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C/C++ Programming

Specialized Certificate

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About the C/C++ Programming Program

C and C++ are two of the most popular languages for applications where speed, efficiency, and compact executable code size are major considerations. Usages range from the simplest embedded microcontrollers, to games, multimedia applications, compilers, and well known complex operating systems. Many of today's popular programming languages, including Java, Perl, and Python, have borrowed directly or indirectly from C or C++. Students who know C and C++ have an advantage learning these and other programming languages.

This certificate program starts by treating C++ as an extension of C, then progresses to the C++ object-oriented model and other advanced features. Students are exposed to a diverse range of programming situations and techniques that will be of value to novice and seasoned programmers alike. The C and C++ certificate is designed to provide the tools necessary to stay current with rapidly changing technologies, progress to other programming languages, or simply complement a formal degree. Upon completion of this specialized certificate, students will be prepared to design, develop, implement, and maintain C and C++ applications. This program equips participants to be productive in many related fields including software analysis, test and integration, and embedded systems engineering.

  • Can be completed entirely online
  • Designed for current industry standards
  • Covers all major C and C++ concepts as well as numerous standard library items
  • Teaches procedural and object-oriented programming techniques
  • Focuses on efficiency, portability, and implementation independence
  • Explores concepts applied to real world situations
  • Addresses standard programming style and documentation
  • Utilizes instructor-written custom course readers focused on course content
  • Provides structured curriculum taught by experienced industry practitioners
  • Gain proficiency in C and C++ language syntax and application development
  • Apply object-oriented design principles to several major C++ projects
  • Gain experience using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for program development and testing
  • Learn various techniques for debugging programs
  • Earn a UC San Diego Extension certificate recognized by many employers for career development and advancement
Science & Technology


Delivery Method
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  • Live Online
  • In-Person
  • Online
  • Hybrid

Introduction to ProgrammingCSE-40028

Units: 3.00


This course introduces first-time programmers to foundation programmingtechniques and principles using the popular Python Programming language. Python s simple syntax is similar to the English languag...

Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

C/C++ Programming I : Fundamental Programming ConceptsCSE-40475

Units: 3.00


With an emphasis on the syntax, semantics and structured programming style,this class examines the C and C++ programming languages. Students will learn to create and compile basic programs using C/C++...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

C/C++ Programming II : Dynamic Memory and File I/O ConceptsCSE-40476

Units: 3.00


Building upon C/C++ Programming I,level II will provide you with a further understanding of the C and C++ programming languages. Topics include: the run-time environment, advanced I/O features, advanc...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

C/C++ Programming III : Intermediate Programming with ObjectsCSE-40477

Units: 3.00


This course will emphasize using objecte oriented analysis and design techniquesto learn the C++ programming language. Students completing the course will learn C++ syntax, how to make use of the C++ ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer

C/C++ Programming IV: Advanced Programming with ObjectsCSE-40478

Units: 3.00


Expanding on serveral topics in C++ Programming III,this course encompasses object-oriented analysis, design, and programming. Additionally, advanced memory management, stream and file I/O, persistenc...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Summer

Data Structures and Algorithms in C/C++CSE-40049

Units: 3.00


Gain an understanding of fundamental algortihms and data structures.Learn to write code that scales well with large data sets and how to identify hidden performance bottlenecks. While concepts covered...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

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Demand and Job Prospects

  • Industries employing people with C and C++ programming skills include: Professional, Scientific, Technical Services, Finance, and Insurance
  • Job titles include: Embedded Systems Engineer, Software Developer, C++ Programmer, C++ Developer, Programmer/Analyst, Firmware Engineer
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary range for Software Developers in 2017 as 103K - 104K annually
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported job growth rate for Software Developers in 2017 at 24%

Who Will Benefit

  • Developers looking to refresh their C and C++ competencies
  • Non-programmers learning programming to enhance their careers
  • Managers and QA who work with programmers and desire a better understanding of C and C++
  • Career changers seeking to join the workforce as programmers
  • Computer Science undergraduates seeking an MS degree

EDC Preferred Provider

The San Diego Regional EDC's Advancing San Diego program is designed to address talent shortages in STEM positions. Students of our program will be eligible for fully-funded internships at San Diego small companies. Learn more about the program by visiting

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Conditions for Admission

Complete the application and pay application fee. UC San Diego Extension programs are designed to best serve college-prepared working professionals. Although programs are open to all adult learners, where program capacity is limited, applicants with this profile will receive preference for admission.

