A Day in the Life of a C++ Programmer: Is It Right for You?

A Day in the Life of a C++ Programmer: Is It Right for You?

Java and Python are great, but C++ is on fire. If you’re interested in a programming career, C++ might be the path for you.

Below, we’ll take a look at where C++ is used and what you need to break into the field. Besides these tips, you could also “work shadow” a programmer to see what a day in the life in this job is really like. 

Right, let’s get down to the basics.

What Is C++ Programming?

Since you’re here, programming is probably no foreign field to you—but do you know the language? There are currently thousands to choose from.

C++ is one of the top programming languages at present, a general-purpose language used in operating systems, game engines, embedded systems, and high-performance applications. In fact, Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe, and Unreal Engine all rely on C++.

Skilled C++ programmers are in high demand. In fact, in September 2020, TIOBE’s Programming Community Index listed C++ as the fastest-growing programming language. At least 4.4 million developers use C++ around the world.

Is C++ Programming Right for You?

C++ has been around for over 40 years, and it is a cornerstone of modern technology. If you’re skilled with various programming languages or interested in a career as a programmer, developer, software engineer, or analyst, getting started as a C++ programmer might be the right move for you.

If possible, reach out to your school’s guidance department or professionals in the field to secure an internship or job shadowing opportunity. This will allow you to observe what life as a programmer is really like. If this is not possible, you can rely on the day-to-day play-by-play below.

You may find that you enjoy the field but that some specific positions are not for you. For example, you may be attracted to game development positions but not finance. You need to learn how to turn down a job offer but keep the door open when faced with undesirable prospects. After all, you never know when your circumstances will change or when you may need to rely on those professional contacts once again.

If you decide to pursue a programming path, the first step is to learn C++ and other programming languages. Get involved with personal or open-source projects to gain experience. Look into college courses, as developers in particular are often required to hold a bachelor’s degree.

A Day in the Life

What does a day in the life of a C++ programmer look like? Here is one possibility.

The alarm clock sounds at 5:30 a.m. You have to decide whether to get in a bit of exercise or nab an extra 30 minutes of sleep.

After some stretching and a light jog, you enjoy a cup of coffee while checking the news. At 7 a.m., you catch the bus to your downtown office.

You hit the sidewalk at 7:30 a.m. and hit up a cafe between the bus stop and the office. By 8 a.m. you are at your desk, catching up on emails and other messages. You review your tasks and priorities for the day, and start working on the most important task—debugging a new software application your company is preparing for a client.

You head to the break room for a cup of coffee before your 10:30 a.m. meeting. Management reviews goals and priorities for your team and others. Deadlines are becoming tight for a pre-Christmas video game release, but the company received positive feedback on a recently released business-to-business software package.

At 11:30, you meet with a new client to discuss their needs for an automated booking platform. At noon, you and a colleague grab lunch down the street.

You have a busy afternoon ahead of you—a Zoom meeting with an international client, followed by two hours of debugging code, committing code changes to a version control system, and writing unit tests to ensure the code changes work as expected.

You check your emails one more time before catching the bus home. One message contains an urgent request for a bug fix from a high-priority client. After arriving home, you pull out your laptop and spend the rest of your evening looking for the corrupt line of code.

You look forward to the next day—a remote work day as part of your hybrid schedule. 

Every day is different, of course. Some include more meetings, while others involve longer stretches of coding, testing, or developing new features. Many of your tasks will become mundane, tedious, and repetitive in time, but others are exciting, such as creating new functionality, working on a project you are passionate about, or seeing a long-anticipated project released to and loved by the public.

Key Takeaways

C++ programming and development is a good career choice as C++ specialists are in high demand. This versatile programming language is used by everyone from Google to video game developers.

C++ careers include web and software developers, video game designers, database developers, and other architects and engineers in such diverse fields as finance, gaming, VR, movie production, and more.

Start learning C++ today or increase your skills to tap into this burgeoning career path.