Learn C programming with online courses and programs
What is C programming?
Written in 1972 at Bell Labs, C is the foundation for many aspects of modern software development including the UNIX operating system, Windows, macOS, databases such as MySQL, and even 3D movies.Footnote 1
C is considered a middle-level language, which means it interacts with the abstraction layer of a computer system. By contrast, high-level languages are easier for humans to read and interpret.Footnote 2 C programming is the craft of writing C code to accomplish both front- and back-end functionality for programs and systems.
It presents a greater challenge than many other modern programming languages, since its syntax is complicated and it doesn’t include the features modern languages offer to speed up development.Footnote 3
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Why learn C programming?
C is over 50 years old, and many modern languages are considered easier to learn and use. So why is C programming still considered an essential skill for computer scientists?
One reason is speed. As a middle-level language, C is a compiled language and can perform quicker than interpreted languages like Python on certain tasks. Learning C programming also provides a strong foundation for learning other languages.Footnote 4
Once you know C, learning the syntax of other programming languages can feel easier. C is also particularly versatile; you can write and compile C code on almost any computer. This makes it a kind of universal language for discussing programming concepts.Footnote 5
What is covered in a C programming tutorial?
The curriculum you pursue or type of C programming course you choose to take should reflect your level of experience.
In a beginner course for those with limited programming experience, learners may focus on a few simple programs to introduce them to C programming syntax. This includes C programming fundamentals, such as the basic C functions, operators and conditionals, loops and errors, arrays and strings, and pointers and memory. From there, learners can move on to more advanced topics such as multithreaded programming.Footnote 6 A strong foundation in mathematics and programming can prepare you to succeed in a C programming course or coding boot camp.
Some bachelor’s programs in computer science may include C programming as a required course. Similarly, if you want to pursue a master’s program in data science, you will likely draw on C extensively since it is widely used in the field.
Jobs in C programming
A trained C programmer may work in numerous fields, including scientific research, software engineering, and data science.
Software engineers work on developing applications and operating systems, collaborating with multidisciplinary teams including UI/UX designers and data scientists. Meanwhile, data scientists use coding to analyze data sets and provide insights, and their work is integral to machine learning. The versatility of the C programming language makes it a valuable asset in these professions and more.
Every job and its requirements vary. For some, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in a technical field such as computer science may be required to apply. Other positions may accept a background that includes a boot camp or short course experience.
How to become a C developer online
Knowledge of C can help you become proficient in other development languages and set you up for a career in software or web development. There are many online C programming courses that can provide you with an understanding of C programming techniques.
Some of these programs will offer you a professional certificate as proof of proficiency in C. However, this certificate alone does not necessarily guarantee you a job as a C developer. As mentioned, some jobs may require degrees from institutions of higher education, and many will require a portfolio of prior work. Your portfolio should demonstrate that you have an understanding of C programming techniques and have gone beyond your training to demonstrate creativity and commitment.Footnote 7