Top 5 Books to learn C and C++ for Beginners - Best of Lot

If you are just starting out with computer programming, the sheer number of programming languages is simply overwhelming. It is therefore quite helpful to learn that a good number of these languages heavily borrow their syntax from C. Once considered the go-to language for general-purpose software development in the structured programming era, C has influenced quite a long list of languages to include PHP, JavaScript, Java, and Python. Using familiar C structures makes it possible for new languages to improve acceptance. C++ builds upon C to now offer support for objects and classes. To better understand these languages, here are 5 books to learn C and C++ from


Top 5 Books to learn C and C++ for Beginners - Best of Lot

Without wasting any more of your time, here is a list of best courses to learn C and C++ from beginners point of view. Though, I have also included some advanced C++ books for experienced developers and senior students.

1. C Programming Absolute Beginner's Guide

Authors: Greg Perry and Dean Miller

Taking into account that C has features and operations considered low level, and its different sized variables make it difficult for new programmers to learn. The approach used by the author gradually increases the complexity of the content after an extensive look at the basics.

Using the Code: Blocks IDE, the book walks the reader through basic variable declarations to more advanced topics as working with functions and searching and sorting arrays.

Though the book is great for a beginner programmer, it would be a lot better if flow control was tackled much earlier in the book and some of the C related content such as heap management were left for the end.

Nonetheless, the book is an effective guide to learning C and you can easily make up for those shortcomings by joining a C programming online course like C Programming for Beginners on Udemy. I highly suggest combining this book and course to start your C programming journey.


Top 5 Books to learn C and C++ for Beginners - Best of Lot



2. The C Programming Language (2nd Edition)

Authors: Brian W Kernighan and Dennis M Ritchie

This is probably the most recommend programming book ever. Commonly referred to as the K&R, this book is a must-have reference bible for all C programmers. Authored by one of the designers of the C language, Dennis Ritchie, this short read is packed with the fundamental concepts behind the language. It is because of it that C became popularized during its early development. It served as the de facto standard for all who required a detailed C reference.

The K&R covers the entire language’s specification which is quite rare for any other book on a different language. Other than the basics, C libraries are well covered and with numerous examples to try out. Its workflow is better organized and helps the learner to slowly build up on covered content.

If you need a course to go with this book, I suggest you join Duke University's Introduction to Programming in C specialization in Coursera. It's a great collection of courses to learn and master C programming in a few weeks.

Top 5 Books to learn C Programming for Beginners


3. The C++ Programming Language (4th Edition)

Author: Bjarne Stroustrup

Ranked as the fourth most popular language as of March 2020, C++ adds object-oriented concepts (data abstractions, polymorphism, inheritance, and encapsulation). Additionally, it introduces function overloading, and exception handling, which was previously absent in C programming.

The language’s creator and developer authored this book to serve as a documentation for the continuously evolving programming language. Consequent editions have been written to include changes in the language. Though it covers the language’s construct, some of its contents may appear advanced for novice programmers.

However, with a good grasp on the basics, this book is excellent for all levels of programmers. Its companion book, David Vandevoorde’s C++ Solutions, offers learners step by step solutions to exercises found in Bjarne’s book. If you want, you can also combine this book with a free online course like C++ Tutorials for Beginners on Udemy to benefit from some active learning experience. This course is also completely free and more than 300K students have already joined it.

Top 5 Books to learn C++ for Beginners - Best of Lot


4. C++ Primer (5th Edition)

Authors: Stanley B Lippman, Josee Lajoie, and Barbara E Moo

It is agreed upon by many that this text forms one of the most effective introductions to the language. The book endeavors to be a reference book and a study tool for all levels of programmers. Only requiring a basic understanding of programming constructs, the book quickly builds upon one’s knowledge to cover important concepts such as C++’s template facility, algorithmic libraries, and classes.

It provides great insights for even experienced programmers with its extensive coverage of the language’s features. As with the book’s tradition, the text continues to be kept up to date with the changing classifications of C++. This valuable resource also features a good number of new examples not included older editions. If you need a course to go with this book, check out C++: From Beginner to Expert on Udemy.

Top 5 Advanced Books to learn C and C++ for Beginners - Best of Lot



5. C++ Primer Plus (6th Edition) 

Author: Stephen Prata

Both new programmers, students, and experienced developers will find this book helpful in its coverage of C++’s programming logic. Its engaging explanations, coupled with well-explained examples, provide new programmers with a solid background into the language.

The text also adequately covers object-oriented programming concepts. This is quite important as the topic is often quite confusing for new programmers. Farrell clarifies classes and objects making it possible for even new programmers to start developing more complex program structures.

Similar to other texts in this list, the book thoroughly details the concept of templates as used in C++ as well as exception handling. Experienced programmers will find its explanation of random number generation informative especially for scientific simulations. And, if you need an advanced course to go with this book, check out Learn Advanced C++ Programming by John Purcell.


Top 5 Advanced Books to learn C and C++ for Experienced programmers



That's all about the best books to learn C and C++ programming for students and developers. Whether starting out a hobbyist programmer or a computer science student, any of the books on the list would serve as an essential addition to your library. Even with new programming languages being developed every few years, C and C++ are still highly ranked. They have proved to be essential tools and a gateway to learning other programming languages. As such, they are still relevant and worth learning, even in today's software development

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P. S. - While these books are very good and perfect to learn both C and C++ but if it's getting tougher for you then I also suggest you join a course like Beginning C++ Programming - From Beginner to Beyond, which covers everything you need to know about CPP and provides a more active and visual learning experience.

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