Is Assembly Language Hard?

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Is Assembly Language Hard?

As a programmer, what were the difficulties you found in assembly language programming? It’s a question that programmers get now and then. Some people think assembly language is impossible to learn. If you’re asking the same question, you’re in the right place.

If you’re writing in C++ language, learning assembly language is a must. If you’re writing in other languages, it won’t make a significant difference. So, if you already know C++, the assembly language won’t be challenging for you. If you have other reasons, assembly language is as hard as you make it.

Assembly is a human-readable machine language. It’s the intermediate language between your C compiler and your machine. Through assemblers, assembly translates human language to computer language.

Beyond this Wikipedia-like definition of assembly language, here’s what you need to know about it.

It Doesn’t Take Long To Learn Assembly, Only If…

How long does it take to learn Assembly? It takes around six months to learn and master the basics of assembly language.

Assembly is more demanding than Java and Python because you need to know how computers work to write assembly. It’s also full of details that you can’t ignore.

Knowledge of C++ will make assembly languages easier. On its own, assembly is more complex to learn than C++.

Assembly is a low-level programming language, which means you’ll be working coding for computer hardware. Apart from instruction mnemonics and labels, it’s as close as you can get to talking in machine language.

It might be confusing since you don’t even get abstractions that help you visualize how the computer behaves. And that’s what makes it a non-beginner computer programming language to learn.

Computers follow a few basic commands that make everything possible. When you master communicating these commands to a computer, you can get it to do everything it can do.

While these commands have several variations, they’re still within grasp, and you can learn them quickly.

Assembly language isn’t magic. If anything, it’s a logical concept that you can understand by practicing. It may look intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, you may enjoy learning it.

Assembly language takes six months to learn. Whether as a personal project or part of an educational program.

The Reason To Learn Assembly Language In 2021

If you’re thinking that learning JavaScript, Ruby, or Swift is less demanding than assembly, you’re right. If you believe that it fell out of favor, you’re right.

In fact, the need for assembly programmers isn’t that high in the age of virtual reality. But it still exists.

And computer science schools still teach assembly. So, why bother?

A few reasons why you shouldn’t give up on assembly:

  • It gets you under the hood and teaches you about computer architecture.
  • It improves your logical thinking, increases your awareness, and makes you a better software developer.
  • It’ll help you write better code in other computer programming languages.
  • It’ll build your character as a software developer, make you think like a programmer, and develop your decision-making skills.
  • It’s the stepping stone to learning machine learning.

Yes, you won’t be using much assembly in a real-life career, but you’re bound to need it at some point.

In some contexts, learning assembly language won’t help you pass the educational aspects of learning to compute.

Most of the time, you won’t need assembly language when you’re primarily coding in high-level programming languages.

It’s still worth it because the deeper you go, the more you develop the skills to write clean code in any programming language.

The Hardest Part Of Assembly Language

Since assembly is a low-level computer programming language, it deals directly with computer components. Namely, assembly deals with the Central Processing Unit or CPU.

The thing is, every CPU has its assembly language. A CPU in a drone has a different assembly language than a CPU in a laptop. You have many other CPUs on thousands of devices.

And you may need to learn every CPU language you’re working with to write in that language.

The syntax and commands are CPU-specific, and you may need to learn the instructions that are custom for each particular CPU.

Also, assembly code isn’t portable, which means each CPU comes with its assembly language.

It’s incredibly arduous to keep on top of all those assembly codes with every new CPU you find.

For that reason, you may have to dig deeper into the fundamental concepts of computing operation. On the bright side, this will make you a formidable programmer.

If that doesn’t sound hard enough, wait until you work on compilers.

The other burdensome part of assembly language is the compilers. Compilers translate C and C++ codes into assembly language.

When you’re working on a C or C++ compiler that compiles high-level language into assembly language, you may need a deep understanding of how assembly language works.

Any slight mistake in compiling will lead to poor CPU performance. Debugging the compiler and finding the wrong code could be a near-impossible endeavor without the proper assembly language knowledge.

You may need to look at what the compiler is producing and fix it. Sometimes, it’s identical to looking for a needle in a haystack.

Compilers are tricky. And they’re like a magical lamp genie. If you’re not super specific about what you want them to do, you’ll get a messy code.

Overall, writing clean assembly code requires you to learn all about C, C++, and compilers. They come with the territory.


Did you know that Kathleen Booth was the inventor of the first assembly language? She was also the first person to research neural networks.

In 1947, machine learning wasn’t even on the radar. It was more like science fiction.

Programming languages weren’t a thing because they didn’t have a term for it. At least, now how you understand them today.

If you ever think that learning assembly language is backbreaking, just remember those pioneers who had to squeeze their minds to make things easier for you today.

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