Career in C

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by broli, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. broli

    broli Guest

    A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C and find
    it easier to use and understand than other languages. I detest the
    idea of switching from one language to another and not being able to
    learn even 1 properly. I just don't believe in having thousands of
    languages mentioned on my resume. I did this in my engineering course
    and gained nothign out of it. I don't consider my self proficient in C
    either but I'm trying. This is the case with many fresh CS graduates
    these days. They are exposed to many languages but nearly 99% of the
    ones in my college(and even others) couldn't even write a simple
    program spanning a few hundred lines in ANY language. I'm considering
    to opt a career in software development using C but when I look into
    the job openings, it seems most employers are merely interested in
    people who know something about java or .NET. Very often the same job
    has nothing to do with java or .NET or any programming language but it
    involves using some stupid tool. I just don't understand anything
    about the ways in which software industry is working these days. If
    anyone mentions that they are very adept in C but don't have any
    knowledge of Java, it is quite likely that they will be rejected no
    matter how good they are as programmers. Are these people looking for
    programmers or people with just a few certificates and good
    interpersonal skills but zero programming skills ?? I've also observed
    that people who often use the OO jargon are at the forefront when it
    comes to deriding C. Windows was programmed in C, many popular games
    and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    down on this beautiful language ? What do you think about the future
    of C and jobs in this field ??
    broli, Mar 25, 2008
    #1
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  2. broli

    Eric Sosman Guest

    broli wrote:
    > A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C and find
    > it easier to use and understand than other languages. I detest the
    > idea of switching from one language to another and not being able to
    > learn even 1 properly. [...]


    Then you should probably seek a career other than
    programming. This field changes more rapidly than most,
    and a person who cannot learn new programming languages
    and learn to use them well will quickly fall by the
    wayside.

    How long a career do you expect to have? Forty
    years or so? Well then, what would be your opinion of
    a programmer today who could use only the languages that
    were available in 1968? No C#, no C++, no C, no Pascal,
    FORTRAN but not Fortran, ... Met many JOVIAL programmers
    recently?

    Now look forward toward 2048. Do you think the period
    of change is at an end? Go ahead: Try to tell us with a
    straight face that programmers in 2048 will *not* be using
    languages invented in the 2030's.

    I do not believe there is any such thing as a "career
    in C." A carpenter cannot build a whole career around one
    hammer.

    --
    Eric Sosman, Mar 25, 2008
    #2
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  3. broli

    Bartc Guest

    "broli" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C and find
    > it easier to use and understand than other languages. I detest the


    >... Windows was programmed in C, many popular games
    > and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    > down on this beautiful language


    I was agreeing with you up to this point. But to call C beautiful is
    stretching it a bit.

    > ? What do you think about the future of C and jobs in this field ??


    Well I don't have any TLAs at all to put on my resume` and I wouldn't be
    able to get a job either.

    But if the programming world is full of NET and COM and OOP and whatever
    then I'm just not interested anyway.

    I'm sure C jobs are around but the choice might be a lot smaller.

    In my case I was self-employed and could do what I liked.

    --
    Bart
    Bartc, Mar 25, 2008
    #3
  4. broli

    Morris Dovey Guest

    broli wrote:

    > Are these people looking for
    > programmers or people with just a few certificates and good
    > interpersonal skills but zero programming skills ??


    The personnel department gets a phone call saying: "We need two
    more programmers for our project," and the personnel department
    struggles to come up with a set of job qualifications that they
    think will result in satisfaction. The simple truth is that they
    don't have enough technical knowledge to know who's good and
    who's not - and most of what they know comes from MS marketing.

    One answer might be to identify those places where the first-line
    manager is personally involved in the front-end screening
    process. He/she will normally have a considerably greater
    understanding of what skills are really needed and how well your
    skills fit the need.

    > I've also observed
    > that people who often use the OO jargon are at the forefront when it
    > comes to deriding C. Windows was programmed in C, many popular games
    > and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    > down on this beautiful language ?


