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I was thinking about teaching myself either C++ or Java. I just want something practical and Moderately easy to learn. Yahoo answers is proving to be no help on the matter.
Which would you suggest?
Pros and cons?

Well you will have noticed I am in the C++ experts area NOT the Java experts area.

This is because I am a C++ expert but NOT a Java expert, although I have gained some Java experience recently.

So please bear this in mind.

Hence as a professed C++ expert I would of course say C++ (tongue firmly in cheek).

Seriously thought, the answer depends on what you plan to use the new found knowledge for.

If you plan to do embedded programming work then C++ is probably the better option of the two.

If you plan to do application or web development then maybe consider Java.

Although neither case is clear cut.

If you plan to do low level systems or high performance computing development then C++ is almost certainly the better choice.

In general Java might be seen as the simpler language to learn.

I should also point out in this day and age that just knowing one programming language is not enough.

Oh and if you have certain specific application platforms in mind - e.g. mobile development on Android or iOS or Windows Mobile 7 then you may find that to a large extent the decision has been made for you: For Android most applications are written using Java, for iOS they use Objective C, and Windows Mobile 7 applications use .NET / C# I think. Or you use a cross-mobile platform framework such as PhoneGap ( ) which in this specific case uses Javascript, HTML and CSS. So it might be best to check what you need to use if you do have such a specific application platform in mind, just in case.

You might like to read this old answer of mine on a similar subject:

Although note that it is now nearly 6 years old, so maybe Java and other languages such as C# have encroached more into the application areas that C++ was once used for.


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Ralph McArdell


I am a software developer with more than 15 years C++ experience and over 25 years experience developing a wide variety of applications for Windows NT/2000/XP, UNIX, Linux and other platforms. I can help with basic to advanced C++, C (although I do not write just-C much if at all these days so maybe ask in the C section about purely C matters), software development and many platform specific and system development problems.


My career started in the mid 1980s working as a batch process operator for the now defunct Inner London Education Authority, working on Prime mini computers. I then moved into the role of Programmer / Analyst, also on the Primes, then into technical support and finally into the micro computing section, using a variety of 16 and 8 bit machines. Following the demise of the ILEA I worked for a small company, now gone, called Hodos. I worked on a part task train simulator using C and the Intel DVI (Digital Video Interactive) - the hardware based predecessor to Indeo. Other projects included a CGI based train simulator (different goals to the first), and various other projects in C and Visual Basic (er, version 1 that is). When Hodos went into receivership I went freelance and finally managed to start working in C++. I initially had contracts working on train simulators (surprise) and multimedia - I worked on many of the Dorling Kindersley CD-ROM titles and wrote the screensaver games for the Wallace and Gromit Cracking Animator CD. My more recent contracts have been more traditionally IT based, working predominately in C++ on MS Windows NT, 2000. XP, Linux and UN*X. These projects have had wide ranging additional skill sets including system analysis and design, databases and SQL in various guises, C#, client server and remoting, cross porting applications between platforms and various client development processes. I have an interest in the development of the C++ core language and libraries and try to keep up with at least some of the papers on the ISO C++ Standard Committee site at


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