Learn C++ from scratch: The complete guide for beginners (2024)


Functions are blocks of code that run when they are invoked. They are the workhorse for your program and are used to perform operations and manipulations on your code.

They are extremely important for code reusability and help to better modularize your code. Think of these like actions that you initiate. In C++, there are predetermined functions, like the main ( ) of our initial example.

To create a function, you have to give it a name (called the declaration) and parentheses ( ). You can then invoke this function at any point by using that name ( ).

There are a lot of ways to use functions. You can also attach return values to your functions, which determine if a function should output any information. The void keyword states that there will be no return. The return keyword, on the other hand, will call for a data type output.

Conditional statements

These allow you to perform checks on whether a block of code should be executed or not. There are four conditional statements in C++:

  • if: a certain action will be performed if a certain condition is met

  • else: a certain action will be performed instead if that condition is not met

  • else if: a new condition will be tested if the first is not met

  • switch: tests a variable against a list of values


Loops are similar to conditional statements. They execute blocks of code as long as a certain condition is reached. There are two types of loops in C++:

  • while loops: this loop will continue to iterate through your code while a condition returns true.

  • for loops: this is used when you know the exact number of times you want to loop in your code

Now that you have a basic understanding of C++ syntax, let’s go over some FAQ and resources to get you started on your C++ journey.


How long does it take to learn C++?

Well it really depends on what is meant by “learn”. If you’re serious about this language, then your learning is never done. Developers can devote their entire career to C++ and still feel as though they have more to learn.

With that said, if you put in the work, you can learn enough C++ in 1-2 years and still be a great developer.

In short, there is no one right answer to this question, and it largely depends on your learning style, goals, educational plan, and prerequisite knowledge.

What is C++ used for?

C++ is focused on large system performance, so it is used in a wide variety of programs and problems where performance is important. This includes, but is not limited to, operating systems, game development, 3D animation, web browsers (it is used in Firefox and Chrome), software for offices, medical software, and more. C++ is used in all Blizzard games, most console games, Adobe Photoshop, Mozilla Thunderbird, PDF technologies, and MRI scanners.

C++ is widely used in high-performance computing, such as financial systems, scientific simulations, and data analysis. Its ability to handle complex calculations efficiently, coupled with the rich Standard Template Library (STL), makes it suitable for these computation-intensive tasks.

What is the difference between C and C++?

The main difference is that C++ is an object-oriented language while C is a procedural programming language. C does not allow for functions to be defined within structures, while C++ does. C and C++ also have some different functions, keywords, and memory allocation procedures.

What is the difference between C++ and C#?

C# is a much newer language (created by Microsoft in 2000), and is built off of C++, so they share similar syntaxes. One major difference between the two is their flexibility. C# shows you compiler warnings as you write code to help reduce errors, while C++ does not.

C# only runs on Windows OS, while C++ can be run on any platform (MacOS, Linux, Windows, etc.). C# is great for mobile and web applications, while C++ is known for performance and programs that work directly with hardware. They also handle memory management a bit differently.

Is C++ similar to other programming languages?

C++ is the foundation for many other object-oriented programming languages like Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, Rust, C#, and more. Learning the syntax of C++ will make it easier to learn to code in other programming languages.

What’s the best programming language to learn?

There’s really no one answer to this question, and every developer will tell you something different. It depends on what kinds of jobs interest you, your prerequisite knowledge, and your career goals. The truth is, every programming language is challenging to learn, but you are capable of learning any of them.

A few benefits to starting with C++ are: the syntax is widespread, you’re forced to think about memory management, and it introduces you to multiple programming paradigms, which is a great way to expand your thinking and search for new approaches to problems.

Why use C++?

  1. C++ is an object-oriented programming language, and that is why it supports concepts like classes, objects, inheritance, and polymorphism, enabling developers to write modular, organized, and reusable code.
  2. C++ is a compiled language which means faster execution and better performance.
  3. C++ offers low-level control over memory and hardware, allowing developers to optimize code for specific use cases.
  4. C++ has a large community that provides extensive resources, libraries, and support for developers.
  5. C++ is the language for developing performance-intensive applications like gaming, real-time simulations, financial systems, and embedded systems.
  6. Thanks to its compatibility with different operating systems and hardware architectures, C++ code can run on different platforms with minimal or no modifications.

Is C++ in demand? Does C++ pay well?

Yes, and yes. If you put in the time, you will be rewarded. C++ developers already have high-paying salaries, and it’s expected that the salary will grow in the coming years. C++ is experiencing a resurgence of popularity since it is great for robust applications like self-driving cars and VR. Since C++ has a steeper learning curve than most languages, the skills you obtain will set you apart when you’re applying to jobs.

Learn C++ from scratch: The complete guide for beginners (1)

Next steps for learning C++

Congrats! You’ve learned the C++ basics! You’re well on your way to becoming a hire-able C++ programmer.

Educative’s free C++ tutorials and C++ courses are the ideal places to start for beginners. Educative’s Free Learn C++ From Scratch is a text-based, highly-interactive course that begins with an introduction to the fundamental concepts and proceeds to cover more complex ideas such as multidimensional arrays, constructors, polymorphism, algorithms, and more.

Once you complete our from Scratch course, you’ll know what to learn next with the click of a button! Your journey to becoming a C++ developer begins today.

Continue learning about C++

  • Why C++ is a Good First Language to Learn
  • So you know C++. Now it’s time to learn the standard library
  • Intermediate C++ Tutorial: strings, maps, memory, and more
  • Learn advanced C++ programming concepts
Learn C++ from scratch: The complete guide for beginners (2024)


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