Wondering how to learn C#? Then you’ve come to the right place. We will answer all your C# questions, such as: what are the features of C#? Is C# hard to learn? What are the best ways to learn C#? What’s the job market like for C# programmers? And much more. By the end of this article, you will know exactly how to learn C# easily.
What is C#?
C# (pronounced as C Sharp), developed by Microsoft, uses the .NET framework. It’s a multi-purpose programming language that is modern and object-oriented.
C# is more of a blend of C and C++ programming languages. However, in contrast, the syntax of the C# language is expressive, simple, intuitive, and easy to understand.
Complexities introduced by the C++ language are highly simplified by the C# language. This includes enumerations, nullable types, direct memory access, delegates, etc., which are also not found in Java.
C# is ranked as the 7th most popular programming language. While most of the programming languages are created to carry out a specific set of tasks, C# is a general-purpose programming language.
You can use C# to work with databases, create high-speed graphics for video games, play audio/video effects, control connected devices, and more.
C# is interpreted as well as compiled. Unlike C++ and Java, C# provides excellent screen handling support for Web as well as Desktops. This is where C# stands with respect to other popular programming languages.
Properties of C#
Before we move further ahead, let’s discuss a few properties of the C# programming language that will help you digest its popularity better.
Data loss is not possible in C# because it does not support type conversion. Moreover, it supports non-nullable and nullable value types as well. As a result, developers can write code safely.
It’s Modern and Intuitive
C# was created with the sole aim that developers can access a general-purpose language that is easy to understand and can compete with other modern languages in terms of carrying out the functionalities.
The C# programming language can develop applications and software for various fields and platforms, including Android, iOS, Web, or Windows.
It’s Open-Source and Free
C# is an open-source language developed by Microsoft; hence it’s free to use. It has a huge base of developers that contribute and are highly active and supportive.
Applications of C#
C# is a middle-level language that makes it user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to understand. Moreover, C# has a faster execution time. That’s why it is used widely for embedded programming as well.
Apart from this, C# programming language is widely used to build large-scale applications for Windows, Desktop and Web applications, Games, Virtual Reality (VR), Database Applications, and other services for the Web. You can also use it to develop iOS and Android applications as well.
Features and Advantages of C#
Before discussing why you should switch over to C# from C++, Java, or other languages, let’s discuss a few features and advantages that C# brings to the table.
Fast: C# is a fast programming language and has a quick execution time.
Simple: C# doesn’t require you to include header files — it has a structured approach that allows you to break the problem into parts and has a rich set of libraries and data types.
Object-Oriented: It supports OOPS concepts that make maintenance and development easier. It supports all aspects of object-oriented programming such as inheritance, polymorphism, abstraction, encapsulation, interfaces, etc.
Type-Safe: It allows you to write and develop type-safe code, improving security. You will not be able to perform unsafe casts, such as converting a double data type to a boolean. It automatically initializes data types and objects as well as classes to zero or null values.
Interoperability: It can interact well with other programming languages. This helps to increase the reusability of the code and create an efficient program. It can use COM objects irrespective of the language that’s used to write them. It can also call out any API.
Structured: C# divides a large program into modules, procedures, or functions to solve specific problems.
Component-Oriented: C# is a component-oriented programming language, meaning it uses events, properties, attributes, methods, etc., to allow and create self-contained and described components called functionalities.
Platform-Independent: Any platform that has .NET installed on it can run C#.
Automatic Garbage Collection: The system does not get messed up or hanged during execution because C# has an automatic garbage collection that automatically removes dangling items during runtime.
No Memory Leak: It has strong and high memory backup that helps in avoiding memory leakage, unlike C++.
Why Should You Learn C# in 2023?
Let’s discuss a few reasons why you should learn a multi-purpose language like C# in 2023.
It’s simple, easy-to-use, intuitive, and readable.
It’s a strongly typed language that enhances developer productivity and makes common tasks easy to do.
It’s a multi-paradigm, object-oriented programming language that supports programming styles such as generic, imperative, functional, and declarative.
You can create multiple applications such as console applications, desktop applications, applications for native mobile, AI, IoT, and cloud.
C# runs on a well-engineered, robust, solid .NET framework.
It’s platform-independent, modern, mature, and very actively developed and maintained.
It’s open-source, well-documented, and has an active, vibrant community.
It can be used for software development since it has built-in design practices and patterns.
It is very fast to execute and has a rich set of libraries.
Job Market for C# Programmers
Most organizations, no matter big or small, use C# to develop critical systems. There are tons of job opportunities for C# programmers out there, and since Microsoft backs it, the popularity of C# will continue to increase.
Being a C# programmer, you can create games, create music/sound effects, or you can get a career as a software developer who builds Windows services and applications. You can even get into AI and IoT fields.
The average C# programmer salary is roughly $108,000 per year in the United States. The salary range can usually fall between $96,631 and $119,448 — depending upon experience, location, education, etc.
