The C programming language has been around for over 46 years, and many people would consider that quite a feat. After all, few languages have that level of longevity.
Not only is C still relevant, but it’s also in demand, cracking many top 10 lists focused on the most desirable languages for programming professionals. But how has C managed to succeed while so many others have, by comparison, failed? If you are wondering about its retained relevance, here’s what you need to know.
The C programming language of today isn’t the same iteration as the original. ANSI C (or ISO C) raised to prominence in the late 1980s. C99 and C11 later became standards in many organizations.
Since C is ever-evolving, the language changes to meets the demands of today’s IT world. This has allowed those with C skills to simply update their level of competency and businesses to keep moving forward, treating it as an advanced version of the status quo.
C has been around for nearly five decades. That means a lot of existing code is written in C. Approximately 31 percent of Debian Linux was comprised of C programming, along with various legacy database systems.
The sheer amount of code written in C helps it remain relevant. Replacing these systems with alternatives focused on other languages would be costly, making it an unattractive approach for even forward-thinking organizations. And, if the current option is still meeting a company’s needs, the incentive to change is even more minimal.
C Is Popular
Whether developers enjoy, or are at least willing to tolerate, a particular language also plays a big role in longevity. When given a choice, programmers typically default to options with which they are comfortable.
The fairly wide use of the C programming language means many professionals operating in the development and coding arenas know how to use C. The increased level of familiarity helps keep it alive and increases the odds that newer systems will feature at least some C-based code.
Additionally, developers aren’t keen on switching to another language unless it offers an obvious benefit. While C++, Go, and Rust could potentially replace C, they don’t typically provide enough to make switching necessary.
Ultimately, C does the job, so moving away from something that works doesn’t make a lot of sense in the eyes of development professionals.
Will C remain a popular language for years to come? It’s hard to say. However, its widespread use, and general popularity help keep it relevant in 2018, making it a skill worth acquiring and maintaining for many programming professionals.
If you are currently looking for new developer job opportunities, including those featuring C as a requirement, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the leading employers in the area. Contact us to learn more about our available positions and see how our services can help you take the next step in your programmer career today.