Chapter 1: Course Introduction

Chapter 1: Course Introduction


This marks your initiation into the world of C programming through the Devoke Studio’s free C programming course. These lessons have been meticulously crafted with absolute beginners in mind. Although they cater to learners of all levels, our primary goal is to build your programming skills from the ground up, ensuring that you have the most robust foundation for your future programming endeavors.

This course encompasses written exercises, video tutorials, and comprehensive explanations. We recommend starting with the video tutorial before diving into the textual material. Practical experience is key before delving into theoretical concepts.

To make the most of this course, tackle each exercise persistently until you grasp it, even if it takes several attempts. Remember, the learning process often involves frustration and self-doubt, but don’t be discouraged. Mastery takes time, and no one becomes an expert overnight. When facing programming challenges, deductive reasoning, trial and error, and sometimes a bit of luck come into play. The more problems you solve, the more proficient you become.

Programming opens a world of opportunities. It’s a practical and valuable skill that empowers you to bring creative ideas to life. Unlike many other fields, computer science requires minimal specialized equipment—a computer is all you need to start.

I’m optimistic that by following these tutorials and actively engaging with the coursework, you’ll discover your immense capabilities. The road ahead may be challenging, but with determination, patience, and persistence, anything is achievable. And remember, I’m here with you every step of the way!

Now, let’s delve deeper into why you should embark on your programming journey with C as your guide. Learning to program is a one-time effort; once you’ve grasped the fundamentals, learning a new programming language becomes relatively straightforward. A skilled programmer is adaptable, capable of picking up a new language in a matter of weeks or even days, depending on the task at hand. Thus, it’s prudent to start with the foundational concepts common to most programming languages.

C is a versatile, general-purpose programming language that supports structured programming, lexical variable scope, and recursion. While its static type system prevents unintended operations, C is designed to map efficiently to typical machine instructions. Consequently, it has found enduring use in applications that were once coded in assembly language, including operating systems and a wide range of computer software, from supercomputers to embedded systems.

C serves as the progenitor to many modern programming languages, making it the Rosetta stone of the programming world. Once you’ve mastered C, you’ll recognize its influence in many other languages, helping you understand fundamental concepts like constructs, variable types, loops, and statements.

Additionally, learning C will provide insight into the necessity and evolution of other programming languages.

Today, C remains the most widely used system programming language, known for its proximity to the hardware and efficient performance. Whether you aspire to develop games for vintage platforms like Gameboy or work on system software and data management, C is the go-to choice. After more than three decades, C continues to thrive and evolve.

As a developer, C is my preferred language, which is why I’ve chosen to share it with you. It’s been around for 30 years and was initially created to build the UNIX operating system.

I firmly believe that once you unlock its potential, you’ll develop a deep affection for C, much like I have. Someday, as you look back on your journey through this tutorial series, you’ll fondly remember the early challenges and triumphs. When that day comes, please don’t hesitate to share your progress with me—I always enjoy hearing from my students.

Now, let’s take a brief look at the history of C:

To truly appreciate C, it’s worth understanding its origins. The language was conceived by an American computer scientist named Dennis Ritchie. Ritchie, born in Bronxville, New York, moved to Summit, New Jersey, during his childhood and later graduated from Harvard University with degrees in physics and applied mathematics. In 1967, he joined the Bell Labs Computing Sciences Research Center and completed his thesis on “Program Structure and Computational Complexity” at Harvard in 1968.

C’s genesis is intertwined with the development of the Unix operating system, initially implemented in assembly language on a PDP-7 by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson. They incorporated ideas from their colleagues at Bell Telephone Laboratories to create Unix.

Ken Thompson, another luminary in computer science, played a pivotal role in Unix’s creation. Thompson spent most of his career at Bell Labs, where he designed and implemented the original Unix operating system. He also invented the B programming language, the direct precursor to C, and contributed to the development of the Plan 9 operating system.

Before the contributions of Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, operating systems like Windows and macOS didn’t exist in their current forms. Computers had to be custom-hardwired with specific operating systems, making them incompatible with one another. This is akin to the old arcade machines, which were designed to run a single game on hardwired hardware.

The technological revolutions that we associate with figures like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were only possible thanks to the groundbreaking work of Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson. Unfortunately, their contributions are often overshadowed, but it’s important to recognize the immense impact they’ve had on the world of computing.

As for why it’s named “C,” the story isn’t particularly thrilling. C is the successor to the B language, introduced around the early 1970s, which was named “B” for Bell Labs, where it was developed in 1969.


This course is provided for free, as we at Devoke believe all education should be. However, if you enjoy the course, we are always grateful for support and donations to Patreon to ensure we can continue providing resources for free.

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