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Introduction to C Programming | GATE Notes

What is C?

It is a very powerful and general-purpose language used in programming. We can use C to develop software such as databases, operating systems, compilers, and many more. This programming language is excellent to learn for beginners in programming.

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About C Programming

The C language is imperative, procedural, and general-purpose in nature, developed by Dennis M. Ritchie in 1972 at the Bell Telephone for developing the UNIX OS. As of now, the C language is one of the most widely used computer languages along with Java, which is mostly used among modern programmers.

Prerequisites of using the C Language

Before you proceed ahead with the understanding and learning of the C language, you must have a basic grasp of the terminologies of computer programming. If you understand the basics of any computer programming language, then you will be able to effectively understand the C language.

Click on each link to learn more on C programming language:

Why Learn C Programming Language?

This language is a must for those working professionals as well as students who want to become established software engineers. Here are some of the key reasons why you must learn the C language for the domain of software development:

  • This language helps users comprehend a computer’s internal architecture. It assists you in knowing how a computer would store information within and retrieve it.
  • Learning other programming languages becomes easier after learning C, such as Python, Java, etc.
  • A programmer who is well-versed with the C language gets opportunities to work on various open-source projects. For instance, some of the very popular projects (open-source) have been written using the C programming language, such as Python interpreter, Linux kernel, SQLite database, and many more.

Benefits of C Programming Language

Here are a few reasons why programmers choose the C language for running a program:

  • It is a structured language.
  • The C language is very easy to understand and learn.
  • The C language generates very efficient programs.
  • It helps you handle various low-level activities.
  • The compilation of C programs can occur on various computer programs.

Facts About the C Language

  • The C language came into existence for writing an OS known as the UNIX operating system.
  • This language is the successor of the B language, which came into existence in the early 1970s.
  • The ANSI (American National Standard Institute) formalized this language in 1988.
  • The creators of this language have totally written the UNIX OS in C.
  • As of today, the C language is the most popular and widely used programming language.
  • Programmers have implemented a majority of the futuristic, avant-garde tools and software using the C language.

Writing the word “How are you” using a C Program

Excited about learning the basics of the C language? Well, you should be. Take a look at a small conventional program written in the C language that prints the phrase, “How are you” in the output.

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {

/* your first programming in C language */

printf(“How are you \n”);

return 0;


Applications of a C Program

This language was initially utilized for the development of systems- particularly those programs that would make up an OS (operating system). The C programming language was adopted in the form of a language for system development since it generates codes that run as fast as those codes that exist in the assembly language. Here are a few examples of how we can use the C language in development:

  • Language Compilers
  • Operating Systems
  • Text Editors
  • Assemblers
  • Network Drivers
  • Print Spoolers
  • Modern Programs
  • Language Interpreters
  • Databases
  • Utilities

Uses of the C Programming Language

  • Procedural Language: The execution of the instructions present in a C program happens step by step.
  • Speed: The C language is much faster as compared to a majority of the programming languages, such as Python, Java, and many more.
  • Portable: A C program can be moved from any given platform to another one, and we can also run it on that platform without any of the charges.
  • General Purposes: We can use the C programming language for developing operating systems, databases, embedded systems, etc.

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