Prerequisites for Learning C#
To start learning C# as a beginner, you need to have some basic concepts brushed up to learn C# quickly and efficiently. Some of the prerequisites include:
Basic computer knowledge such as working with command-line, file systems, and installing applications such as compilers, interpreters, etc.
Knowledge of object-oriented programming. C# is an object-oriented programming language, which means that you will need to have a basic understanding of concepts like encapsulation, polymorphism, abstraction, inheritance, interfaces, etc.
Basic knowledge of C, C++, or Java just to have a slight understanding of the syntax of C#.
How to Install C#
to The best way to run C# is through the Visual Studio Code IDE. It has built-in support for debugging and running C# programs.
Let's see how to run a C# program through Visual Studio Code. For this, you will need to download the IDE from its official website. The installation is quite simple and intuitive.
After you have installed the IDE, follow these steps to run a C# program.
1. Create a new file with .CS extension. This is the extension for a C# file.
2. The IDE will automatically recommend you install an extension related to it. In case it doesn’t, you can press the following key combinations (ctrl + shift + x) to open extensions and install the following extension.
3. If you don’t have the .NET Core SDK installed, then you will not be able to debug the program. The IDE will automatically suggest you install one in case it doesn’t find it on your system. Visit this link to install it.
You can now run and debug C# programs.
Integrated Development Environments (IDE) for C#
An IDE or Integrated Development Environment provides important tools such as editor, debugger, auto-complete tools, automation facilities, extensions, plugins, etc., that help you create a perfect environment for development.
There are tons of IDEs available that support multiple programming languages. Let’s discuss some of the top IDEs that you can use to debug and execute your C# programs.
1. Visual Studio Code
VS Code is hands-down the most popular IDE for C#. C# and Visual Studio are both Microsoft products and are perfectly aligned to work with each other. It has in-built support for .Net and C# and has tons of plugins to make development easier. It has both a free and paid version, but it’s best to start with the free community edition for individual purposes.
- Automatic code completion with IntelliSense.
- Built-in Git commands.
- Tons of extensions to customize the environment.
- Free and easy to install and use.
2. Project Rider
Project Rider is a cross-platform IDE that supports .NET, .NET Core, and .NET Framework. It supports languages such as C#, HTML, XAML, JS, and more. It is based on IntelliJ and Resharper and comes with navigation, unit testing, debugging, Nuget clients, database integration, etc.
- It is a good Java-based platform for C# and supports the latest versions of C#.
- It has Unity integration.
- It performs debugging in a docker container and has a spell checker integrated.
If you don’t want to go through the hassles of downloading, installing, integrating, and customizing IDEs on your local system, you can run C# programs in your browser with the help of online compilers. Some of the most popular online compilers for C# are:
How to Learn C# in 2023: Roadmap
The next and the most important step is to figure out a learning path that will help you learn C# quickly and efficiently. Let’s try to list down the high-level topics that you will need to master the concepts of C#. In the prerequisites section, we have already discussed that you need to understand the Object-Oriented Programming Concept to get started with C#.
1. Syntaxes, Variables, and Data-Types
Learning the syntax is the basic step to getting started with any programming language, and the same can be applied for C#. You can learn how to declare variables, the different data types, comments, input-output, type-conversion, etc.
2. Conditionals and Loops
After you have grabbed the syntax, the next step is to learn branching and looping statements. Loops help you create a program that can automate repetitive tasks instead of running the same code manually multiple times. Conditionals help you to give a flow to the program. Some of the topics include:
- If/Else conditions
- Switch statements
- Comparison operators
- Logical operators
- For loops
- For-each loops
3. Functions/Methods and Arrays
Functions, methods, or procedures allow you to group a piece of code to perform a specific function, such as adding two numbers, etc. To perform a specific operation multiple times, you don’t need to write the same code multiple times in different program sections. You can create a simple function for it and use it wherever you want. Arrays allow you to store lists of data.
Topics that you can learn in this section include:
- Defining and calling methods
- Parameters and arguments in methods
- Method overloading
- Creating, accessing, and manipulating arrays
4. Classes and Objects
These are a part of OOPS concepts. Classes encapsulate related data together, and objects provide instances to access data stored inside classes. This section teaches:
- Access modifiers
- “This” keyword
- Constructor overloading
- Object dot notation
5. Interfaces and Inheritance
Inheritance allows you to inherit functions, variables of one or more classes, to another. Interfaces allow you to create classes like structures where you don’t need to define the methods, just declare them. At a later stage, when you require it, you can define these methods in their subclasses. Topics to be learned include:
- Building interfaces
- Parent/child classes
- Accessing inherited components
- Method overriding
Once you have learned all the basics, you can move forward to learn advanced concepts such as:
- Abstract classes
- Data structures such as stacks, queues, hash tables, collections, etc.