    Talkers outnumber doers in every field. Those who can't /do/ a
    good job do their very best to /talk/ a good job. It's not
    unusual for people to talk up what skills they do have while
    talking down the skills they don't have. This isn't limited to
    programming, by the way.

    > What do you think about the future of C and jobs in this field ??


    It really depends on what part of the field you're talking about.
    For high-performance, mission-critical, and embedded projects,
    the C programing language (and the need for people who use it
    well) seems to be strong.

    --
    Morris Dovey
    DeSoto Solar
    DeSoto, Iowa USA
    http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/
    Morris Dovey, Mar 25, 2008
    #4
  5. broli

    Richard Guest

    Morris Dovey <> writes:

    > broli wrote:
    >
    >> Are these people looking for
    >> programmers or people with just a few certificates and good
    >> interpersonal skills but zero programming skills ??

    >
    > The personnel department gets a phone call saying: "We need two
    > more programmers for our project," and the personnel department
    > struggles to come up with a set of job qualifications that they
    > think will result in satisfaction. The simple truth is that they
    > don't have enough technical knowledge to know who's good and
    > who's not - and most of what they know comes from MS marketing.


    This is in a poorly managed company. I proper SW company would have
    their PMs/Team Leaders draw up the required skill sets.

    >
    > One answer might be to identify those places where the first-line
    > manager is personally involved in the front-end screening
    > process. He/she will normally have a considerably greater
    > understanding of what skills are really needed and how well your
    > skills fit the need.
    >
    >> I've also observed
    >> that people who often use the OO jargon are at the forefront when it
    >> comes to deriding C. Windows was programmed in C, many popular games
    >> and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    >> down on this beautiful language ?

    >
    > Talkers outnumber doers in every field. Those who can't /do/ a
    > good job do their very best to /talk/ a good job. It's not
    > unusual for people to talk up what skills they do have while
    > talking down the skills they don't have. This isn't limited to
    > programming, by the way.


    Really? Wow :-;

    >
    >> What do you think about the future of C and jobs in this field ??

    >
    > It really depends on what part of the field you're talking about.
    > For high-performance, mission-critical, and embedded projects,
    > the C programing language (and the need for people who use it
    > well) seems to be strong.
    Richard, Mar 25, 2008
    #5
  6. broli wrote:
    > A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C and find
    > it easier to use and understand than other languages. I detest the
    > idea of switching from one language to another and not being able to
    > learn even 1 properly. I just don't believe in having thousands of
    > languages mentioned on my resume. I did this in my engineering course
    > and gained nothign out of it. I don't consider my self proficient in C
    > either but I'm trying. This is the case with many fresh CS graduates
    > these days. They are exposed to many languages but nearly 99% of the
    > ones in my college(and even others) couldn't even write a simple
    > program spanning a few hundred lines in ANY language. I'm considering
    > to opt a career in software development using C but when I look into
    > the job openings, it seems most employers are merely interested in
    > people who know something about java or .NET. Very often the same job
    > has nothing to do with java or .NET or any programming language but it
    > involves using some stupid tool. I just don't understand anything
    > about the ways in which software industry is working these days. If
    > anyone mentions that they are very adept in C but don't have any
    > knowledge of Java, it is quite likely that they will be rejected no
    > matter how good they are as programmers. Are these people looking for
    > programmers or people with just a few certificates and good
    > interpersonal skills but zero programming skills ?? I've also observed
    > that people who often use the OO jargon are at the forefront when it
    > comes to deriding C. Windows was programmed in C, many popular games
    > and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    > down on this beautiful language ? What do you think about the future
    > of C and jobs in this field ??



    In any case, I think learning standardised languages is a good time
    investment (e.g. C, C++, perhaps Java now that it gets open sourced,
    XHTML, etc), since whatever happens there will always be a
    compiler/interpreter for them (examples Free Pascal for Pascal language,
    GCC for C, C++, Fortran, web browsers for past HTML/now XHTML, etc).
    Ioannis Vranos, Mar 25, 2008
    #6
  7. broli

    santosh Guest

    broli wrote:

    > A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C and find
    > it easier to use and understand than other languages. I detest the
    > idea of switching from one language to another and not being able to
    > learn even 1 properly.


