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How Hard Is It to Learn C?

Daisy Waithereo Wambua - October 15, 2022


C is a general purpose programming language used in Windows, Unix, and Linux. It’s one of the most popular languages amongst developers given it is one of the oldest and most universally transferable programming languages. If you’re just starting out in web or software development you might be wondering: is C is hard to learn?

We’ve curated this comprehensive guide to help you learn more about the popular programming language. You will find out what C is used for, how long it takes to learn C, and where to start learning C. Read on to find out if learning C is right for you and your goals.

​​What Is C Used For?

C is a versatile language used for many purposes. It is a fundamental language that thousands of programmers learn before moving on to a more advanced language. Below you will find the most common uses of the C programming language.

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  • Developing Systems Applications. C is popularly known for building the Unix operating system. The high-level language forms the basis of Microsoft Windows and Android applications.
  • Developing Embedded Systems. Given that the programming language is closely affiliated to machines, it can be used in scripting embedded systems. Developers rely on the programming language to script applications and drivers for embedded systems.
  • Creating Graphical User Interface. C cuts across major design applications. It forms the basis of Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.
  • Compiler Creation. The complex language is used for compiler design. Most high-level languages feature compilers compatible with C. Some of the common compilers based on C are MINGW, Clang C, and Apple C.
  • For Gaming and Animation. The C programming language forms the basis of multiple games and animations. Since it is faster than Python and Java, it is a decent language for creating simple programs.

How Hard Is C to Learn?

It is not hard to learn C. Just like any other skill, you will need patience and resilience to master coding using C. The programming language features 32 keywords for its syntax. This makes it a relatively simple coding language to learn.

If you have previous programming experience in coding, you will have an easier time learning C. However, complete beginners can also simplify the initial learning experience by attending a coding training program or course. You can also rely on books written on the functional language to broaden your knowledge.

Is C Harder Than Python?

No, learning C is not harder than learning Python . It’s important to note that the two popular programming languages are relatively different and serve different purposes. Python is an interpreted general-purpose programming language, whereas C is a structured programming language. When coding using Python, you will need fewer lines of code as compared to C.

Compared to Python, error debugging in C is also quite a challenge. This is because the code is dependent on the compiler. The entire source code is compiled before showcasing the errors. Python, on the other hand, showcases one runtime error at a time. Junior programmers can easily pinpoint errors in Python syntax before execution.

Tips to Learn C

  1. Watch A Tutorial. If you are starting from scratch, you should check out free online tutorials on C. These tutorials will give you the proper foundation to explore coding using the programming language. Often these tutorials are absolutely free.
  2. Attend An Online Program. If you are a programmer eager to develop excellent C software, you can delve deeper into the language without breaking the bank by signing up for an online program. Often students seek affordable alternatives to four-year education through online training courses. They offer the convenience and affordability to learn at your own pace.
  3. Seek A Degree. If you want to land a high-paying software development job, you should consider earning a four or two-year degree. The degree programs will expand your knowledge in coding or computer science. This will consequently increase the number of job prospects you will receive.
  4. Get Certified. The best way to gain the attention of potential employers is by earning a certification. Professional C certifications are excellent for helping employers pinpoint top-notch talent in the market. They give them assurance that the professional can handle tasks and advanced concepts related to C programming.
  5. Practice. The most important part of acquiring a skill is constant practice. Once you complete all the formal and non-formal education, you should strive to code daily. This will ensure you refine your skills and remain abreast of developments in the coding world.

How Long Does It Take to Learn C?

It can take a few weeks to a few months to learn C. Each programmer has their own specific timeline in learning the programming language, especially if they are an absolute beginner. Therefore there is no one-size-fits-all for learning how to code using C. Factors like school and work commitments also affect the amount of time it takes to learn C programming.

Where to Start Learning C

A woman sitting outside a café working on her laptop. Is C Hard to Learn?
You can learn how to code using C by attending a coding bootcamp program.

Selecting the best learning platform to master C is a crucial step. Whether you are learning C from scratch or refreshing your memory, you will need to enroll in a program that suits your needs. Often beginners get flustered with the amount of information needed to learn how to code. Instead of scouring the internet, we compiled a list of platforms where you can learn C effectively.

C Coding Bootcamps

The best C coding bootcamps will help you learn how to program using the programming language effectively. These coding bootcamps are keen on designing an in-demand curriculum that helps students learn the most relevant and up-to-date information. You can rely on the programs to gain knowledge of C.

Often these tech bootcamps provide full-time and flexible learning opportunities. Therefore, you do not need to abandon any of your projects to learn how to code. There are multiple online programs that are suitable alternatives to the main programs. In addition, the programs come with mentors and coaches who will guide you in your learning process.

