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How to Learn C++

C++ may not be the first programming language you would think of when someone asks you to name a programming language. But C++ is everywhere in technology.

The language, which is said to be “close to hardware,” is efficient, lending itself well to applications such as gaming and building graphical user interfaces where these two benefits are particularly important.

How does one go about learning the C++ language? That’s what we are going to cover in this article. We will discuss what C++ is, where you can go to learn it, and how knowing the language can increase your salary.

What is C++?

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C++, initially developed by Bjarne Stroustrup, is a programming language built upon C. C++ was initially released in 1995 and since then has undergone several releases which improved the language. Today, C++ is used widely for gaming, graphical interface programming, and in operating system development.

C++ is taught in university computer science classes around the world because the language incorporates many computer science and programming essential topics. 

Jobs that Require C++ Skills

What jobs need C++ skills? Despite the fact C++ is old and seen by some to be archaic, there are many jobs in which C++ skills are necessary. Here are a few job titles you can expect to ask for C++ skills in some cases:

  • Software developer
  • Quality assurance analyst
  • C++ Developer
  • Embedded systems developer
  • Game developer

Remember that these are just job titles that may request C++ skills. Not all individual jobs that have these titles will need C++ skills because there are a lot of other languages used in these positions. Nevertheless, C++ is so important in technology that you can find a company that could use your skills under one of the above titles and beyond.

What Companies Use C++?

C++ is widely used by businesses around the world due to the performance offered by the language. Here are a few companies that use C++ in some way:

  • NASA
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft
  • Bloomberg
  • Oracle
  • Mozilla
  • PayPal

C++ is particularly advantageous for large-scale applications, such as applications that the sorts of companies listed above develop. Whereas speed may not matter much for a small-scale project, these big companies may depend on C++ to help them keep their infrastructure operating at the desired speed.

Salary for C++ Developers

C++ is not the most intuitive language to learn and takes a long time to master. As a result, C++ developers are well compensated for their work. The average C software developer earns $76,526 per year according to Glassdoor. The salary for a C++ developer varies depending on the type of company at which you go to work as well as the sort of work you will do (i.e. game development, general software development).

What Skills Do I Need to Master C++

You do not need any programming experience to learn C++. With that in mind, having an understanding of C will help you massively in understanding C++. Because C++ is built on C, there are many overlaps between the two languages.

C++ is not recommended to beginners. This is due to the more complex syntax C++ has over various other languages. That does not mean you cannot learn C++ as your first language. You may just need to spend more time learning to get your head around the basic concepts.

Where to Learn C++

Finding a good course or learning resource is crucial to learning C++. But not everyone likes the same resources because everyone learns in a different way. That’s why we have made a list of a few top C++ learning resources which you may want to look at if you decide to learn C++.

C++ Tutorial for Beginners – Full Course

  • Author: freeCodeCamp
  • Price: Free
  • Type of Resource: Video

This video is a one-stop-shop for all the C++ basics. Like most of freeCodeCamp’s beginner tutorials, you will start by installing the tools you need to use C++. You will then go on to write your first “Hello World” program and learn more basic concepts.

This course gradually explores more complicated topics, from working with strings to using arrays. When taking this course, you may want to pause every now and again and review what has been said. There is a lot of ground covered in the four hours this course lasts.

‘The C++ Programming Language’

  • Author: Bjarne Stroustrup
  • Price: $58.94
  • Type of Resource: Book

If you ask a C++ developer for a book recommendation, this will most likely be the first book they tell you about. Written by the creator of C++ and now in its fourth edition, this book covers most of what you need to know about C++.

The book includes best practices on how to use the C++ programming language as well as tutorials on all the main concepts. While this book is slightly out of date, a lot of the concepts you learn in the book are still highly relevant today.

C++ Tutorial for Complete Beginners

  • Author: John Purcell
  • Price: Free
  • Type of Resource: Course

The C++ Tutorial for Complete Beginners course contains almost 18 hours of content on C++, divided into 11 sections. This course does not require any background knowledge but does come with a warning that C++ requires a lot of patience to learn.

In the course, you will cover topics ranging from basic syntax to object-oriented development. You will be tasked with completing a so-called “particle fire” program to showcase the skills you have acquired while learning.