    This is indeed a rather unfortunate aspect of programming: that you must
    needs know a fair amount of languages. tools, systems and practises to
    maintain a good career. There *are* fields which still demand
    specialisation and precise knowledge of a particular aspect of
    programming, but they are few and far between compared to the average
    IT job.

    > I just don't believe in having thousands of
    > languages mentioned on my resume. I did this in my engineering course
    > and gained nothign out of it.


    Unfortunately, as I said, unless you have particularly attractive skills
    in other areas, you need to be somewhat of a generalist to survive.
    This means knowing well at least about 4 to 8 languages and a couple of
    the mainstream systems and the major toolsets for these environments.

    > I don't consider my self proficient in C
    > either but I'm trying. This is the case with many fresh CS graduates
    > these days. They are exposed to many languages but nearly 99% of the
    > ones in my college(and even others) couldn't even write a simple
    > program spanning a few hundred lines in ANY language.


    I agree here. I have seen quite a lot of graduates with multiple
    certificates and diplomas in languages like C, C++ and Java but they
    struggle like hell when they enter their first job and are asked to
    improve and maintain vast, ugly systems.

    The problem is programming is very complex in detail, though only parts
    of it are complex in logic, which is unlike pure science. That's
    understandable, since it's an applied field, a merger of theory and
    engineering and society, and our creations in the world of bits mirrors
    those in our macro world in their exponential complexity and in
    irrationality and redundancy.

    > I'm considering
    > to opt a career in software development using C but when I look into
    > the job openings, it seems most employers are merely interested in
    > people who know something about java or .NET. Very often the same job
    > has nothing to do with java or .NET or any programming language but it
    > involves using some stupid tool. I just don't understand anything
    > about the ways in which software industry is working these days.


    Software industry is concerned, first and foremost, with providing their
    customers with problems and innovative solutions to those problems.
    Mostly, it's a business, like any other, and cares little for
    various "ideals". Their thoughts are focused rather on the next
    quarter.

    So this industry, this business grew along with the general growth of
    world economy, and therefore they found themselves needing far more
    employees than before. And the law of quantity versus quality implies
    that they must settle for less qualified, less experienced people, as
    there was simply not enough hackers to go around.

    This in turn means that languages and tools that automate more and more
    routine tasks found favour, not only with the managers, but also with
    most of their programmers. The push towards more automation has always
    been their in programming, but it has seemingly exploded in the last
    two decades because of the increasing power and capacity of hardware.

    The types and complexity (in detail) of tasks programmers do have
    greatly increased, while their average skill level has stayed the same,
    perhaps even decreased. So very high level languages, domain specific
    languages and advanced tools have all become pretty much the norm.


    > If
    > anyone mentions that they are very adept in C but don't have any
    > knowledge of Java, it is quite likely that they will be rejected no
    > matter how good they are as programmers.


    For many jobs, yes, but not all. In the embedded programming field,
    languages like C are still very strong. Even knowledge of assembler is
    an asset, which will probably be laughed at if you apply for a web
    design or animation job.

    > Are these people looking for
    > programmers or people with just a few certificates and good
    > interpersonal skills but zero programming skills ??


    A combination of consistent academic record, strong skills in the
    relevant area and what they call "flexibility", i.e., aptitude to work
    in teams. But often these guidelines are bent on a case-by-case basis.
    In any case strong technical skills are a must, since most people can
    always fake their social skills.

    > I've also observed
    > that people who often use the OO jargon are at the forefront when it
    > comes to deriding C.


    Yes, programmers tend to get carried away with their favourite languages
    and paradigms and miss the forest for the trees.

    > Windows was programmed in C,


    As I understand it, recent versions are most done in C++, with C being
    used at the lower levels.

