Engineering Expertise How Can I Learn C++ Programming Language? September 8, 2022 Video game development has an undeniable appeal. It can help you lose yourself in an entirely unique digital world. Plus, developing games means actually crafting those immersive experiences for others to enjoy. However, building a full digital universe has its challenges. It can require programming skills that differ from what you’d need in a standard office environment. For example, game development requires mastery of C++ and similar languages. This raises some important questions. Most importantly, how should you go about learning C++ for game development? Self-Taught Vs. Formal Education: A Side-by-Side Comparison Education is an important element of any game developer’s skillset. How you go about learning C++ is just as important as having that ability in the first place. This can be better understood by comparing it to a sport like competitive running. Some people have a natural love and talent for running. They might grow up running and take full advantage of the fact that they have running trails in their area. And this amount of practice will instantly push them far above anyone in their area with just a casual interest in the sport. But consider how someone who goes about the same process in a more methodological way. They would have a coach pointing out areas where they could improve. Competition would let them compare their results and techniques with their peers. And in general, they would benefit from generations of runners who’ve built up a knowledge of running techniques and tips. Programming is quite similar to running. People who love programming will often be proficient with it all on their own. A natural aptitude can let them achieve fantastic results. However, there’s one central problem with learning programming on your own. You may build up an impressive level of skill through self-education, but you won’t be able to reach your full potential. A programmer on their own is like a runner without a coach. They might have natural talent, but they are not benefitting from the decades of prior experience that a formalized structure will provide. And this is why a complete curriculum at a creative arts college is such an important part of learning C++ for game development. A formal education isn’t just about learning to program, it’s about learning to program with a level of skill that an industry experienced instructor can teach you. What Do You Learn During a Software Developer Program? Scope is one of the core elements of a software developer program. Mastering one area of software development will improve your overall proficiency, and a formal education will ensure that your skillset is maximized by putting special emphasis on core areas related to game development. C and C++ programming languages C and C++ are so closely related that they’re often spoken of interchangeably. C marked a remarkable achievement in the history of computer programming. It was one of the first human-readable programming languages. This means that it has a syntax and language structure that isn’t dissimilar to standard spoken language. You’ll even find overlap between words in C/C++ and English. C++ built upon the success of C by adding an object-oriented structure. Today this is a standard aspect of most programming languages, but when C++ was first released it marked a turning point in the industry that was similar in many ways to the first introduction of C. C and C++ are currently thought of as the lowest practical level for a programming language. Lower-level means that the languages run closer to the core hardware than a higher-level language like Python. Lower-level languages like C/C++ are much harder to work with than higher-level languages, but lower-level languages provide a benefit in overall speed and resource usage. Well-written C/C++ will be faster and more efficient than any other programming language. Making it one of the favored programming languages for tasks requiring lightning-fast performance. This also means that C/C++ is seen as a perfect match for game development. Cloud computing Cloud computing is a broad term that covers many different IT-related subjects. You can think of cloud computing as anything that leverages multiple networked computers to perform a task associated with a single machine. For example, cloud storage links multiple systems together to act as a remote hard drive. Cloud computing is leveraged in game development in several ways. Some companies use cloud computing as a gaming platform. This lets players run games independently of any underlying hardware. They can link their phones, desktops, or laptops up to the cloud and use the same content on each of them. Cloud computing is also a popular method to offload services on larger systems like MMOs. A software developer program will ensure you use IT-related skills in a cloud-based environment. Data structures Think about how much data is contained in a modern video game. Games will be filled with a vast number of independent entities with unique characteristics. And on top of that, all those entities need to work their way through a digital world. They can be thought of as data, and this helps illustrate why data structures are such an important part of computer science. Simple programs don’t have strict requirements for data structures. Even a relatively limited system won’t have any problems with hundreds of independent data points. However, larger programs, and especially games, might need to work with millions of different data points. This amount of data can quickly snowball and bog a system down. A system’s ability to efficiently work with data is tied to how that data is stored. You can think of it as analogous to a library filled with books. It’s easy to find information when all the books are properly shelved, categorized, and indexed, but you’ll waste a lot of time if those books