Is It Still Worth Learning C? [in 2021]

Is It Still Worth Learning C programming language? This question might be a dance in your head. According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 700 programming languages available in the world. Among all these languages C language is mostly used to provide the base for students of the computer-related field.

Nowadays many new languages are available which are more flexible, compatible, and superior from C language. So many people have a question that is it still worth learning C? Let’s see the Reasons to learn C programming language.

History Of C language

Influenced by B language, the C language was developed by  Dennis Ritchie between 1972 and 1973. C language was the first high-level programming language. It was applied to the re-implementing kernel of the Unix operating system.

Originally, a Bell Labs employee named Ken Thompson wanted to make a programming language for a new UNIX platform. By modifying the BCPL language, he created B language.

BCPL and B language had issues like data incompatibility because of one single type called ‘cell’. Aside from other problems B compiler’s threaded code technique made programs slower than assembly language programs. This led to Dennis Ritchie improving B Language and also creating C Language.

C language gained popularity and became the most widely used programming language in the 1980s. And again influenced other languages like C++,  C#, Java, Python, Go, and many more.

Read: History of C Programming Language

Latest C Standard

ISO/IEC 9899:2018  is the current standard of C known as C18 which was published in June 2018. It replaced C11 (ISO/IEC 9899:2011).

C18 standard addressed defects in the C11 standard without adding new features in it. The updates to the standards are wording in the standards to remove ambiguity.

The C18 standard will be succeeded by C2x.

Where C language is used?

  • Microsoft’s Windows kernel is developed mostly in C, with some parts of assembly language.
  • Linux’s kernel is also written in C.
  • Every driver and program in mac is running on a C-powered kernel.
  • Ios, android, and windows phone kernel are also written in C.
  • World’s popular databases, including Oracle, MYSQL, MS SQL server are coded in C. (with C++)
  • 3D movies are created with applications that are generally written in C.
  • Embedded systems like an alarm clock, remote and censors controls, etc are most likely programmed in C.
  • Even my favorite programming language Python also is written in C.

Is It Still Worth Learning C? (Advantages)

1. Flexibility

As a middle-level language, C combines the features of both high-level and low-level languages. It can be used for low-level programming, such as scripting for drivers and kernels and it also supports functions of high-level programming languages, such as scripting for software applications, etc.

2. Compatibility

Various features of C including direct access to machine level hardware APIs, the presence of C compilers, deterministic resource use, and dynamic memory allocation make C language an optimum choice for scripting applications and drivers of embedded systems.

3. Portability

C is a highly portable language. It is a hardware-independent language or platform-independent language. It is used for scripting system applications which form a major part of Windows, UNIX, and Linux operating systems.

4. Algorithm and Data Structures

Due to its thin layer of abstraction and low overhead, C allows efficient implementations of algorithms and data structures, which is useful for programs that perform a lot of computations. This has enabled the use of C in applications requiring higher degrees of calculations like MATLAB and Mathematics.

5. System Programming

C language is often called System Programming Language because it is useful for writing system programs like the compiler, device driver, BIOS(Basic Input/output system), linker, assembler, etc. UNIX, Linux, Windows, Compilers, Web Browsers, Databases, Nearly all drivers are written in C.


After knowing all the aspects and details we can conclude that C is still running the world today. Whether it is sensors, credit card reader, Tv, Radio, or any other embedded systems that we use in our daily lives, it all depends on C.

Despite that, C is the foundation for many modern languages. It is easy to learn other languages if you are familiar with the C language. So I think it is still worth learning C.

The kind of programming C provides will probably remain similar absolutely or slowly decline in usage. But relatively, JavaScript, or its variants, or XML will continue to become more central.

Dennis Ritchie

Tell us what you think about it in comments section ;-)