You’ve probably heard of C++ (pronounced see-plus-plus), but how popular is this programming language? And should you be learning it this year? Created back in 1985, C++ literally means ‘increased C’ (technically, it’s the C language but with classes added), which indicates its evolution from the C language. So, should you be learning C++ in 2018?

Despite the popularity of other programming languages like Java (interestingly, C++ tends to execute faster than Java), C++ can still hold its own as a widely used language for scripting with many applications including:

  • Games: C++ is frequently used in the the development of gaming engines. The science fiction game Doom 3 uses C++, so too Unreal Engine, a suite of integrated tools for game developers to design and build games,simulations, and visualisations.
  • Graphic User Interface (GUI) applications: Many common applications, including Image Reader, Photoshop and Illustrator, are scripted in C++.
  • Web Browsers: Although C++ is limited for scripting websites (PHP and Java tend to be preferred for web development), it is still used when speed and reliability are needed. A part of Google’s back-end is coded in C++, for example.
  • Advanced Computation and Graphics: C++ can build apps that need real-time physical simulations, high performance image processing and mobile sensor applications.
  • Operating Systems: C++ forms a vital part of multiple operating systems including Apple’s OS and some versions of Windows.
  • Banking and trading applications: This includes some apps used by Bloomberg and Reuters.

As you can see, C++ has a wide range of uses. It’s regarded as a highly efficient and flexible language, according to an article in Medium, and here’s the good news: you don’t need to know another programming language before learning C++ in 2018. Although having said this, the feeling is that C++ is fairly tricky for newbie developers to pick up, because it’s close to C, which is a lower-level language (i.e. close to machine language). Watch this YouTube video to find our more about the relative difficulty of learning C++.

Let’s look now at some anticipated trends for C++ in 2018.

Popularity of C++ in 2018

The TIOBE index looks at the popularity of various programming languages. This is determined by looking at the following variables: number of skilled engineers in a particular language world-wide, courses offered in that language and third party vendors. This information is combined with popular search engine results for the different languages on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, etc., For April 2018, same as April 2017, C++ was ranked as the 3rd most popular language.

This is substantiated by the PYPL, Popularity of Programming Language Index, which looks at how often language tutorials are searched on Google. C++ is at #6, according to data from May 2018. The PYPL index is useful for helping you decide which language to study or to use in a new project. Here are their top six most popular languages:

Why should you learn C++ in 2018?

According to an article in Medium, there are many good reasons to learn C++. Some of these include:

  • Learning to worry about memory management
  • Understanding the difference between compiler, linker and loader
  • Learning meta-programming
  • Discriminating between compile time and run time
  • Learning how compilers make optimizations
  • Diving deeper into generic programming

And here’s another one: C++ is a very powerful and fast language, according to responses on Quora.

There is a good deal of demand from developers themselves to learn C++. This year’s 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, based on responses from 101,592 developers, found that when it comes to languages that are wanted – i.e. developers are not yet using that language, but they are very keen to learn it –  C++ came in at #7.

Here’s a graph showing the seven most wanted programming languages, according to the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey.

C++ has essentially maintained its high popularity, year-on-year – it has neither ascended nor descended the various popularity indexes. Moving on, let’s now discuss other trends including salary expectation for C++ developers in 2018.

Salary Expectations for C++ Developers in 2018

According to Glassdoor, the average C++ developer salary, as of April 2018 in the United States, was $92,381. The range extended from $66,000 to a high of $138,000 per annum. This is even slightly higher than Python, where the average developer in the US receives $92,000 per annum.  

Demand for C++ Developers in 2018

One way to calculate developer demand is to analyse job postings data. CodingDojo looked at the 7 most popular job posting ads on Indeed.com. C++ comes in at #4.   

In conclusion, C++ in 2018 will continue to remain in high demand owing to its performance, reliability, and the wide variety of contexts in which it can be used. If you take the time to master this language in 2018, you will be rewarded with excellent salary opportunities and high demand. If you’re interested in learning C++, consider HyperionDev’s online short course.