Next Steps Experience

Upon completion of this certificate, consider taking the course CSE-40049 Data Structures and Algorithms in C/C++ to continue building your skills.

San Diego Workforce Partnership

ISA logo

The San Diego Workforce Partnership's Income Share Agreement (ISA) is a new and innovative option to finance your education. UC San Diego Extension proudly serves as the educational partner, deepening our commitment to serving critical lifelong learning and skill development, particularly to underrepresented individuals in the tech community.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Are Soft Skills available to students for their professional development under this program?

To advance in today’s competitive job market, in addition to your technical skills, employers are seeking candidates who possess soft skills including self-awareness, communication skills, team building, EQ, Leadership and Management etc. Our Corporate and Community Relations team offers a wide array of workshops, webinars, and executive programs designed to develop strong professional skills applicable across all industries. Participants will be able to implement the skills learned immediately upon completion of their training. 

To get more detail on what they have to offer, we encourage you to visit our Leadership and Management Essentials webpage.

How do I enroll in a course?

To enroll into a class, click on the class link in the matrix and that will take you to that class page. There you can find the start date for that course, and you can click on “Add to Cart” which will lead you to complete the registration/payment process.

Is this program in-class or online?

The courses alternate between in-class and online offerings per quarter. All in-class courses use a blended approach, meaning that they combine face-to-face classroom methods with computer-mediated learning activities. For online classes, all assignments and test/quizzes are completed online and submitted through Canvas, our online learning platform.


Can the programming prerequisite be waived if I have taken a programming course elsewhere or have equivalent working knowledge?

The prerequisite is not required in order to complete the prerequisite. However, it serves as a guideline to students as to the level of knowledge required for students enrolling into the first required course in this program. Those with little to no programming experience must take the Introduction to Programming course prior to enrolling in C/C++ Programming I. Those who wish to skip the prerequisite may do so without a department waiver. Please email if you would like to see the syllabus of the prerequisite course.

How long does it take to complete the certificate?

Students who choose to take one course per quarter for 5 consecutive quarters can complete the program in 15 months. Students who do not need the prerequisite course CSE-40028 Introduction to Programming can complete the program in 1 year. You have up to five years to complete all requirements for the certificate.

Is this certificate open to non-California residents?

Yes, the program is open to non-California residents, including non-US residents. The tuition is the same for all students. If you have questions about how enrolling in courses may or may not affect your visa status, please contact our International Department at or (858) 534-6784.

How can I get more information about this program?

You will find a downloadable program flyer and program FAQs under "Related Documents" on the right side of the top of this page. If you need further information, please contact the program representative at 858-534-9152 or

Advisory Board

Godfrey Duke

Software Engineering


James Gappy

Sr. Software Engineer


William Griswald, Ph.D.


UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering

Pierre Huguet

Chief Technology Officer

XPDreamTeam LL

Michele Leroux Bustamante



Riyad Mammadov

Director of Applications Development

XDimensional Technologies

Raymond Mitchell, Jr.

Software Engineering

independent Consultant

Bruce Schurter

Principal Software Engineer

Wildcat Discovery Technologies

Zoiner Tejada



Walter Wesley

Department Chair

Mesa College

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This certificate requires an application before taking any courses. There will be a $0 fee to apply to this program. Students will also be required to pay a $95 certificate fee upon enrollment into the program after acceptance. View the complete Certificate Registration and Candidacy Guidelines.