are simply tossed into a large pile. Likewise, carefully designing a structure to store computational data will improve the overall efficiency of your code, and a formal course will provide you with the skills needed to do so. Algorithms Data structures highlight the importance of properly organized data. However, organization is also important when processing that data. Data structures are how data is organized. Algorithms can be thought of as the chain of events that makes use of that data. Just like designing data structures, it’s important to create an efficient system to process that chain. A software development program will guide you through algorithm design and analysis. Software Quality Assurance You’ve almost certainly seen a bug or two in video games. However, consider just how amazing it is that a system juggling millions of different data points might only have a handful of bugs on release. In fact, complex games might even ship without a single bug. This is largely thanks to software quality assurance. Many people think of software quality assurance as little more than testing and fixing any problems with a video game. However, it’s a formalized set of procedures that can quickly and efficiently identify any bugs within your code. Software developer programs put emphasis on software quality assurance for a good reason. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that your code works as intended under different usage scenarios. Systems Analysis and Design It’s obviously important to optimize your code to get the best possible performance, and the same holds true for the larger development process. Systems analysis and design refer to the methods used to categorize, organize, and optimize the development process. A software developer program doesn’t just teach you how to write code, the courses also show you how larger projects can come together in an efficient manner. By learning about systems analysis and design, you can work with larger teams or even design and lead them. Testing and Validation The testing and validation phase goes hand in hand with software quality assurance. Testing and validation use a set of designated metrics to analyze the performance of your software. As with many aspects of software development, testing and validation work best with solidly designed parameters. It also highlights one of the important differences between self-taught programming and a formal education. Testing and validation are among the most important parts of shipping bug-free software, but it’s incredibly difficult to do properly without learning about testing and validation in a formal setting. Most programmers get so used to their own code that they unconsciously skip past potential pitfalls when using it themselves, but proper testing and validation ensure the software will work properly for all users. How Long Is a Software Developer Program at a Creative Arts College? Game development is a rewarding, but also quite complex, career path. However, you might be surprised by how little time it takes to learn what you need to know. In fact, if you take a software developer program at a creative arts college you can learn the curriculum in as little as three years. This is in comparison to a 4-year course in other colleges. What Jobs are Available to Software Developer Program Graduates? Game development is an appealing option for software developer program graduates, but it’s also important to keep in mind that these skills open the door to many other job opportunities. The following career paths are particularly notable options for software developers. Database Administrator You may have noticed that software development programs put an emphasis on data organization. After graduation, you will be prepared to work as a database administrator. The position entails the optimization and organization of a company’s databases for both internal and external use. Webmaster Video games and the larger Internet are often interlinked. Skills that work with one of these areas will often transition to another. It should come as little surprise to find that a software development program will also prepare you to work as a webmaster. This job involves optimizing and writing code for both the client-side and server-side of a website. Mobile App Developer Mobile apps have gone from novelty to necessity for most businesses. The app market contains many functionalities from business and productivity apps to games. And a software development program will prepare you to write and publish code for all mobile operating systems and platforms. Game Software Developer A career path involving game development is highly competitive. However, after completing a software developer program you’ll be prepared to start working as a game software developer. This includes mastery of C/C++ to create highly optimized code, plus your newly acquired background in quality assurance, analysis, and validation will also show that you know how to optimize your workflow within the larger context of a team environment. All these skills can come together to give you the ability to create cutting-edge games that can bring your own unique vision to life. Ready to learn more about C++ programming? Our comprehensive Computer Science & Engineering degree programs are taught by entrepreneurs who are in the thick of the industry. At University of Silicon Valley, the Bachelor of Science in Software Development puts students in the world of software application development right away. You will be analyzing problems, planning solutions, and delivering software applications across technical platforms from hand-held devices to the cloud. University of Silicon Valley is uniquely poised to offer a meaningful and valuable education for 21st century students. We believe in an education that directly correlates with the work you’ll be doing after you graduate. Interested in learning more? Contact Us today.