What is C Programming? (2023)

The Cprogramming language is a general-purpose, operating system-agnostic, and procedural language that supports structured programming and provides low-level access to the system memory. Dennis Ritchie invented C language in 1972 at AT&T (then called Bell Laboratory), where it was implemented in the UNIX system on DEC PDP II. It was also the successor of the B programming language invented by Ken Thompson. C was designed to overcome the problems encountered by BASIC, B, and BPCL programming languages. By 1980, C became the most popular language for mainframes, microcomputers, and minicomputers.

Features of C Programming

Loved by programmers for doing low-level coding and embedded programming, C has found its way gradually into the semiconductor, hardware, and storage industries. The most important features provided by the C programming languages include:

  • It has inbuilt functions and operators that can solve virtually any complex problem
  • C is the combination of both low level (assembly) and high-level programming languages; also, it can be used to write an application and interact with low-level system memory and hardware
  • It can be written on practically any operating system and even works in most handheld devices
  • Programs written in C are speedy due to the support provided by its datatypes and operators
  • It is easily extendable, as C++ was derived from C with additions like OOPS and other features
  • The functions and operators are supported by the libraries provided by the programming language itself

What is C Programming? (1)

Get a firm foundation in C, the most commonly used programming language in software development with the C Programming Course.

C Program (“Hello World”)

#include <stdio.h>

#include <conio.h>

int main ()


int a = 1, b=2, c=0;

int c = a + b;

printf(“Hello World”);

printf(“C = “ %d, c);

return 0;


(Video) C in 100 Seconds

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What is C Programming? (2)

Preprocessor Directives

The #include in the first line of the C program is referred to as preprocessor directives. All of the preprocessors will start with the # symbol. It is the first line that is executed, having the library file ending with .h. The stdio.h in the above program will have libraries associated with print to the console output. This will also associate the program with the library. The compiler to transform the program before compilation will use the preprocessor. Macros are also similar to preprocessors, but they are all user-defined and help in expanding the values in all places in the program.

For example:

#define AREA=354;

This will substitute the variable AREA with 354 everywhere in the program and requires less effort by the programmers in the event a change is needed in the future.

Header Files

There are some standard header files provided by the language, which can be used in the program to do mathematical or logical calculations or even print to the console or files. In the above example, you have used printf function, which prints the output to the console. The stdio.h header file will have relevant or associated code for printing the output to the console, so it has to be included upfront in the program for execution.

main() function

This is an important function in the C program within which the content of the program or logic or calculation will be written. The main can have return types, and in the above example, it has an integer as the return types.

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What is C Programming? (3)

(Video) C Programming Tutorial for Beginners

Compiling a C Program:

There are multiple ways to compile a C program. You can either use freely available editors provided by Turbo C. You can download the Turbo C editor over the internet; use it to write a program and compile using the Compile (Alt+ F9) option, and execute using Run (Ctrl + F9). The Turbo C editor is suitable for beginners, as the IDE is user-friendly. However, if you don’t have any IDEs (for example, if you’d like to execute a C program in Non-GUI environments like UNIX or Linux), you can use the following command:

$ gcc helloworld.c

$ . /a.out

Data Types

Data types are nothing but how the programmers enter, store, and manipulate data in the program. Like all other languages, C has a variety of data types, and they are mainly classified as primary datatypes, derived data types, and user-defined data types.

Primary data types are the ones that are a fundamental part of C programming language and are mostly straightforward to use (they are int, char, float, and void). Int is used to hold whole numbers and can take values like zero, positive, or negative, but it can’t contain negative values. Float and double are used to hold real numbers, and they differ from each other in byte size. Similarly, int also can handle longer and shorter ranges, which are called short and long. The table below summarizes the different data types and the size each holds in memory.


Size (in bytes)

Format Specifier


min 2, normally 4











short int

2 normally


unsigned int

min 2, normally 4


long int

min 4, normally 8


long long int

min 8


unsigned long int

min 4


unsigned long long int

min 8


signed char



unsigned char



long double

min 10, normally 12 or 16


The format specifier is dependent on the data type used in the program and is used to tell the compiler the type of data being processed during scanf and printf function. If the scanf has %d, then it is processing integer (int), and if it has %c, then it is processing character.

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What is C Programming? (4)

Derived data types are primitive data types forming new data structures called arrays, functions, and C pointers. For example, an array can contain a homogenous set of primitive data types like int, float, or double and can now act as a new data type in C programming language. Functions in C are both user-defined and standard library functions like scanf(), printf(), gets() and puts().

