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What is C++ programming language and how and where to use it

By Editorial Team on 2018-07-11

C++ is an Object-Oriented version of C programming language. In spite of lots of similarities between C and C++, codes written in C++ are more structured. This article reviews key features of C++ coding language.


One of the first modern programming languages to be created was C. C was created as a language that allowed developers to compile code down to machine code and run it on their computers directly. With C, the Unix system was created, which came with the gcc, or the compiler for C so anyone could write their own C programs on any Unix based machine. MS-DOS also used C. These two operating systems are the basis of many of the popular operating systems we use today - Windows, MacOS, Ubuntu, etc.


While C was extremely popular at its creation, it had a few shortcomings. It was ultimately a procedural language, so it would run from the beginning of the main method to the end with procedure calls using only native data types. Additionally, with the creation of databases and data structure abstractions, object-oriented languages like Simula were growing in popularity to run algorithms tests. The extent to which C was object-oriented was using structures with native data type fields. This introduced C++.


C++ was created as an object-oriented version of C. New programming paradigms had been introduced that favored a more modular code base with minimal abstraction and C++ could offer that. C++ enabled more data types, like booleans, which we can now use in languages like Java and Python, and set the basis for modern object-oriented programming. C++ became one of the first “high level” languages of its time because of how minimal the abstraction was when writing code. Developers could use high-level definitions of data fields in their creation of data structures while still being able to use low-level features like pointers and manual memory management. This enabled C++ developers to, in essence, write performant programs similar to programs written in C, with a much higher level syntax and abstraction.


C++ has all the features most object-oriented languages have. C++ set the standard for object-oriented concepts such as polymorphism, instance variables, encapsulation, etc. Because of this, many programming languages like Python and Java are based on C++. This makes it easier for developers proficient in these languages to pick up C++ a little quicker as they will be familiar with the programming paradigm. Additionally, C++ uses a much easier memory management system than C. Using C++, developers can create objects based on classes on the heap more easily without having to calculate the byte size of them. This is greatly helpful for developers as it minimizes the amount of code needed for memory management while maintaining the same performance.


Today C++ has many uses. C++ is used in almost all software abstractions of databases, network clients, HTTP servers and even language interpreters. While many of these have vast codebases, they have the potential to be altered due to the open source nature of many of them. This enables developers who are proficient in C++ to be able to contribute to these code bases. Because of C++’s low-level nature it enables developers to create really fast abstractions which would otherwise be much slower in a language like Python or Java. Additionally, C++ has lots of applications in many different industries. It can be used in financial systems to track markets to developing games for consoles or even be used in an embedded circuit board that can track the weather. C++ is the original general purpose programming language that can basically run anywhere with performance.


Programming Languages and Resources for Software Developers
The most common programming languages for software engineers are C, C++, Python, and Java. Also, for building native mobile Apps, iOS Swift and Java Android are used for building iPhone and Android Apps respectively.

C++ coding is well suited for those interested in pursuing a career in software engineering; however, other options are  system admin, web design and development and mobile App design and development. It is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.


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