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Introduction to C

Jaskirat Singh Saggu
Last Updated: Mar 15, 2023


C is a mid-level, structure-oriented, general-purpose programming language. C programming language is machine-independent and is widely used to develop operating systems and many complex programs. It is the backbone of many other programming languages and some very popular databases.

Recommended Topic, Sum of Digits in C

What is C?

C programming language is a low-level programming language close to machine language. It is a procedure and structure-oriented programming language. It was developed in 1972 by Dennis M. Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories. C programming language is the base for some of the most popular programming languages.

Why learn C?

As it is a structured programming language, writing and maintaining a program in C is easy. It includes low-level memory access to a simple set of keywords, which makes coding in C easier as well as faster. Many programming languages are based on C language like C++, Java, etc. It shares the same concepts like data types, operators, control statements, etc., which are common to other languages too, which makes it easier for the user to learn other languages once mastered C.

You can also read about the jump statement

Features of C

  • C language is a structured programming language, which means that the program is divided into various modules, each module is written and developed separately, and together it forms a single C program. This makes the designing, developing, testing, and debugging process much easier.


  • C language has a simple set of keywords, i.e., it has 32 keywords different types of data types for storing and representing different types of data. It also has a set of powerful built-in functions that make coding in C very efficient.
  • A program written in C language contains multiple functions, which are in turn a part of the library. Features and functions can be added to libraries and can be used in the program whenever required. This makes using C simple.
  • C is a highly portable language that is any program written in C can be run on other machines too.


  • A variety of compilers are available that can be used for executing programs written in C.

Applications of C

  • C programming language is used in developing embedded systems and is also used for developing system applications.
  • Many famous browsers and their extensions are developed using C programming  language such as Google Chromium.
  • C programming language is also used in developing some of the famous databases like MySQL
  • It is used for developing desktop applications, compiler production, and mobile phone’s operating systems.
  • Many popular operating systems are also developed using C, such as Apple’s OS X, Microsoft Windows.

Getting started with C


#include <stdio.h>
int main()
    printf("Hello World!");
    return 0;



Hello World!

Understanding the Hello World program

  • In the C language, the “.h” files are called as header files, all the header files are mentioned at the top. All lines that begin with “#” are processed by a preprocessor which is a program invoked by the compiler. The stdio.h file is a required for printf() function.


  • Program execution of any C program starts and ends within a main. 
  • The int written before main() represents the return type of main().
  • In C language, a pair of brackets “{}” or “[]” are used to define scope, these are used in functions and control statements. Every function must start and end with curly brackets.
  • printf() is a function which is used to print something on standard output. Whatever is written inside the bracket of printf() in double quotation marks is printed as it is.
  • In C language, every line is terminated using a semicolon, it is used to indicate the end of the statement.
  • Return 0; is a return statement that returns the value from main(), it is used by the OS to know the status of termination of the program. The value 0 represents the successful termination of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques: Why is C language called a structure-oriented programming language?

Ans: C language is called a structure programming language because, in order to solve a large problem, it divides the problem into smaller modules called as functions or modules. Each module handles a particular task and is developed and tested independently. The program which solves the entire problem is a collection of such functions/modules.


Ques: What is the difference between C and C++?

Ans: C++ is the superset of C language, i.e., C++ has all the features of C language along with some additional features. C language is a structured programming language, whereas C++ language is an object-oriented programming language.

Ques: What is the meaning of getch() statement in C language?

Ans:  getch() function is used in programs written in C language to hold the output screen for some time, until the user presses a key from the keyboard to exit the console screen.

Key Takeaways:

In this blog, we have covered the following topics:

  • We first discussed what C is and why should we use C?
  • Then we discussed the features and applications of C.
  • Finally, we made our first C program.


C has many Data structures to offer, which are used for various different purposes like arrays for storing continuous data, strings to represent a sequence of characters, and many more.

In order to write a well-structured code, knowledge of functionsstructures, and different data types is very important.

Happy Coding!!

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