C Tutorial for Beginners


C is a high-level compiler computer programming language divided into various modules. One of the most significant reasons for the popularity of the C is because it is a free-format language. So, programmers need not follow a specific typing rule – they can add brackets or lines anywhere in their code. 

Since C is a complex language, it is mainly used to write lengthy programs, as it allows programmers to use meaningful names for functions and variables in a program. The features of the C language facilitate easy and logical organisation of a program. Therefore, you can create neat and compact programs in C without hassle. 

Let’s begin with the C tutorial to help you understand how to leverage it for programming and app development.

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C Tutorial for Beginners

Here is a step-by-step guide to C tutorial for beginners.

How to set up the environment for the C programming language?

The first step in the C programming tutorial is to understand how to set up an environment for the language. It means installing and configuring two software; a text editor and a C compiler. 

The purpose of text editors is to type the program and store files with a C extension. They include Windows Notepad, EMACS, or vi. The next step is installing a compiler. The program typed in alphabet or numerics must be converted into a language computer can understand. Thus, we need compilers to turn information into a machine language and allow program execution. 

features of c language

Finally, install GCC on Linux, Mac OS, or Windows.

Program Structure

Once you have installed the text editor and the compiler, you must learn about the basic programming structure or the command method of the C language to use the text editor and compiler. 

For example, the first code people usually try in C is the “Hello World”. To execute this program, you need to add the below-given code in the text editor.

#include <stdio.h>

int main()


 /* my first program in C */

 printf(“Hello, World! \n”);

 return 0;


After typing the code, you must save the file as hello.c,  then go to the file directory and type gcc hello.c for code compilation. 

Next, type a.out for execution, and you will see “Hello World” printed on the screen.

#include <stdio.h> is a preprocessor command whereas int main() is the main function. The part within /*…*/ is not compiled becauseit is an additional comment.

The printf(…) function is used to print “Hello World” on the screen. The last line return 0, is used to terminate the main function.

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Learn the Basic Syntax of C 

It is essential to learn the basic syntax of C , which comprises functions, variables, commands, statements and expressions, and comments. The C syntax consists of tokens that act as keywords, identifiers, symbols, constants, or literals. 

While writing the program, you must remember to use a semicolon to end or terminate the line. Put a semicolon at last as you finish a logical entry.

To identify the different variables in the program, use specific names called identifiers that start with an alphabet or an underscore. While selecting the identifier, you cannot use certain reserved words also called as keywords. Common names include auto, continue, default, double, float, int, else, static, and volatile.

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Data Types in C

The data types in the C language are used to declare various functions and variables. The following are the four different data types in C-

  1. Basic:- The basic data types are arithmetic,including integer and floating data types.
  2. Enumerated:- These are similar to the basic types as they contain arithmetic values and are assigned discrete integer values.
  3. Void:- These data types denote null or no value. It is used in three different situations-
  • When the function returns as void.
  • When the function arguments are void and do not accept any parameter.
  • To represent the address of an object and not its type.

   4.Derived:- Derived data types are further divided into five categories-

  • Pointer types
  • Array types
  • Structure types
  • Union types
  • Function types

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Storage Classes in C

Storage classes in C define the scope or visibility of functions and variables. The following are the four different types of storage classes in C-

  • Auto:- The default storage class for all local variables, it can be used only within functions.
  • Register:- The register storage class defines local variables that require quick access. It stores variables in the record instead of RAM.
  • Static:- This storage class keeps variables accessible throughout the program to avoid creating new variables multiple times. 
  • Extern:- These can point out the location of a global variable. We use this storage class when multiple files use the same global variable.

Loops in C Language

In normal circumstances, the execution of a code takes place one sentence at a time, sequentially. However, for situations where the user needs to execute a specific block of code multiple times repeatedly, they use loop statements. Here are the different types of loop statements in C-

  • While loop:- This loop checks whether a given condition is true. If the condition is true, then the statement is continuously executed. Its syntax is- 






If the condition is false, the loop statement stops working, and the next statement is executed.

  • For loop:- You can use the for loop to execute a statement a specific number of times. Its syntax is:

for ( init; condition; increment )



First, you must use the unit step to initialise or declare a loop. After initialisation, the system checks the condition. If the condition is true, the loop statement is executed.

  • Do…while loop:- The do…while loop is similar to while loop. However, the difference is that in the latter, the condition at the top of the loop is checked, whereas, in the do…while loop, the condition at the bottom of the loop is checked. Its syntax is:




}while( condition );

  • Nested loop:- When you use a loop statement inside another loop, it is called a nested loop. In nested loops, you can use a break statement to stop the execution of the innermost loop
  • Infinite loop:- As the name suggests, an infinite loop is an endless loop. It is executed when the condition can never become false.

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C is the fundamental programming language used to develop various applications and software. Therefore, in-depth knowledge of C is a must to learn the applications of other programming languages efficiently. If you want to become a software developer, you can pursue the Master of Science in Computer Science program on upGrad to gain theoretical knowledge and acquire practical skills related to different programming languages and tools.

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What is the application of the C language?

C is a popular language used to build applications, like operating systems, user interface (UI), design healthcare applications, and mobile gaming applications. C can also be used to create compilers, design network devices, and design software applications like databases.

What are Functions in C?

Functions in the C language are coding blocks used to carry out specific tasks in programming. Multiple functions can be called repeatedly while writing a program, which helps the software developer write short codes and avoid repetition. Functions are enclosed by {}. There are two different types of functions in the C language; library functions which are inbuilt in the language and declared in c header files, and user-defined functions, which the programmer creates to perform various tasks.

What are the different types of variables in C?

Variables in programming languages are storage blocks that contain specific information. There are five variables in the C language; local, global, automatic, static, and external. Local Variable: Declared inside a function at the start of a block Global Variables: Defined outside a function Static Variable: Declared with a static keyword; used between various function calls Automatic Variables: Declared inside the block with the 'auto' keyword External Variables: Declared with the 'extern' keyword.


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