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Modern programmers are required to have a dynamic and constantly-evolving set of skills. It’s crucial, also, for programmers to understand which skills they should prioritize over others. This is especially true when it comes to the “C group” of languages. Today, there’s a common misconception prevalent among the programming community, which says that C and C++ are of more or less equal value. While it’s certainly true that both languages are essential in the long run, most experienced programmers will tell you that C is the more versatile of the two, and should, therefore, be learned first.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of these languages, as well as some of the main reasons why you should learn C before learning C++.

An Introduction to C and C++

C and C++ are the shorthand names given to two separate but closely related coding languages. As mentioned, they’ve both become essential to the programmer’s toolkit. Though there are some critical differences between the two (which we’ll explore below), they also share many common qualities. For example, both C and C++:

  • Are composed of a similar syntax.
  • Utilize the same basic code structure.
  • Share an identical memory model.
  • Contain identical static variables.

Okay – now that we have a sense of the commonalities between the two, let’s proceed by breaking down why programmers should make learning C a priority over learning C++.

Why Should You Learn C Before Learning C++

Though the two languages do share a lot in common, some essential differences are essential to understand. In doing so – and in making it a priority to learn C first – you’ll be providing yourself with a much smoother and more coherent learning process.

Here are seven reasons why you should learn C before learning C++:

  • C++ is typically regarded as a “superset” of C (in other words, it incorporates and builds on the basic concepts of C).
  • C uses a more foundational and easily-graspable grammar.
  • C contains fewer keywords than C++.
  • C only supports procedural programming, while C++ supports both procedural programming and object-oriented programming.
  • C does not require users to continually and manually allocate memory, whereas C++ is much more hands-on in this regard.
  • To be able to use Java successfully, most programmers find it beneficial first to gain a familiarity with C.
  • C++, in general, is more complicated and advanced than C and so can quickly lead to frustration for beginners.

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