C++ is ranked as the fastest growing programming language according to TIOBE's September 2020 Programming Community Index. A general purpose object-oriented programming language, C++ was designed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1979 as an extension of the C language.
Even today, after nearly four decades of existence, C++ remains the language of choice for programmers and developers. In this article, we'll take a look at what makes C++ so popular and delve into the practical applications of the language and how to build a career in the field.
What is C++ programming?
C++ is an improved and extended version of the C programming language, developed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1979 as part of his PhD. project. Bjarne developed what he called 'C with classes' (later renamed C++) because he felt constrained by existing programming languages that were not ideal for large-scale projects. He used C to build what he wanted because C was already a general purpose language that was efficient and fast in its operations.
C++ is a sophisticated, efficient, and general-purpose programming language. The free-form, statically typed, multi-paradigm, and typically compiled programming language is best suited for intermediate-level programmers. However, those who want to start their programming journey with C++ will find that they can quickly learn programming concepts that will take them far in their careers.
What's behind C++'s enduring appeal and growth?
C++ can be found almost everywhere. About 4.4 million developers worldwide use the language. Many modern systems, such as search engines, virtual reality applications, databases, operating systems, web browsers, and even movie productions, run on C++ code. Adobe product browsers, Unreal Engine, Chrome, and Firefox are built using C++. It is much more preferred in performance critical areas due to its high speed. Additionally, the latest version of the C++20 standard is making C++ the fastest growing language in the developer community.
Considering the popularity and relevance of C++, it is a language worth learning even in 2021. C++ has a huge job market spanning multiple sectors like finance, app development, game development, virtual reality, etc.
The most popular use of C++ is to develop a large infrastructure of software and applications that run on limited resources. C++ has the unique ability to directly manipulate the hardware or machine on which it runs. Therefore, programmers can tune their code to run an application efficiently in any environment, even with limited hardware space or power. These C++ applications run quickly and efficiently on multiple devices, making C++ the perfect choice for many mission-critical applications.
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Background and history of C++
C++ was first released in 1985, but it wasn't until 1998 that the first standardized version, C++98, was released. In 2003, C++03, the next standard, was published with the primary goal of fixing bugs identified in C++98 and ensuring that the language had greater portability and consistency.
The next major update to the language came eight years later (2011) and was called C++11. After that, C++14 was released and simple improvements and bugfixes were made to C++11 before the next major release: C++17. The current version of C++17 has many new features and library much more extensive standard. Based on the current three-year cycle, the next release is scheduled for 2020 and will be called C++20.
Figure 2:c++ script
The use of C++17 has grown by 10% since last year (2018),according to JetBrains, as people continue to adopt the new C++ standards. Projections show that a third of all developers plan to adopt C++17 in the next year.
Figure 3:Adoption of different C++ standards
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Benefits of C++
As a feature-rich programming language, C++ brings many benefits to the table, all of which cannot be listed within the scope of this article. However, as a beginner, here are some of the benefits you should know about:
- Speed.Low-level programming languagesthey are much faster than high-level programming languages like Java and Python. Because C++ is an extended version of C, a low-level programming language, it is one of the fastest programming languages available.
- Efficiency. C++ has a standard template library (STL) that can be used extensively when coding. These libraries provide efficient algorithms that save the programmer time and effort that would otherwise be spent creating code.
- Freedom to choose programming styles. C++ supports around seven different coding styles, making it a multi-paradigm programming language. That way you can select a style that fits your use case without having to use objects.
- Ability to break complex problems into smaller sets. C++ is partly an object-oriented programming language, which means that you can solve complex questions intuitively by creating objects. Additionally, C++ functions allow you to break your code into clear logical blocks that are easy to understand and easy to test and modify.
- Ability to detect errors before execution. C++ is statically typed, which means that the compiler makes no assumptions about what the programmer types. The benefit is that the compiler can catch crashes and errors before execution, which can save time in the long run.
Figure 4:C++ Resources
The practical applications of C++
In this section, we discuss the seven main areas of applications that use C++.
Most of the operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, Symbian OS, and even mobile operating systems like IOS were developed using C++. In general, operating systems must be fast and efficient in managing system resources. The fact that C++ is a high-speed programming language with a wide range of system-level features makes it an ideal choice for writing operating systems.
C++ was developed out of a need to analyze distributed applications of the UNIX operating system, which was the first operating system built using a programming language like C.
C++ being close to the hardware is one of the most used programming languages in game development. Games with graphics as an integral part of their structure use C++ and its high speed. The game requires many resource-intensive features to facilitate multiplayer sessions. C++ can use resources optimally, provide multiplayer networking, and is well suited to replace the complexities of 3D games.
C++ has been used to create popular games like World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, game engines like Unreal Engine, and game consoles like Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.
GUI based applications
Many widely used GUI (Graphical User Interface) based and desktop applications are developed with C++ due to its high speed. Some examples are Adobe system applications such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and Microsoft's Win Amp Media Player, all developed in C++.
Your current browser is probably written in C++. It powers back-end services that retrieve information from databases and translate code into interactive web pages. With C++, browsers can run at high speed and with minimal lag, so it doesn't take too long for content to appear on our screens.
