Introduction to C# Programming Language; Why you should learn C#
C# is one of the top programming languages in the world and this article gives you information on what makes C# special, why you need to learn C#, and opportunities that are available to C# programmers.
A lot has changed in the world in the last century as we've moved from the agrarian times when wealth and social mobility were greatly tied to lands and other material assets to a time when digitization and disruption is the norm. Deciding on a career path that is relevant and rewarding for your time and effort is a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly as your financial freedom hangs in the balance. A career in software development is one you're unlikely to regret.
One of the most lucrative fields in the 21st century is software development. There are many professions that collaborate with software development, however, a software developer is to the tech ecosystem as a doctor is to the medical field. Choosing a programming language that you will mostly leverage as a software engineer can be like picking which flavor of ice cream you'd like to have; it can be really confusing. In this article, you'll learn about C#, one of the most popular and reliable enterprise-focused programming languages out there, why you should learn it, and the opportunities available to you as a C# developer.
What is C#?
C# (popularly pronounced as "c sharp"), is an object-oriented language that is type-safe and is one of the building blocks of frameworks in the .Net ecosystem which is used in building solutions and applications that work on numerous platforms like Windows, IOS, Android, and the web. The essence of this isn't to overwhelm you with information as such it's important you understand the simple concepts and why they make C# a powerful language.
There are different types of programming paradigms; two popular examples of which are functional and object-oriented programming. Functional programming is when software solutions are written using blocks of ready-to-use code instructions known as functions, for example, a function can be "GetWaterFromTheRefrigerator" and that code that would be written within this functional block would be about getting water from the refrigerator, and returning sometimes a response if it's able to retrieve water from the refrigerator.
Object-oriented programming can however be used in designing more complex systems where you have to create objects with characteristics that can then be modeled to solve problems. For example, we can have a "Car" object that has properties of a car written into the code, such that whenever we want to create a new car, we simply refer to the object "Car" and we use that template to create a new car.
Another very distinct feature of C# is that it's a type-safe language; type-safety basically means that when writing code using C#, you have to be very specific about what you mean, unlike languages that aren't type-safe where the computer is left to figure things out. An example of what this means in non-coding terms is a word like "nail". The word "nail" can be a verb or a noun depending on how you use it.
With a type-safe language like C#, you need to specify the context you're using "nail" as (noun, or otherwise). With a language that isn't type-safe, you could refer to "nail" and not have to define what context you're using "nail" as, because the machine would typically have to figure it out. While this article isn't aimed at taking a deep dive into the core of software programming languages, it's important you grasp these essentials as they influence how the programming languages are used.
It's important to note that an object-oriented programming language (like C#) can be used to write functional programming code and vice versa. However, it would be like using a cutlass in place of a hoe when gardening. While they're close substitutes, one is more suited for some types of programming than the other.
Why Should I Learn C#?
A number of articles answer this question by falling into the "X language is better than Y language" trap. In this article, you're going to learn the answer to this question without demarketing other programming languages in any way. It's important to remember that as a software engineer, languages are just tools, a hammer isn't better than scissors, and use-case is one of the biggest factors in deciding which language to use in tackling a challenge.
When choosing to work with a programming language, it's great to know the maker(s) or those entrusted with maintaining and extending the programming language as this can tell you a lot about what to expect from the language in the future. C# is owned by Microsoft; they have been managing and extending C# for over 22 years. C# is a language that is dear to Microsoft so much so that you can build anything from games, machine learning models, websites, android applications, IOS applications, windows applications, and lots of other amazing solutions using just C#!
Microsoft is a company that has something for everyone and has been able to do this by dipping their finger in every pie. Microsoft owns some of the most widely used solutions and infrastructure that aid developers and organizations alike to build and scale software across the globe, what this means for you is that by using their language, it's a lot easier to integrate with every resource that Microsoft has at its disposal, and it's a lot.
When deciding to pick up a programming language, it's important that you consider the entity backing the language, because it tells you how much investment will be made into sustaining the dominance of the language as well as how many organizations they can influence into using the programming language. Microsoft's vast ecosystem makes it easier for companies to decide to use C# as it's a programming language that software engineers can integrate with other Microsoft products easily.
Backward compatibility is a big issue in the world of software development, it affects you whether or not you know it. Notice how your PS2 gaming software can't run on PS5? Well, Microsoft has a rich history of backward compatibility; they leave nobody behind, which is why documents written using Microsoft Word 2003 can be opened and modified using Microsoft Word 2019 without issue. The programming world moves very fast, with updates to the language happening yearly. With C#, you don't have to keep up with the rat race as solutions you build enjoy Microsoft's backward compatibility perks.
What Opportunity Does C# Present for Me?
Your time is valuable, choosing to rest or taking time to have fun every now and then is therapeutic because it increases the quality of your life. Because I respect your time, I wouldn't advise you to learn a language that can't reward your time and effort. The opportunities for C# developers span every field of software development and sets you up to easily transition into other developer-related endeavors later in your career.
C# is a programming language whose knowledge you can use in leveraging ASP.Net Framework and .Net Core to build enterprise applications for all platforms. If you fancy game development, you can build games using Unity; a framework that translates your code into gaming software. If you choose to make a career in machine learning, mobile development (Android, IOS, and otherwise), virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, Internet of Things, and other software development fields that may come up in the future, Microsoft has a framework that will accept your C# code and let you build in any of these fields by translating your code into the outcome you want.
The finance industry is a big user of C#; a lot of Microsoft's products comes bundled in as a package and using C# enables the development team to easily integrate with all Microsoft's products, what's more, it's easier to leverage Microsoft's support team when you leverage their complementary goods. Depending on where you live, if you do some research about financial organizations in your country, you'll be shocked to know that a lot of them develop solutions using C#.
Glassdoors is a great place to do research on the average salaries of C# developers. in the US alone, you can expect to earn over $130,000. That may seem like an unreachable sum if you live outside of the US, however, you'll find a handsome compensation plan even outside of the US. It's worth noting that with remote work, it's possible to work for top companies in the US without having to reside in the US, and some top companies don't mind relocating top talents, so don't count yourself out just yet.
C# is a wonderful language that can instill a sense of wonder about the world of software development while teaching you core principles of writing good code; these principles will come in handy regardless of which programming language you use in the future. In this article, you've learnt about C# as a programming language, why you should learn C#, and opportunities available to C# developers. The aim of this article isn't to lend a voice to which programming language is the best in the world, but to give you sufficient information as to why you can't go wrong with C#.
If you've made it this far and are convinced that you would like to explore the world of C# in a way that's fun and educative, you're in luck because Codecada in the coming months will be releasing regular content that will take you from absolute beginner to an enterprise-level developer, and we're excited to have you on board as we set sail into the exciting realm of software development using C# programming language.