Learn C++ by Creating

  • Author: Andrew Volk
  • Price: $19.99
  • Type of Resource: Course

This course embodies the principle of learning by doing. In this course, you will create nine programs, from a simple “Hello World!’ example to building an application that has a conversation with a user. Unlike some courses, which are more focused in teaching syntax in isolation, you will immediately learn how to apply specific features of C++ in real-life applications.

C++ Crash Course For Beginners

  • Author: Traversy Media
  • Price: Free
  • Type of Resource: Video

This video course is a short introduction to C++. The video moves at a fast pace, covering a lot of ground in only one and a half hours. So, you may find yourself pausing quite a bit to revise something that has been covered. But if you pay attention and keep practicing what you see in the course, you will walk away with a lot of useful knowledge.

The C++ Language Tutorial

  • Author: Juan Soulié
  • Price: Free
  • Type of Resource: Video

Produced by Juan Soulié at cplusplus.com, this book is a good place to learn about C++. The book is written for anyone who wants to learn C++, even if you do not have any knowledge of programming. The book consists of six parts, each of which has its own sections, and features detailed code snippets  and reference tables throughout.

C++ Tutorials

You will find many written tutorials online which cover the basics of C++ syntax. If you are interested in learning through written tutorials, check out the three resources we have curated below. All of the resources we have researched are suitable for beginners to C++.

Programiz C++ Tutorials

The Programiz Learn C++ course covers basic C++ syntax. You will learn about flow control, functions, arrays and strings, structures, pointers, and more. Each tutorial features code snippets, outputs from code snippets, and detailed explanations for the concepts covered in the tutorial.

W3Schools C++ Introduction

W3Schools, who are known for their web development tutorials, have written a guide to C++. You will learn about the basic C++ syntax and then move onto talking about classes. While W3Schools does not have as many tutorials on C++ as other sites, each guide is well explained and suited to beginners just learning about C++.

A Guide to Learning C++ Basics

What do you need to know to start writing your own C++ programs? If you do not think about this question, you may end up struggling to figure out where you are. That’s why we have done some research and found the main concepts beginners need to know about.

  • Data Types and Syntax. You need to get a feel for what a C++ program looks like and what parts of a C++ program are required in any program. You should also learn about the basic C++ data types, what they mean, and how they are used. 
  • Conditionals, Loops, and Functions. Conditionals like if statements let you control what lines of code are run and when. Loops automate repetitive tasks you need to complete. Functions cut down on repetition by putting code you need to reuse in different situations in one place to which you can refer.
  • Arrays. Arrays store lists of information. You should feel comfortable working with arrays.
  • Objects. C++ incorporates object-oriented programming principles. Indeed, the language was designed to make C object-oriented. You will need to know the basics of object-oriented programming and how C incorporates principles from this paradigm.
  • Inheritance. Inheritance lets you share data from different classes. You should spend time familiarizing yourself with the basics of inheritance.
  • Pointers and Structures. Pointers store the addresses in which variables are kept. Structures group variables of different data types. You should learn how to use both pointers and structures.

After spending some time learning about these fundamentals, you will be in good shape when it comes time to learning more advanced concepts in C++.

How Long Does It Take to Learn C++?

C++ is not an easy language to learn. You will need to spend at least a month or two learning to get a handle on the basics of C++. That’s only the start of your learning. To learn more advanced features of syntax, you will need to study for three or so more months.

If you want to use C++ for professional use, expect to spend at least six to eight months refining your skills. This amount of study will prepare you for an entry-level position in C++, although even at this point you will still need to do a lot of learning.

Should I Learn C++?

Should you learn C++? That is a question you need to answer for yourself. While there is a lot of buzz around other programming languages, C++ is not going to go away any time soon. The language has been eloquently designed and performs better than many other languages.

If you want to work in games development, C++ is a great skill to have. Many companies also need software engineers who know C++ to help them build their core infrastructure. C++ is a skill that will be useful for years to come, meaning that you can make a career out of C++.

Read about the C++ syntax. Ask other developers what they think about the language. Research whether C++ is likely to meet your personal learning goals. Only then can you make an informed decision about whether C++ is right for you.

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