What is C?

By | September 28, 2021
What is C?

C is a powerful high-level general-purpose programming language, it the most suggested programming language for the beginners. Speed is the main asset of C and it is portable too program written in one’s computer can be run on others.

Here in this article we will discuss What is C and should a programmer or a beginner who is about to start his programming journey starts with C or not. We will also discuss what are the main features of the C programming language and why people consider C as a low-level programming language.


What is C?

It is a high-level and general-purpose programming language which is used to develop desktop application and firmware. It is a building block of many other high-level programming languages such as C++ and C#.

It follows the structured, procedural paradigm which makes it flexible and more powerful. It has a fixed number of keywords and its usage is also limited. C use compiler as a translator to convert its source code to object code.

C History:

C is developed by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs, back in 1973. Originally C was designed to provide some extra utility to the Unix operating system but with time it becomes one of the most used programming languages.

When the Unix operating system ported to PDP-11 they needed an assembly language for the further development at that time B was the popular programming language but it was too slow with PDP-11 version of Unix and B language was not able to take the complete advantage of all PDP-11 features. Here Ritchie and its co-workers come with a new programming language which was basically an improvement of B, and they named it C programming language as a successor of B programming.

Features of C Programming Language

Procedural Language

In a procedural programming language, the program can works with different functions and the functions works according to the function call. In procedural programming, the program follows the fixed steps and the code execute step by step.

Apart from the procedural approach, there is another paradigm which is known as Object orientated programming language. Programming language like C++, Java, and python follow both procedural as well as Object-oriented programming approach.


As compared to other high-level programming languages such as Python, Java, and C++, C is the fastest programming language. By fast mean, its process and execute its code very fast because it does not contain many features such as automatic garbage collection or dynamic typing.


C works on a principle “write once and compile everywhere”, it means that C code written in one system can be compiled on other systems and there is no need to change the code.

Static type

C is static by nature which means, in C we have to define the data type of the variable when we declare a variable. In static type, all the variable and data type defined in the program get checked by the compiler at compile time.


With modularity in C, we can use different libraries which bring some additional function and utility in our program.

Should we learn C?

The answer to this question varies person to person, right now C does not have any future it is about to become history, like programming B and Pascal.

Yet expert developers suggest learning C first why? This is because C contains all the basic data types and data structure such as integer, float, arrays, list, queue, tree, graphs, and structure, and in a programming language, nothing is more important than data structure and data types.

Though C is a procedural language so there is no concept and complexity of object-oriented programming, so it is easy for a student to understand and learn all the basic data structure.

Although C is a high-level language, it some properties akin to low-level language which help a student to understand how programming languages actually works on a computer system.

Why learn C?

  • This language is very close to the low-level programming language which helps you to understand the working of a computer too.
  • Mostly all programming languages are derived from C so it’s better to learn C first.
  • Once you know the basic concept of C and procedural programming language you can easily move and learn other high-level programming languages such as Java and Python

Why not learn C?

  • There are many other programming languages which are better than C and promises a bright future and career.
  • It is not an easy programming language its syntax gets complicated with pointer and data structure like trees and graphs.

Advantages of C

  • The C language is a Procedure oriented programming language which means it follows the Procedure of the Program and read the program line by line which increases the Efficiency of the C language.
  • It contains a total of 32 keywords with easy syntax which helps the user to understand the program and it is very easy to learn for the Beginners.
  • Portability is the other feature of C language. The output of the C language is stored in the format of .exe file which makes it more portable. Once a program wrote it can be used in any other computer system without making any changes in that.
  • It is very easy to debug the problem in the C language.
  • C language supports Pointer which helps the User to understand the concept of memory allocation of the data.
  • As it works on the Procedural Orientation, the compiling speed of the C compiler is very fast. The C compiler can compile 1000 lines in one to two seconds.
  • The C language is the building block of very famous languages such as C++, C#, Python etc.
  • One of the main Advantage of C language that user can extend its libraries. The user can add their own functions to the C library.
  • C is one of the languages used for development with which beginners can start their Programming Journey. Once they have done with the C language, it is easy to decide what language they should choose for the future.

Disadvantages of C

  • C does not support the concept of OOPs (Object Oriented Programming).
  • C does not support OOPs features such as Inheritance, Encapsulation, polymorphism etc.
  • The user cannot declare two variables having the same name in one scope because C does not support the namespace concept.
  • C does not support the Class, constructor & Destructor concept, and the Run-Time Type Checking.

Why C is considered as a Low-level programming language?

Although C is a high-level programming language, it is also considered as low-level programming language this is because it has pointers which can directly manipulate memory content and Many C compilers provide options that can adjust the way a target architecture is used, whether certain types of machine language instructions are generated, etc.


C is not for the experienced developer who already knows other programming languages but for a beginner C could be an ideal platform to start his programming Journey.

When you learn C does not give too much time to learn only C try to learn all the data structures and data types and move to other programming languages like Java and python. 

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