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C++: The key to your future

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Thomas O'Neill
Executive Engineering Specialist

Some of the hardest decisions you will ever need to make come early in your career, such as what profession to learn and where to live. Young people regularly ask me these questions, so I’m looking to provide guidance and some topics of thought when considering a career in tech.

What programming language should I learn?

The programming language that you elect to learn is one of the most important decisions you'll make when starting out in technology. This is because it will determine what industry you might end up in, what types of projects you support and who will hire you!

The number of possible languages to programme has exploded over the last 20 years, and they all have their positives: Java is designed to work with any operating system; Python is the most accessible. But today, we’re making the case for C++, which is one of the oldest and most successful languages globally.

30 years ago, when it was first invented, C++ was far and away the most popular programming language. However, by the early 2000s, it had become slow to update and was overtaken by other, newer languages.

NOW C++ is back and it’s up to third place in the charts. But why?

Why C++?

Let’s be honest: C++ isn't the easiest of all the languages to learn. It's very code-intensive, so you've got to be interested in writing it, but unlike some of the more lightweight languages, it is extremely scalable. It will work as well running a complex embedded machine as it will running a small indie app, and it's still one of the fastest running languages out there even at such a large scale.

Mastering C++ as opposed to an easier language is a sign that you're not afraid of a challenge, and that your work will be useful for just about anything they want to apply it to - whether that's web development, embedded engineering, apps or video games. This is reflected in the annual salaries and contractor daily rates for C++ developers in Switzerland, which can be as high as CHF 140,000 per annum / CHF 900 per day across Switzerland.

C++ has also stood the test of time, having been around since the 1980s in older forms, and has a large online community of developers. You can be confident C++ will keep being updated and won't die off.

Working in Switzerland

Even with your attractive new skills, that still leaves a place to use them. We help people find tech jobs in Switzerland because we think it's the best place in Europe to work in the technology industry. With excellent access to some of the world's largest manufacturing, medical devices, banks and financial companies, there is constant need for technology workers. This is reflected in some of the highest base salaries and contractor rates in Europe, along with some of the lowest taxes. Switzerland places no restrictions on European citizens working in tech, and you will find a huge melting pot of fellow foreign workers to mix with because 1/3 of Zurich's citizens have foreign passports.

All in all, C++ and Switzerland are a winning combination for a great career in tech!