    > many popular games
    > and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    > down on this beautiful language ?


    Because most programmers have grown used to more support that
    higher-level languages offer, and because it's become more difficult
    for s/w companies to hire really good C programmers to do in C the kind
    of projects that they do. This is the general case, and there are many
    exceptions within specialised areas where C is still used - mainly
    system and embedded programming.

    > What do you think about the future of C and jobs in this field ??


    As above.
    santosh, Mar 25, 2008
    #7
  8. broli

    Guest

    santosh <> wrote:
    >
    > Software industry is concerned, first and foremost, with providing their
    > customers with problems


    Ain't that the truth! :)

    "Brute Force Cybernetics: Creating a need and then filling it!" -- WEBN

    -Larry Jones

    I think we need to change the rules. -- Calvin
    , Mar 25, 2008
    #8
  9. broli

    CBFalconer Guest

    broli wrote:
    >
    > A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C and


    .... snip illegible block of 25 solid lines ...

    The use of paragraphs greatly improves legibility and readability.

    --
    [mail]: Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net)
    [page]: <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net>
    Try the download section.



    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
    CBFalconer, Mar 26, 2008
    #9
  10. "broli" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    : A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C
    : and find it easier to use and understand than other languages.
    People may as well disdain screwdrivers until they need to
    repair a toy.

    : I detest the
    : idea of switching from one language to another and not being able to
    : learn even 1 properly. I just don't believe in having thousands of
    : languages mentioned on my resume.
    I agree it is wiser to become an expert in 1/few languages that are
    most relevant to you. But learning about different tools (programming
    languates) is important too.

    : I did this in my engineering course
    : and gained nothign out of it. I don't consider my self proficient in C
    : either but I'm trying. This is the case with many fresh CS graduates
    : these days. They are exposed to many languages but nearly 99% of the
    : ones in my college(and even others) couldn't even write a simple
    : program spanning a few hundred lines in ANY language.
    Yep.

    : I'm considering
    : to opt a career in software development using C but when I look into
    : the job openings, it seems most employers are merely interested in
    : people who know something about java or .NET.

    It depends on the type of job that you are looking for.
    For web development, cutomized business applications, and many
    other fields, C is not the preferred language.
    Projects where C is still prominent include embedded development
    (appliances, control systems, aerospace), as well as operating
    systems and drivers (linux kernel is pure C, device/graphics drivers).
    Compilers and interpreters for other languages are usually
    written in C. The graphics and gaming industry are also still pretty
    C-oriented.
    This said, some of these low-level fields have also started
    shifting towards using C++ as well.

    : Very often the same job
    : has nothing to do with java or .NET or any programming language but it
    : involves using some stupid tool. I just don't understand anything
    : about the ways in which software industry is working these days. If
    : anyone mentions that they are very adept in C but don't have any
    : knowledge of Java, it is quite likely that they will be rejected no
    : matter how good they are as programmers. Are these people looking for
    : programmers or people with just a few certificates and good
    : interpersonal skills but zero programming skills ?? I've also observed
    : that people who often use the OO jargon are at the forefront when it
    : comes to deriding C. Windows was programmed in C, many popular games
    : and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    : down on this beautiful language ?
    : What do you think about the future of C and jobs in this field ??

    C is a powerful low-level language. But for many problems, more
    suitable languages can be found.

    The fact you appreciate the C language indicates that you have a
    good understanding of the fundamentals - and this is an asset.

    But even in technical fields, an employer will want to know that
    you are focused on delivering solutions, and willing to learn
    to use whatever new tool is needed, rather than say that you
    are only interested in using C.
    Most C programmers will also be using a scripting language for
    rapid prototyping or automation tasks. And if you like C, you
    should also consider learing about C++ - and its pros and cons.

    So beyond the C language itself, you need to look into what field,
    what application domain you want (& will be able) to work into.

    Realize first of all that C or even programming is not a business
    goal in itself. It is only a tool.