- File handling
- Database connection
- Windows Form Applications
Once you have mastered these topics, you are ready to move on to the next step. It’s very important to understand that mastering theory is not enough to learn any programming language. You need to get hands-on by creating as many projects of different levels to have a deeper understanding of the concepts.
But before getting to the projects section, let’s discuss a few online resources that you can use to learn C# programming quickly and efficiently.
Online Courses and Tutorials for C#
Let’s look at a few online courses and tutorials that you can leverage to learn C#. These courses provide a guided path to learn the language from beginner to advanced level systematically. The most popular courses are:
This course by Udemy deals with the fundamentals of C# programming and the .NET framework. It will help you learn topics such as primitive and non-primitive data types, expressions, flow control, arrays, lists, files, object-oriented approaches, etc. It has an elaborate description of all the topics, and you will get hands-on with all the topics and sub-topics. It includes real-world examples, programming exercises, etc., to brush up on your knowledge.
Prerequisites: Visual Studio Community.
Duration: 5 hours 24 mins.
This course by LinkedIn Learning will allow you to create console applications and get started with the basic syntax and object-oriented approach to C#. It has the easiest level of videos to help beginners understand the concept with the help of real-world examples. You can access lots of practice exercises, use offline and self-paced modes to learn, and take quizzes to assess your knowledge. Topics covered in this course include: basics, variables, data types, strings, classes, objects, functions, UI, Object-oriented approach, and more.
Prerequisites: No coding background required.
Duration: 3 hours 14 mins.
This course provided by Coursera allows you to learn C# basics and create Unity games simultaneously. It has been divided into specializations covering topics such as: Introduction, Unity UI, C# intermediates such as OOPS concept, Design patterns, Data Structures, and a capstone project.
It has projects, quizzes, learning resources, assignments, tutorials, and you can even take up live learning as well as self-paced learning modes. There are more than 15 exercises that will allow you to get hands-on with C#.
Prerequisites: No coding experience is required.
Duration: 5 months Approx.
Click here to visit the course.
Check out the top courses for C# in 2023.
Free Online Resources
If you don’t want to spend hefty amounts on these courses, you can always go for a plethora of free resources that are available online. Some of the top free resources for C# are:
These resources will give you an in-depth knowledge of all the basics and advanced topics you will need to work on projects.
You can also start learning C# using some great books to help you understand the topics in greater detail. Here’s a list of top books that you can use to start learning C#.
Check out the 10 Top Books for C#.
It is no doubt one of the most reliable ways to understand C# is directly through documentation. Microsoft has many examples on C#, which is no surprise since Microsoft developed it. You will find a pile of in-depth tutorials, videos, articles, and beginner-friendly insights in the documentation. There are two different documentations that you can follow. These are:
Working on projects is the best way to learn any topic since it allows you to apply the learning gained through theory.
You should start with the basic projects and gradually move forward to build intermediate and advanced projects. This way, you won’t lose interest and will learn topics sequentially.
Here’s a list of a few projects that you can start working on as a beginner:
- Create a login page or a sign-up page for a game.
- You can create an application that stores a list of postcards that you have collected.
- You can work on an application to create tickets for a team.
- You can create a music app or a simple piano-tiles-like gaming application.
- You can create a program to archive files and directories.
The best way to learn C# is by building interactive games using it. This will help you learn a lot of concepts that you won’t have even touched upon through theory.
Online Certifications for C#
Once you have all the theoretical and practical knowledge on C#, you can grab certifications that will help you create a strong resume and portfolio to verify your skills. Here’s a list of a few top certifications for C# that you can do in 2023.
To get detailed information about these certifications and others, you can refer to this guide on 7 Best C# Certifications Online in 2023.
Join Developer Communities
You can join several developer communities that will keep you updated and help you with any problems you might encounter while learning. You can expose yourself, get better insights on technical and non-technical topics, help each other, and better understand the language.
Some popular developer communities for C# are:
Interview Questions on C#
Now that you have grasped all the basics of the C# language, worked on projects, and have grabbed valuable certifications, it’s time for you to prepare for technical interviews on C#.
When it comes to interviews, the recruiters check your basic theoretical understanding of the topics and analyze how you can apply these topics to create better solutions for them. They want you to apply these concepts to build modern and better applications. You will find below the top interview questions on C#.
Here’s a complete list of Top C# Interview Questions and Answers.
In this step-by-step guide, we discussed how to learn C#, including prerequisites and a step-by-step guide to install the Visual Studio IDE and run C# programs. We also discussed a few other alternatives to Visual Studios and Online compilers, among other helpful topics.
You now have a clear roadmap that you can use to begin your journey with C# in 2023. If you want to expand your knowledge of programming languages, why not learn a few more?
Check out our list of Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2023!
questions that will help you ace your interviews with flying colors.
You now have a clear roadmap that you can use to begin your journey with C# in 2023. Good luck on your programming journey!