The pool of talented C++ developers is running dry
Software companies have a problem. There’s not enough candidates that can code C++.
This was the consensus in a webinar from ProfitView, a crypto trading tools developer, on high frequency trading using C++. Anthony Peacock, formerly a quant at both Citi and Citadel said “it’s impossible to find people with a really high level of C++ skills which is exactly what every trading company wants.”
This isn’t just a British or American issue, nor is it one specific to high frequency trading. Rainer Grimm, who has been a professional C++ trainer since 2008, affirmed that C++ education in Germany is equally “terrible” and added that “there’s a big demand for C++ not only in this domain but also the automotive” industry.
Where are all the C++ programmers? People are seemingly scared away from the language by a terrible stigma: the notion that it is a legacy program. With big names in tech such as Microsoft Azure CEO Mark Russinovich calling people to “deprecate” C++ “for the sake of security and reliability,” in favour of Rust, this is hardly surprising.
However, reports of C++'s death may be premature. ProfitView CEO Richard Hickling, a former software engineer at Barclays and Bank of America, said “the death of C++ has been reported many times.” Hickling pointed to Java, which has long “seemed to be replacing C++ itself,” but hasn't.
So where have all the C++ developers gone? The Stack Overflow Survey 2022 reported almost a drop of almost two percentage points in respondents this past year using C++ (from 24.3% to 22.5%), even while the percentage of professional developers using it rose. The good news, though, is that 34.7% of respondents learning to code are using C++, placing it in the top 6 programming languages of that category.
The real problem is that C++ is neither easy nor loved. Rust got an 87% approval rate in the "most loved" category of the Stack Overflow Survey. However, only 9.3% of respondents used Rust at all and only 8.8% did so professionally. C++, meanwhile, languished at 48%.
Even so, C++ regularly appears in the top 4 of the TIOBE index, earning it a place in their “big 4.”
The reality is that there are plenty of C++ jobs available in finance, and that compared to other languages there are comparatively few people to fill them. The language may be hard. But it's also worth it.
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