User-defined data types are defined by users and are usually a combination of data types or heterogeneous data types. For example, a structure may contain:

struct employee


char name[100];

int empid;

float salary;


With the above structure in place, the user can now define a user-defined data type as follows:

struct employee info;

Operators in C

Operators are symbols used to perform mathematical or logical operations on data. The following is the category of operators present in C:

  • Arithmetic Operators
  • Relational Operators
  • Logical Operators
  • Bitwise Operators
  • Ternary or Conditional Operators
  • Assignment Operator

The precedence of the operators will specify which will be evaluated first. For example:

(Video) "C" Programming Language: Brian Kernighan - Computerphile

int a=10+10*30

The result of the above statement is 310 because the multiplication operator is evaluated first, followed by addition.


Constants are different from variables, as the value can’t be changed during the due course of the program. There are different types of constants in the C programming language:

  • Decimal
  • Real or Floating Point
  • Hexadecimal
  • Octal
  • Character
  • String

Control Statements

Control statements are the ones that specify the program flow or the order in which the steps or instructions need to be executed. They perform the task of decision making, depending on the conditions specified in the program. There are four types of control statements in the C programming language:

  1. Decision making
  2. Selection
  3. Iteration
  4. Jump

Decision-making statements decide the flow of the program based on logical conditions like OR, AND, and NOT. The set of statements that are nested below the decision-making statements are executed based on the logical criteria met. The if and if-else (and nested if-else) are sets of decision-making statements in C.

Selection statements are based on case switch keywords. If the condition specified in the case keyword is met, then the statements below the case will be executed, and else switch statements will be executed. Iterations statements (or loops) are statements that repeat the set of instructions present inside the blocks until the condition is met. The looping statements in C programming language are while, do-while, while do, and for loop.

A counter is usually incremented or decremented inside the looping or iterative statements to make sure the loop exits when the condition is met. Jump statements are GOTO statements that can abruptly change the course of the program to execute different sets of statements mentioned in the GOTO statement. Generally, GOTO statements are not recommended in the program, as it would be difficult to predict the flow of the program in run time.

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What is C Programming? (5)


What is C Programming? ›

The C programming language is a procedural and general-purpose language that provides low-level access to system memory. A program written in C must be run through a C compiler to convert it into an executable that a computer can run.

What is C language answers? ›

The C programming language is a procedural and general-purpose language that provides low-level access to system memory. A program written in C must be run through a C compiler to convert it into an executable that a computer can run.

How difficult is C programming? ›

Compared to other languages—like Java, PHP, or C#—C is a relatively simple language to learn for anyone just starting to learn computer programming because of its limited number of keywords.

Which is harder C or Python? ›

The syntax of C is harder than Python. Easy syntax. Python makes it easier to develop code because the number of lines is less. In Python, memory management is handled automatically by the Garbage Collector.

Can I learn C language in 10 days? ›

depends on you. Typically you will need around 10 to 15 days to get a hang of the language and another 20 days to get control on it. Nothing is impossible for human. if you have a passion and like to learn and give more than 8 hours in a day to it .

How to say hello in C? ›

Basic example: Creating and running “Hello World”
  1. Create the following C program and name the source file hello.c : #include <stdio.h> int main(void) { printf("Hello World!\n"); return 0; }
  2. Compile the program: ...
  3. Run the program by entering the following command: ./hello.

Is C language a skill? ›

Learning C will potentially enhance your programming skills irrespective of your specific domain. You will become a more effective programmer by studying how things work "under the hood" and by knowing memory space, CPU architecture, etc. If you want to become a better developer, learning C is a great way to start!

Can I learn C in a week? ›

It can take anywhere from a few days to an entire lifetime. C is a fairly simple language to learn but a difficult one to master.

What is the hardest coding language? ›

Malbolge. This language is so hard that it has to be set aside in its own paragraph. Malbolge is by far the hardest programming language to learn, which can be seen from the fact that it took no less than two years to finish writing the first Malbolge code.

Is C++ easier or C? ›

C++ was designed to be easier to use and to allow programmers to make efficient use of computer resources. C++ also has some similarities with C, but there are some important differences. C++ is a good choice for experienced programmers who want to learn a new programming language.

Why is C so much harder than Python? ›

The syntax of a C program is harder than Python. Python uses an automatic garbage collector for memory management. In C, the Programmer has to do memory management on their own. Python is a General-Purpose programming language.

Why use C over Python? ›

C is a faster language compared to Python as it is compiled. Python programs are usually slower than C programs as they are interpreted. In C, the type of the various variables must be declared when they are created, and only values of those particular types must be assigned to them.