    I hope this helps -Ivan
    --
    http://ivan.vecerina.com/contact/?subject=NG_POST <- email contact form
    Brainbench MVP for C++ <> http://www.brainbench.com
    Ivan Vecerina, Mar 26, 2008
    #10
  11. broli

    John Bode Guest

    On Mar 25, 9:23 am, broli <> wrote:
    > A lot of people express disdain when I mention that I like C and find
    > it easier to use and understand than other languages.


    C causes brain damage. I should know, I'm a classic case.

    > I detest the idea of switching from one language to another and not being able to
    > learn even 1 properly.


    Unfortunately, it's getting harder to find those niches where you can
    focus on one platform and language exclusively for your entire career,
    and that's a risky path to take. I worked with one guy who'd spent
    the previous 20 years doing nothing but Pascal on HP MPE. When HP
    finally killed their MPE systems in 2002, he effectively had to retire
    from software development; not only were his skills completely
    unmarketable, he found he could not wrap his head around any new
    technology. He'd spent so many years doing nothing but Pascal that
    his ability to learn new languages had atrophied.

    Secondly, boredom is a dangerous occupational hazard; I've suffered
    through several periods of severe burnout, one of which resulted in
    getting laid off. Being forced to learn new languages and
    technologies is one of the things that keeps the job interesting. It
    also helps keep you employed.

    > I just don't believe in having thousands of
    > languages mentioned on my resume. I did this in my engineering course
    > and gained nothign out of it. I don't consider my self proficient in C
    > either but I'm trying. This is the case with many fresh CS graduates
    > these days. They are exposed to many languages but nearly 99% of the
    > ones in my college(and even others) couldn't even write a simple
    > program spanning a few hundred lines in ANY language.


    That's because a CS degree isn't a programming degree. That's also
    why freshouts are usually given the scut work; it gives them a chance
    to build their skills.

    > I'm considering
    > to opt a career in software development using C but when I look into
    > the job openings, it seems most employers are merely interested in
    > people who know something about java or .NET. Very often the same job
    > has nothing to do with java or .NET or any programming language but it
    > involves using some stupid tool. I just don't understand anything
    > about the ways in which software industry is working these days. If
    > anyone mentions that they are very adept in C but don't have any
    > knowledge of Java, it is quite likely that they will be rejected no
    > matter how good they are as programmers. Are these people looking for
    > programmers or people with just a few certificates and good
    > interpersonal skills but zero programming skills ?? I've also observed
    > that people who often use the OO jargon are at the forefront when it
    > comes to deriding C. Windows was programmed in C, many popular games
    > and applications have been programmed in C then why do people look
    > down on this beautiful language ? What do you think about the future
    > of C and jobs in this field ??


    First of all, there's no such thing as a career in C, just like
    there's no such thing as a career in Java, or Fortran. There are a
    bunch of different application domains (embedded systems, games, data
    management/warehousing, simulation, productivity suites, CAD, realtime
    control systems, etc.), each with different requirements and focus.
    For some of those domains C is still the right tool, but for most
    domains better tools exist.

    I've compared programming in C to building a house with a hand saw and
    a claw hammer. You can do it, but it's a *lot* of work, the potential
    for mistakes is high, and it takes a long time to do it right.
    Whereas if you use power tools and prefabbed components (Java, C#,
    etc.), you can build that same house in much less time, with fewer
    mistakes, and have a structure that's just as solid. Development time
    is a *huge* cost for most projects, and anything that can reduce that
    time is a big win.

    Secondly, the people who write the job descriptions typically are not
    engineers themselves; they're HR people who are given a list of things
    that the engineering department wants in a candidate. Sometimes the
    skill list is relevant to the specific position, sometimes it isn't.

    Finally, being able to list multiple languages on your resume
    indicates that you are flexible and can learn new skills; often,
    that's more important to a potential employer than demonstrating depth
    in any one specific technology.
    John Bode, Mar 26, 2008
    #11
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