Every now and again I get asked the question: should I learn C++?
Now, as with any programming language, there are many pros and cons to learning C++.
Therefore, I will always be an advocate for learning any language you want to. As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort required, then there should be nothing stopping you!
If you haven’t quite made your mind up about learning C++, read on to find out a bit more about it:
C++ is one of the most widely used programming languages in the world, powering everything from operating systems to video games.
But where did it come from?
The aim was to add object-oriented programming (OOP) features to the procedural C language. The first commercial implementation was released in 1985.
Over time, C++ has evolved enormously, going through several standard revisions that have added many major features - like templates, exceptions, references, and the STL standard library.
The latest C++ standard is C++20, ratified in 2020, which introduces concepts, modules and ranges among other improvements.
So why should you consider learning C++ as a programming language?
Here are some key advantages of C++:
- Speed and Efficiency - C++ is compiled directly into native machine code, making it extremely fast and efficient for tasks like game development, high-frequency trading, and other performance-critical applications.
- Versatility - C++ supports procedural, object-oriented and generic programming paradigms. This flexibility allows C++ to be used for developing desktop apps, device drivers, embedded firmware, high-performance servers, and even Android apps.
- Systems Programming - C++ is widely used for developing operating systems, databases, compilers and other system software where access to low-level hardware control is needed.
- Large Developer Community - C++ has existed for decades and has one of the largest developer communities worldwide. There is abundant code, documentation, tools, and libraries to leverage.
- In-Demand Skill - There is great industry demand for C++ developers, especially in fields like finance, game engines, robotics, drivers, and graphics. Learning C++ can open up lucrative career opportunities.
Some pros of C++ include:
- Memory access control and low-level manipulations
- Speed and performance closer to hardware
- Ability to use procedural or OOP approach
- Strong static type checking and type safety
Potential downsides to consider:
- Complex syntax with lots of keywords and concepts
- Manual memory management can lead to errors
- Steep learning curve for beginners compared to languages like Python
- Larger executable file sizes due to compilation
As you can see, with both strengths and weaknesses, C++ is an extremely powerful language perfect for certain applications.
Though it may not be the best choice for everything - but no language is - it’s still very relevant and popular today.
If you’re sold on learning C++, the good news is there are many free-to-use online resources available for you to learn it.
Here are 7 top online resources for learning C++ for free:
#1 - Codecademy
Codecademy's Learn C++ course offers an immersive introduction to C++.
This course covers the fundamentals and provides practical experience in crafting projects and managing computer memory.
Beyond theory, you are encouraged to dive into hands-on tasks, crafting real-world projects that solidify your coding skills.
A key feature of the course is its emphasis on managing computer memory, an essential aspect of C++ that sets it apart from many modern languages.
#2 - LearnCpp
LearnCpp.com is a free platform designed for anyone eager to learn C++.
The tutorials begin with foundational knowledge, progressively deepening into advanced C++ concepts.
Unlike traditional resources, LearnCpp emphasises both the correct way to program in C++ and the pitfalls to avoid.
Lessons are enriched with clear examples, and you are encouraged to actively practice through hands-on exercises.
The platform aims to give you an enjoyable learning journey and to reap the most benefits, you are advised to manually type examples, experiment, tackle quizzes, and create your own programs.
#3 - Programiz
Programiz offers a structured Learn C++ Programming tutorial for learning C++.
The tutorial covers foundational topics like C++ Introduction and advances to complex concepts such as C++ Inheritance.
With its step-by-step approach complemented by examples and references, you can efficiently navigate through topics, from basic flow controls and functions to aspects like pointers and object-oriented programming.
Overall Programiz's guide will give you access to a wealth of C++ resources to kickstart your learning journey.
#4 - Cplusplus
Cplusplus.com's C++ Language tutorial provides a detailed guide to the C++ language, ranging from foundational basics to the advanced features introduced in C++11.
Each chapter is pragmatically designed, incorporating example programs to facilitate immediate hands-on practice.
The tutorial begins with core concepts like program structure, variables, and operators, progressing to compound data types such as arrays and pointers.
It then goes deeper into object-oriented aspects, covering class structures, inheritance, and polymorphism.
Additionally, it touches on other vital language components like type conversions and exceptions and takes a look at the C++ Standard Library, including file handling.
#5 - Educative
Educative's Learn C++ from Scratch course offers a free interactive journey through the world of C++ programming.
Beginning with a basic 'hello world' program, the course dives into essential C++ constructs like conditional statements, loops, and functions.
As you progress, it introduces advanced concepts including inheritance, classes, and templates.
By the time you're finished, the course claims you'll be an intermediate-level C++ developer, ready to take on your own real-life projects.
#6 - CodeLearn
CodeLearn's C++ for Beginners course offers fundamental C++ skills, such as utilising libraries, declaring variables, and managing data imports/exports.
It also introduces iterative processes like 'for' and 'while' loops, applicable in C++ and beyond.
By taking this course you will grasp essential programming constructs, including arrays and strings, and will delve into basic algorithmic techniques, function writing, and recursive algorithms.
#7 - TutorialsPoint
TutorialPoint's C++ Tutorial is designed primarily for beginners, guiding you from fundamental to advanced C++ concepts.
The tutorial emphasises that mastering concepts is crucial when learning C++.
They explain that the ultimate goal of understanding a programming language like C++ is to enhance one's programming capabilities, both in developing new systems and maintaining existing ones.
Therefore this tutorial will provide you with the skills you need to master C++ by taking you through all of the key concepts of the language step-by-step.
To gain a good understanding of any programming, a great place to start (and continually use for reference) is with the official documentation.
Here are a couple of great reference docs:
From the various resources we've explored, it's obvious that there are several great online resources dedicated to easing the learning curve for beginners.
Therefore, regardless of your abilities, there is something to get you started on your journey to mastering C++.
Although it might be daunting at first, remember you’re better at coding than you think you are, and no language is a barrier to your programming success!
Learning C++ will give you the foundation you need to tackle any object-oriented programming language, and have you building awesome applications in no time 🚀
When in doubt, compile it out!
From your fellow ever-growing dev,
💙 If you liked this article...
I publish a weekly newsletter to a community of ever-growing developers, seeking to improve programming skills and stay on a journey of continuous self-improvement. Focusing on tips for powering up your programming productivity 🚀.
Get more articles like this straight to your inbox.
And stay in touch on 🐦❌ @evergrowingdev
And if you're looking for the right tools to build awesome things, check out Devpages.io, an ultimate hub I built with 100s of developer tools and resources 🛠