C Online Courses

Another excellent option to learn C is by signing up for C online courses on a platform like Udemy . There are several Massive Online Open Courses that provide short immersive C courses. Some of these platforms provide their courses in C for free. You can learn all the hardest programming languages on your own time with an online course.

If you don’t want to commit weeks of your time to a bootcamp program, you can settle for an online course. These online courses are available globally to hundreds of thousands of students. They are often in partnership with universities or colleges. You can rely on the courses to tackle different aspects of C programming.

C Degree Programs

You can attend a two-year or a four-year degree program to learn C. Community colleges offer associate degrees in computer science that touch on the basics of programming. Some of the programs delve deeper and help students explore multiple modern languages such as C. You will likely also learn additional advanced programming languages in a degree program.

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If you have enough units, you can opt to attend a four-year degree. A four-year degree in computer science will give you the required foundation to take on programming. The bachelor’s degree programs will help you master C and all its features, functions, and variables.

C Free Resources

It does not have to cost a lot of money to learn C. There are plenty of learning resources available to help you master C programming concepts. You can learn through free online C tutorials, communities full of actual programmers, and forums. There are also free workshops and webinars available for interested students.

Is It Hard to Get a Job with C?

No, it’s not hard to get a job with C. The programming language is popular across the globe. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Redhat are among the top-tier companies relying on the object oriented programming language. You can expect multiple job opportunities once you master the different aspects of C. Find out which jobs you can get with C skills below.

You may need to also develop skills in C# or C++ to gain additional job opportunities or advance to higher-level roles. According to ZipRecruiter, a C# programmer earns an average salary of $61,166 annually.

Jobs You Can Get with C Skills

  • Backend Developer. Also called server-side developers, these are professional programmers in charge of the scripting, architecture, and database management systems of a company. They often build and maintain the technology to support a server, application, or database.
  • Game Developer. These are professionals who create software for creating video games. They often work in conjunction with video games designers and developers. They can easily convert any video game concept into a console or mobile phone game.
  • Software Developer. Software developers identify, design, install and test software systems. Companies rely on them to write efficient and clean code. They are also responsible for quality assurance and system upgrades. Software developers work in conjunction with user experience designers, systems analysts, and stakeholders.
  • Quality Analyst. This professional is in charge of testing the components and general functionality of a product to find any vulnerabilities in software used or made by the firm. They design, develop, and execute test plans for projects. Through them, the company ensures that the quality standards are upheld.
  • Programming Architect. Also referred to as software architects, these experts select the best processes and technologies for the development team. They often have a four-year degree in computer science, information systems, or software engineering. However, you can become a programming architect without a degree if you develop an advanced skill level.

Is C Worth Learning?

Yes, C is worth learning. Given that it’s one of the foundational programming languages, C is compatible with higher-level languages. Python, C++, Perl, and PHP are amongst the top programming languages compatible with C. Therefore, learning C as your first language will help you learn other powerful programming languages.

C programming skills will open up multiple job opportunities. There are plenty of companies seeking professionals with key skills in C programming. You will have the luxury to pick the most suitable career path in C. You can also easily switch up your career path as you see fit. Whether you want to specialize in backend development or front end development, C can pave the way.

FAQ: Is C Hard to Learn?

Is C The Hardest Language?

No, C is not the most difficult language. Coding is not hard to learn in general. However, the programming language is relatively challenging to learn. If you are a beginner in programming, you can start by building a solid foundation in computer science before progressing to C. There are multiple beginner-friendly courses and resources available to help you learn from scratch.

Is C Harder Than JavaScript?

No, C is not harder than JavaScript . Just like most programming languages, C requires practice and commitment to learning. In comparison to JavaScript, it is relatively easy to learn, if one has the will to master coding.

Are There Any C Coding Books?

Yes, there are C coding books. If you would prefer to self-study, you can easily rely on coding books to help you. There are plenty of books available to teach you how to code using C from scratch, C best practices , or C techniques. You can browse Amazon book recommendations to find one that best suits your career and skill needs.

Is There A Difference Between C and C++?

C++ is a derivative of C and features the same basic syntax, compilers, code structure, keywords, and operators. However, C++ is a combination of procedural and general-purpose programming languages. C is a procedural programming language.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Daisy Waithereo Wambua

About the author: Daisy, a certified Career Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, is a seasoned writer with a decade of experience in writing, proofreading, and editing. She has spoken at Maseno University to help young women explore new careers and learn more about technology. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Public Relations, a Certificate in Web Development, and a Master's Degree in International Studies.

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