Should I learn C or Python first? ›

Python is always recommended if you're looking for an easy and even fun programming language to learn first. Rather than having to jump into strict syntax rules, Python reads like English and is simple to understand for someone who's new to programming.

How much time does it take to master C? ›

If you are a beginner with no programming experience, you should expect it to take at least three months to learn the basics. If you have programmed before, it may only take you a month or two. To build mastery in C++, you should expect to spend at least two years working on improving your skills a little each day.

How long does it take to be fluent in 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.

Should I learn C++ or C first? ›

C is procedural and does not support classes and objects, meaning it has less functionality than C++. This allows you to spend more time focusing on what you can do with C's libraries, especially at the OS level. With C++ having roots in C's code, learning C will only make studying C++ that much easier down the road.

What is the first line of C language? ›

The first line of the program #include <stdio. h> is a preprocessor command, which tells a C compiler to include stdio. h file before going to actual compilation. The next line int main() is the main function where the program execution begins.

How to say good morning in C language? ›

printf(5 + "good morning");

"good morning" is a character array. If we assume base address of the character array "good morning" as 1024. The starting address points to the character 'g'.

Is C a dying language? ›

Today, Objective-C remains relevant only for maintaining legacy codebases, making it one of the dying programming languages of the decade.

Is C still in demand? ›

Python and C remain in-demand Programming Languages. Know more about it. Programming languages are the foundation of the technology industry, and certain languages continue to dominate in terms of demand and popularity. Python and C are two of the most popular programming languages.

Is C language enough to get a job? ›

They also provide placement assistance so you can start your career easily. Learn some powerfull languages like Java,Python,C++ for more better oppurtunities as it will not take more than 1 week. No doubt C is the powerful language and a computer guyn should know it efficiently. But for good job, C is not enough.

Does learning C worth it? ›

It will be easier to learn other programming languages

Because so many programming languages are based on or related to C, your knowledge of C will simplify the process of learning other languages. These languages typically share similar syntax, operators, control statements, data types and more.

Is it worth learning C first? ›

Learning C can be challenging, but it can provide a strong foundation in programming concepts such as data types, variables, functions, loops, and arrays. C also teaches memory management skills, which are important for avoiding memory leaks and optimizing performance.

How to study C effectively? ›

10 tips on how to study effectively
  1. Get organised.
  2. Don't skip class!
  3. Take notes.
  4. Talk to your teacher & ask questions.
  5. Space out your studying.
  6. Create a study plan – & stick to it.
  7. Don't just re-read but study.
  8. Set up a quiet study space.

What is the easiest code to learn? ›

The 5 Easiest Programming Languages
  • HTML and CSS. HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is one of the most common programming languages for beginners, as it's often seen as the most straightforward programming language to learn. ...
  • JavaScript. ...
  • Python. ...
  • C, C++, and C# ...
  • Java.

What is the hottest programming language right now? ›

10 Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2023: Scale Your Web Development Skills
  • C++
  • JavaScript.
  • PHP.
  • Swift.
  • Java.
  • Go.
  • SQL.
  • Ruby.
May 5, 2023

What is the fastest language to code? ›

C++ is the fastest programming language. It is a compiled language with a broad variety of applications that is simple to learn. C++ was the clear winner, with Java and Python coming in second and third, respectively.

Is C worth learning in 2023? ›

In short, learning C can provide a solid foundation for understanding programming concepts, offer a wide range of job opportunities, and equip you with a valuable skill that is widely used in industry. It is a language worth learning for any aspiring programmer.

Why is C still used instead of C++? ›

Picking C over C++ is a way for developers and those who maintain their code to embrace enforced minimalism and avoid tangling with the excesses of C++. Of course, C++ has a rich set of high-level features for good reason.

Is C still used today? ›

C exists everywhere in the modern world. A lot of applications, including Microsoft Windows, run on C. Even Python, one of the most popular languages, was built on C. Modern applications add new features implemented using high-level languages, but a lot of their existing functionalities use C.

What's lower level than C? ›

C is just a step up from assembly language, which is practically a human translation of machine code. It doesn't get any lower than machine code, but people don't read hexadecimal very well, so assembly is considered the lowest level programming language.

Why C is fastest language? ›

The programs that you write in C compile and execute much faster than those written in other languages. This is because it does not have garbage collection and other such additional processing overheads. Hence, the language is faster as compared to most other programming languages.

Is C lower level than Python? ›

Python was designed to be a bit more human readable than most languages, making it a higher level than C. C is a compiled language while Python is interpreted. This means C is compiled directly to machine code—the lowest level of interaction with the computer that can then be performed by the CPU.

