cumbersome FFI.
Con Syntax can be alien / jarring for those used to other Lisps
Perhaps some may consider this attribute an advantage, but I do not. Clojure does not attempt to maintain significant compatibility with other Lisps. So, if you already know a Lisp or are used to the way Lisp works in general, you'll probably be confused if you take a look at Clojure. See these resources for more details on this subject: