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C++ Tutorial: The Complete Guide

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2nd Oct, 2022
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C++ Tutorial: The Complete Guide

What is C++?

C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup as a cross-platform language used for creating high-performance applications. It is essentially an extension of the C language, and its main purpose is to allow programmers to have complete control over memory and system resources. This language has been updated multiple times and is considered one of the most widely used programming languages. C++ is still used in modern operating systems (OS), embedded systems, and user interfaces. 

C++  isobject-oriented and hence, it provides a clear structure to programs and enables code reuse, thereby reducing the development cost. C++ is also portable, simplifying the application development process for multiple platforms. In addition, C++ is almost similar to Java and C#, making it easy to learn.

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Why Is C++ So Popularly Used?

C++ is one of the most widely used programming languages globally g. Below are the reasons why it is so popular for programming and app development:-

  • Simple: C++ is one of the simplest languages where programs can be divided into logical units.
  • Mid-level: It can be used for dynamic purposes such as systems programming and large-scale user applications.
  • Machine Independent: Any executable developed with C++ is machine-independent but platform dependent.
  • Rich library support: Despite being simplistic, it is widely used because of its rich library support that makes it effective and fast development.
  • Speed: C++ programs are simple, enabling them to make high-function executables. Its compiled nature also makes it highly procedural. 
  • Object-Oriented: Since C++ is an object-oriented language, it is more effective than C as it makes easy-to-maintain and extendable programs. Users can make large-scale applications with C++. 
  • Pointer and direct Memory-Access: The pointer support provided by C++ gives users direct access to the storage address for management, which is integral for low-level programming.
  • Compiled Language: C++is a compiled language known for its speed. 

Arrays in C++

C++ provides a data structure with an array to store a collection of fixed-sized elements in a sequential manner. It is also used for sequential data collection and is more of a compilation of similar variables. To declare an array, the user needs to specify the type and the number of the elements. The syntax used for an array is:

type arrayName [ arraySize ];

In C++, users can initialise array elements one at a time or with only a single statement (example below):-

double balance[5] = {1000.0, 2.0, 3.4, 17.0, 50.0};

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Basic Variable Types In C++

Named storage manipulated by programs is known as a variable. Variables have a particular type in C++ that is distinguished by the size of the memory, layout, range of stored values, and the set of operations applied to it. The variable name can have digits, alphabets, and underscores. However, it has to start with a letter or an underscore. 

Another point to note is that C++ is case-sensitive. The basic variable types in C++ are Bool, Char, Int, Float, DOuble, Void, and Wchar_t.

Headers And Libraries In C++

C++ has multiple libraries with predefined functions that make programming easier. The header files contain a set of standard library functions and need to be included with the C preprocessing directive “#include’‘ to use it. Unlike C, all the header files need not end with the “.h” extension. 

The syntax for using header files in C++ and C are:-

#include <filename.h>


#include “filename.h”

Here’s how you can save a file with .h extension:-

// Function to find the sum of two

// numbers passed

int sumOfTwoNumbers(int a, int b)


    return (a + b);



For including the header file with the syntax “#include”, check out the example below:-

// C++ program to find the sum of two

// numbers using function declared in

// header file

#include “iostream”

// Including header file

#include “sum.h”

using namespace std;

// Driver Code

int main()


    // Given two numbers

    int a = 15, b = 45;


    // Function declared in header

    // file to find the sum

    cout << “Sum is: “

         << sumOfTwoNumbers(a, b)

         << endl;




Sum is: 60

Libraries, unlike header files, have object codes that are connected with an end-user application. Once they are linked, they can become a part of any executable .lib extension is used for Windows, and .a extension is used for macOS. Dynamic libraries are ended with the .lib or .dll extensions. 

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Conditionals And Control Flows In C++

Conditional statements indicate if another statement or a block of statements may or may not be executed; these are called “selection constructs”. The two general conditionals are the “if…then” construct and the “switch… case”. Different actions use different logical C++ mathematics conditions.

  • Less than: a < b
  • Less than or equal to: a <= b
  • Greater than: a > b
  • Greater than or equal to: a >= b
  • Equal to a == b
  • Not Equal to: a != b

Here are the conditional statements used in C++:-

  • “If” mentions a block of code to be executed if a condition is true. The syntax used is:-

if (condition) {

  // block of code for executing if the condition is true


  • “Else” indicates a block of code to be executed if the condition is false. Syntax used is:-

if (condition) {

  // block of code for executing if the condition is true

} else {

  // block of code for executing if the condition is false


  • “Else if” offers a new condition for testing if the first condition is false. Syntax used is:-

if (condition1) {

  // block of code for executing if condition1 is true

} else if (condition2) {

  // block of code for executing if the condition1 is false and condition2 is true

} else {

  // block of code for executing if the condition1 is false and condition2 is false


  • Switch” is used to specify multiple alternative blocks of code for executing. Syntax used is:-

variable = (condition) ? expressionTrue : expressionFalse;

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Control flow, often called the flow of control, is the linear order of instructions, statements, and function calls, evaluated or executed when a program is run. The statements inside the code are executed from top to bottom in a linear order while using C++.

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C++ is a powerful language used for low-level programming. It is much more connected to the system resources and hardware than other compiled languages. The easy learning curve of C++ makes it mandatory to learn this language for software development. Having it in your skill set will increase your potential career prospects because it is the basic programming knowledge required in the job market of software development.

You can start your career in software development if you take up Computer Science for graduation. If you have already taken that step, a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from upGrad is the best decision to support your dream of becoming a software engineer or developer.


Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Is C++ better or Java?

C++ provides a much stronger encapsulation and flexible model than Java. It also supports numerous types of inheritances, whereas Java supports single inheritances.

2What type of programming language is C++?

C++ is an object-oriented, general-purpose, mid-level computer programming language. It came after the C language as its successor.

3What is polymorphism in C++?

The ability of object classes to adopt numerous forms or refer to different classes is known as polymorphism. For instance, to refer to an object in a child class, when a parent class is utilised, it is called polymorphism.