Why is C programming so powerful? ›

C is one of the most powerful "modern" programming language, in that it allows direct access to memory and many "low level" computer operations. C source code is compiled into stand-a-lone executable programs.

Is Python basically C? ›

The main difference between C and Python is that, C is a structure oriented programming language while Python is an object oriented programming language. In general, C is used for developing hardware operable applications, and python is used as a general purpose programming language.

Can Python replace C? ›

Answer: NO. C and C++ form the basis of every programming. Python is in fact built on C with web programming in mind. So there is no possibility that Python will replace fundamental languages like C or C++ at least not in the near future.

Which programming language is best for getting job 2023? ›

Below is a list of the most popular and best programming languages that will be in demand in 2023.
  • Javascript.
  • Python.
  • Go.
  • Java.
  • Kotlin.
  • PHP.
  • C#
  • Swift.
Jun 1, 2023

Can anyone learn Python without knowing C? ›

Yes, you can learn Python without any programming experience. In fact, Python is so popular in part because of its easy-to-use, intuitive nature. For people without any coding experience at all, Python is actually considered the perfect programming language.

What is the most fun programming language? ›

Python is often thought to be one of the most fun programming languages to learn. There are many great reasons why this is the case. Python is written using a syntax that is extremely clear, readable, and accessible.

What is C language in simple words? ›

C is an imperative procedural language, supporting structured programming, lexical variable scope and recursion, with a static type system. It was designed to be compiled to provide low-level access to memory and language constructs that map efficiently to machine instructions, all with minimal runtime support.

What is the C language used for? ›

The C language is a high-level, general-purpose programming language. It provides a straightforward, consistent, powerful interface for programming systems. That's why the C language is widely used for developing system software, application software, and embedded systems.

What is C language questions? ›

C Interview Questions

What are the basic Datatypes supported in C Programming Language? What do you mean by Dangling Pointer Variable in C Programming? What do you mean by the Scope of the variable? What is the scope of the variables in C? What are static variables and functions?

What is C language in detail? ›

What is C? C is a general-purpose programming language created by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Laboratories in 1972. It is a very popular language, despite being old. C is strongly associated with UNIX, as it was developed to write the UNIX operating system.

How to write a code in C? ›

To write the first c program, open the C console and write the following code:
  1. #include <stdio. h>
  2. int main(){
  3. printf("Hello C Language");
  4. return 0;
  5. }

Is C a high level language? ›

Examples of high-level languages include C, C++, Java, and Python. It is widely used.

Why C is important to learn? ›

By learning C, you will be able to understand and visualise the inner workings of computer systems (like allocation and memory management), their architecture and the overall concepts that drive programming. As a programming language, C also allows you to write more complex and comprehensive programs.

Where is C language used in real life? ›

It is extensively used in games and web development, machine learning, and data mining applications. Generally, people think that high-level languages like Python, Java, and JavaScript have surpassed C++ in popularity and use in recent years. Still, C Language applications are frequently utilized all around the globe.

Why is C such a powerful language? ›

C is one of the most powerful "modern" programming language, in that it allows direct access to memory and many "low level" computer operations. C source code is compiled into stand-a-lone executable programs.

What are the key words in C? ›

C reserved keywords
4 more rows

How can I study C language? ›

To get started with C or C++, you will want a compiler—although nowadays you can also learn C online by experimenting with “hello world” C projects in-browser. Compilers are programs that can be run through command-line interfaces (CLIs).

What are the four main components of C language? ›

The C compilation system consists of a preprocessor, compiler, assembler, and link editor. The cc command invokes each of these components automatically unless you use command line options to specify otherwise. An executable C program is created by exposing the source code to these components via the cc command.

What level of language is C? ›

C is considered as a middle-level language because it supports the feature of both low-level and high-level languages. C language program is converted into assembly code, it supports pointer arithmetic (low-level), but it is machine independent (a feature of high-level).

What is the C coding standard? ›

A C coding standard is a set of rules for source code that is adopted by a team of programmers working together on a project, such as the design of an embedded system.

Is C low-level programming? ›

C and C++ are now considered low-level languages because they have no automatic memory management. The definition of low-level has changed quite a bit since the inception of computer science. Today, we would not qualify C as a low or high-level language, but rather more like an intermediary language.


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2. Introduction to C Programming Language | C Programming For Beginners | Basics of C | Simplilearn
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4. hyperdevlog[1] - C Programming!
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5. Why C is so Influential - Computerphile
6. C Programming Tutorial 1 - Intro to C
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