What Is Object-Oriented Programming Language? (With Basics)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Having an understanding of computer programming languages is in high demand in the current technology-driven industries. Expert knowledge of object-oriented programming and its usage in a real-time system can be helpful in developing different software programmes. Learning about the basics of object-oriented programming can help you while creating complex programmes. In this article, we find out “What is an object-oriented programming language?”, and explore its four basic concepts, its advantages and career scope.

What is an object-oriented programming language?

To simply answer "What is an object-oriented programming language?", it is a programming model based on the concept of objects and classes. In this model, programmers define the functions that can be applicable to the data structures and their data type. Object-oriented programming turns data structure into an object, including both data and functions. It encourages the reusing of these objects in the same and other programmes as well.

For example, we create a class ‘motorcycle' that represents all the properties a motorcycle has, such as colour, model and brand name. In the next step, we create an instance of a motorcycle type object and can name it my motorcycle to represent a specific motorcycle. A motorcycle can only function after uniting multiple parts such as the handle, engine, wheels, headlight and other parts. So, here, each part combines with others to make a single object that contains different data attributes.

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Basics concepts of object-oriented programming

The four basic concepts of object-oriented programming are inheritance, polymorphism, abstraction and encapsulation. The following explanation of these four basic concepts can help you get better insights into object-oriented programming (OOP):

1. Inheritance

In object-oriented programming, inheritance is a mechanism where programmers can derive a class from another class. This concept of OOP can be useful in giving custom logic to existing frameworks and in declaring different exceptions. Inheritance also allows programmers to reuse previously written codes. This removes the burden of writing the same codes again, as programmers can make a derived class inherit the property of its parent class. For example, one can create two child classes and name them hatchback and sedan inherited from the parent class car.

There are the following five different variations in inheritance in OOP languages:

  • Single inheritance: It is the simplest form of inheritance where a class inherits only one parent class. Single inheritance enables code reusability and adds new features to the existing class.

  • Multiple inheritance: When a class inherits more than one parent class, it becomes a multiple inheritance. As the child class inherits properties from different parent classes, it has access to all of its objects. It is different from a single inheritance property, as it allows an object or class to inherit from more than one object or class.

  • Multilevel inheritance: When one class inherits properties from a derived class, it is multilevel inheritance. For example, class A extends class B and class B extends class C.

  • Hierarchical inheritance: In this variation of inheritance, the different child classes inherit a single parent class. For example, a parent class C can have three subclasses, D, E and F.

  • Hybrid inheritance: If there is a combination of more than one type of inheritance, it is a hybrid inheritance. It can be a combination of simple, multiple and hierarchical inheritances.

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2. Polymorphism

Polymorphism is the core concept of the object-oriented programming language that allows programmers to build logical codes. In this concept of OOP, programmers can access objects of different types through the same interface where each type provides its own implementation of the interface.

The following two types of polymorphism are useful in OOP:

  • Compile-time polymorphism: Also called static binding polymorphism, it means binding occurs at compile time. Method overloading is an example of compile-time polymorphism. It allows programmers to use objects of the same name while their parameters can be different.

  • Runtime polymorphism: Runtime polymorphism involves dynamic binding. Method overriding is an example of runtime polymorphism. In this process, an object binds with the functionality at the run time.

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3. Abstraction

This is the core concept of object-oriented programming that allows programmers to be abstract or pick out common features of the objects and procedures. In other words, abstraction means hiding internal details and showing functionality. The primary aim of programmers behind using abstraction is to handle complexity by hiding irrelevant details. It is an extension of encapsulation.

For example, a customer may only use a few selections of tools like petrol, accelerator, clutch, brake, wheel and odometer of a motorcycle. Most of the engineering work remains inconsequential to the customer till it continues to function properly. To make a motorcycle run, a lot of pieces and parts work together. Letting the details and information get exposed to the customers can be a dangerous distraction. This is the concept of abstraction that is useful in many fields of engineering.

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4. Encapsulation

It is the basic concept of object-oriented programming that helps programmers to bind the data and functions together that manipulate the data. Encapsulation of data leads to the OOP concept of data hiding and keeps them safe from outside attention. One of the common examples of encapsulation is a calculator, as anybody using a calculator understands its functions, but may not require an understanding of how it works inside. Encapsulation can help in hiding irrelevant details from the outside world and highlight the necessary characteristics of a class to the users.

Advantages of using object-oriented programming

Here are advantages that programmers may get from object-oriented programming:

Easier troubleshooting

If a problem occurs while working with OOP, the programmers know exactly where to look for it. OOP helps programmers solve the issue without going through each and every line of the entire code. It helps in breaking the program into smaller problems and solving one error at a time. OOP removes the possibility of code duplicity, which helps the IT team to work on multiple projects simultaneously.

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Better productivity

Object-oriented programming languages are easier and usable for doing big projects. It can help programmers in improving the quality of software, productivity and lesser maintenance cost. OOP allows objects to extend and include new attributes. Due to its reusability, modularity and extensibility, object-oriented programming provides better productivity than other programming techniques.

Lower development cost

Programmers can reuse a class multiple times as per their requirements. As programmers can reuse the code, object-oriented programming helps in lowering the development cost. Another reason behind the lower development cost can be putting more effort into object-oriented analysis and design. It promises a better quality of software at a lesser cost of development.

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Easier to maintain

OOP software can be easier to maintain, as its design is modular. In OOP, programmers can update different parts of the system without making large-scale changes. Inheritance helps programmers in eliminating redundant code and extending the use of existing classes. As it is easier to maintain, programmers can save time and easily modify the codes by adding new changes to them.

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Career as an object-oriented programmer

There is a high demand for developers and programmers with expert knowledge and experience in object-oriented programming in the software industry. Many companies hire candidates with programming, analytical, detail-oriented and troubleshooting skills. There are various industries, such as health care, retail, e-commerce and finance industries, that look for talented OOP developers. Some of the examples of OOP languages are Java, C++, Python and Simula. Professionals with a good understanding of these languages can also perform well in their careers as object-oriented programmers.

Different companies may require different levels of qualifications depending on the level of the job role. Many candidates start with a bachelor's degree and later enhance their career by pursuing a master's degree in a relevant field. Candidates with a minimum of three to five years of experience in the field related to object-oriented programming can apply for the role of lead technician, programmer analyst or senior software engineer. The companies may expect the following things from object-oriented programming professionals:

  • regular and consistent towards work

  • excellent communication skills to communicate with project managers and stakeholders

  • authorship of technical documentation and other presentation materials

  • expertise in making documentation of required software

  • knowledge of designing, developing and customising applications

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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