C++ is used to develop the most popular browsers we use today, such as:
- internet explorer
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- Netscape Navigator
database management system
Popular database administration tools like MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, and MongoDB were developed in C++. MySQL is the world's most popular open source database, used by most organizations. These databases are an integral part of major applications created by giants like Google, Netflix, YouTube, and Adobe. C++ features such as file handling, high speed, reliability, functions, classes, and objects make it ideal for data management.
Cloud computing and distributed applications
C++ becomes an automatic choice for implementing cloud storage systems as it is close to hardware or machine level language. It is very compatible with machines. Therefore, large enterprises using cloud computing and distributed applications use C++ as it provides support for multi-threading that can build concurrent applications with load tolerance for the hardware system.
Bloomberg is a distributed RDBMS application used to provide accurate financial news and information to investors in real time. C++ was used to write the Bloomberg development environment and libraries.
The C++ Standard Library has a wide variety of built-in functions. Performance and speed become important for high-level math calculations. Therefore, most libraries use C++ as their main programming language. C++ is an ideal candidate for a back-end programming language, providing libraries for many new and popular high-level libraries, including machine language libraries.
For example, TensorFlow, a powerful open source machine learning library created by Google's Brain Team, is built with C++ applications on the back-end.
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Why learn C++?
Now that you know some of the use cases for C++ as a programming language, it's much easier to determine if it will benefit your career, hobby, or future qualification goal. If you're still not sure, here are some reasons why you should learn C++:
- This will help you understand the architecture of the computer. Since C++ is a low-level language that interacts directly with hardware, it allows you to learn how computer memory works and how information is stored.
- There is a large community and many open source projects. If you want to learn or adapt applications for your use, C++ provides many repositories. For example, GitHub alone has over half a million repositories to choose from. StackOverflow, the ultimate Q&A platform for developers, has nearly half a million C++ related questions and great answers from experienced C++ developers.
- It is widely used. C++ is used to build popular operating systems, browsers, games, and applications, such as Adobe products (for example, Photoshop), Facebook, Autodesk products, and more. Some say that C++ is used so much that it is irreplaceable.
Career Prospects in C++
With only C++ programming experience, you'll have excellent job opportunities, salaries, and career prospects. However, for a career based on programming languages likeJavaand Python (which are more in demand than C++) or for careers based onInterface, back-end efull stackdevelopment, you will go much further with experience in C++. Furthermore, in development domains such assoftware testing, you are expected to know C++.
Opotential salaryWhat you can expect to earn after learning C++ will depend on your skill level, geographic location, employer, whether you're freelancing, and other factors.
How to build a career in C++
Although C++ is not an easy language to learn, the range of applications that can be developed using the language is impressive. The question is, how much C++ do you need to know to get a job in the field? The answer should be 'there is always more to learn, no matter if you are a beginner or an expert with 20 years of programming experience. The more knowledge and skills you have, the more likely you are to land a respectable job.
If you have a background in C++ or are interested in learning the language for a career in C++, consider contacting the team at Simplilearn, the world's leading online certification bootcamp.
There are bright job prospects and multiple pathways in C++ programming for professionals with extensive knowledge. There are different types of jobs that will help you build a career in C++.
Some of them are:
- junior programmer
- Lead Programmer
- Software developer
- software developer engineer
- Quality Analyst
- game programmer
- C++ Analyst
- programming architect
- Back-end developer
- integrated engineer
- database developer
Industry giants like Google, Amazon, Flipkart, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Infosys, Sun Microsystems and others hire C++ professionals. So there is no shortage of jobs if you have the right skills.
C++ developers are in high demand and enjoy some of the highest paying jobs in the industry. The average base salary for a C++ developer is around $103,035 per year. However, the amount of money you earn as a C++ programmer will depend on your skill set, qualifications, and experience.
Helpful tips and other things to keep in mind
With either approach (self-paced or instructor-led), you'll need to go through severalC++ Tutorials and Booksto fully understand what you learn. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin your journey:
- You need to make a long-term commitment. The amount of time and energy required to learn C++ varies depending on your level of commitment. Depending on your current situation and previous experiences, the time required to learn C++ may vary. However, don't expect to fully learn C++ in a week.
- You need to apply carefully. There is a lot to learn, and it can be overwhelming to go through theC++ fundamentals. As such, you should take the time to understand the fundamentals and seek support from more experienced C++ programmers and colleagues.
- Follow C++ guidelines and standards. The guidelines encourage you to focus on simple rules that help you get the job done efficiently. Building on such a solid foundation will help you build on what you've learned without having to go back to basics every time you encounter a different environment or specific purpose.
- Practice, practice and more practice. Whichever approach you take to learning C++, taking the time to apply what you've learned is the best way to know if you understand what you've learned.
- Find bugs and broken code to fix. Whether you're building your own apps or trying to fix other people's code, you'll learn more when you're trying to fix those problems, because you're forced to access different areas that you've learned.
- Read C++ code from different people and learn different coding styles. Learning on your own can give you tunnel vision, which can prevent you from gaining new ideas or more direct ways of doing what you've learned. So understanding how other people think when reading your code can be invaluable in your C++ journey.
- Join a community and attend conferences. There are many useful communities you can join that can help you on your C++ learning journey, for example,code chief,stack overflow, miDraft code.
Now that you are familiar with the wide range of C++ applications, go ahead and explore the C++ career prospects we have mentioned in this article and clarify your vision to embark on the right path.
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