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You can but you don’t need to. In 2019 developers can earn a living programming in python, java, javascript, go, scala, c# etc. I would argue that the learning curve for some of these languages would be much easier than the learning curve for C++. I was an employed as a C++ developer for slightly over 4 years and I would consider myself still a novice. Here are some of the things that I have come to accept regarding C++, and this might tie back to whether you should learn C++ or not in 2019.

  • C++ is not for your average programmer (like myself). The domains in which C++ is generally applied are not your run of the mill mobile app or web app. C++ is used in domains that require more than just programming skills. You must understand the mindset of a team that has decided to move along with C++ as the language for development. It is probably not a team made of young people writing their first or second application. These people are seasoned developers with years and years of experience developing performant, reliable software. Youngers teams with less experience generally tend to work with languages like python or ruby.
  • C++ is vast and there is not a lot of hand holding going on in the language. With every new release of C++ tons of new features are added. Sometimes it is hard to keep up. The syntax doesn’t help either.
  • C++ developers are trying to extract more performance out of their programs than the average python or javascript developer. You need to be extra cautious about how you write code, what memory allocations are happening behind the scenes when the memory is being collected back etc. Since C++ hardware is compiled to machine code you are more than encouraged to learn more about the hardware for which you are compiling the program.
  • The build system is harder to set up as compared to other languages, especially when not using visual studio. Manually writing makefiles for projects and sub projects and linking every dependency together is challenging.
  • There is no package manager. There is no pip install or npm install that comes to rescue here. All dependencies must be downloaded separately, compiled and then linked manually,

All of this is to not say that you should not be learning C++. It is a beautiful language and people who use it are expert programmers. But be ready for the challenges. There are fewer shortcuts in C++ as compared to other programming languages but mastering it will definitely be a rewarding experience.

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