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by Dirk Haun
Triggered by my employer's hand-wringing search for C programmers, I was wondering: Where do new C programmers actually come from?
C itself is still very much in use in many areas, yet CS students only seem to be learning higher level languages at university these days. While a competent programmer will be able to pick up pretty much any language in a short time, C does have some peculiarities - like pointers - that no other programming language has and that are a common cause of problems.
So what can we do to ensure a steady supply of experienced C programmers well into the future? Not claiming to have all the answers, I'd also like to invite the audience to help in brainstorming.
For nearly five decades, it's been C. Regardless of what else has been tried, the new language paradigms that have been explored, the new semantics that have been probed, C was at the heart of the successes. C++, Java, C#, Ruby, all took their cue from C. Indeed C's dominance has been so great that years ago Dick Gabriel was moved to declare that C was the last programming language. But all things end, and so it is for C. It's ascendancy as passed, it's demise is accelerating, and the end is near. Alas, for C, we knew it well.
24th–28th April 2012