Do Web Developers need to know C programming?
Learning C is not a must for web development unless you want to make your own PHP extensions, compilers, or web servers. It must be emphatically stated that you can be a great full-stack Web developer without any knowledge of the C programming language at all.
Most web developers work with high-level programming languages and have never written a line in C. Although C is used in web development for some critical processes, it is not used to make web applications or general websites.
In today’s insight, we are going to look at the place of C in web development to understand whether web developers should learn it. Spoiler alert, you don’t have to.
UNDERSTANDING THE C PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE
C is a general-purpose, cross-platform programming language used to create high-performance systems and applications; it was created at Bell Labs by Dennis Ritchie in 1972. It gives programmers high levels of control over system resources and memory.
C is a low-level programming language, with a bias toward systems programming. Depending on the linker and development environment, C code can also call libraries written in Assembly Language, and may also be called from Assembly Language.
C can be used to program operating systems, device drivers, Embedded Systems, protocol stacks, Telecommunications systems, Control systems, Desktop applications, Video Games, Servers, Databases, space probes, artificial intelligence, etc.
C programming language is common in computer architecture that ranges from supercomputers to microcontrollers, embedded systems, and more.
UNDERSTANDING WEB DEVELOPMENT
Web Development on the other hand is the “work involved in developing a website for the Internet or an intranet. Web development can range from developing a simple single static page of plain text to complex web applications, e-commerce platforms, and social network services.”
A web developer is concerned with the front-facing side and the server-side logic on the website or application. Web developers use high-level programming languages and frameworks to achieve this.
On the server-side, web developers use languages and frameworks such as PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Golang, Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Django, Laravel, and many others to program the server-side logic of web applications.
Web developers are also knowledgeable in the use of databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, SQLite, Redis, etc. Web Developers can create and use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to extend web app features and access third-party data for their web applications.
You can learn more about Becoming a Full Stack Web Developer in our article How to Become a Self-taught Web Developer (Step by Step).
It can be seen from the above that C is not really needed to become a full-Stack Web developer. Web Developers work with high-level programming languages and tools while C is a low-level programming Language centered mostly on systems programming.
“C was designed with an orientation toward systems programming and embedded, resource-constrained software and large systems, with performance, efficiency, and flexibility of use as its design highlights.”
C programming language is still used in Web Development by big tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter to greatly improve the performance of their Web applications and reduce the overhead on their servers.
However, you are not any less of a Web Developer if you do not know C. You will still be able to write amazing Web Applications with other programming languages and frameworks. So, it is not a must to learn C as a web developer.
But, if you want to separate yourself from other web developers, if you would like to work on system applications, web servers, compilers, and libraries for programming languages, C is a great programming language to pick up and combine with your web development skills.
Being able to efficiently code in C and having it on your resume as a web developer can be something exceptional, especially if you are interested in working for big tech companies. C programming skills as a Web developer will undoubtedly set you apart.
In conclusion, if you can learn C as a web developer, that would be great, it is going to benefit you and broaden your understanding of systems integration with Web Development. However, C is not a requirement for web development and you can do without it. There are many Web developers who have worked on some of the biggest applications for some of the biggest companies and have never written a single line of code in C. Knowing C as a web developer is not a must and is completely optional.