What Is Object-Oriented Programming (Definition and Tips)

Updated March 21, 2023

Computer programming skills are in high demand in today's technology-driven culture. Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a model for computer programming that focuses software design on data, or objects, rather than functions and logic. Learning what object-oriented programming is can help you decide if you want to learn this skill to improve your career prospects. In this article, we define object-oriented programming, highlight the four basics of this kind of programming, discuss general computer programming skills and how to improve them.

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What is object-oriented programming?

The question, "What is object-oriented programming?", is one that you may have encountered at some point in your career as a programmer. Object-oriented programming organizes a collection of data properties and associated functions or methods under the term, "object." Usually, OOP languages are class-based, which implies that a class specifies the data characteristics and functionalities of objects, which are instances of the class. Java, Python, and C++ are all popular class-based OOP languages. Numerous separate objects may be instantiated—or represented—as members of the same class and interact in complicated ways.

An example can be a class that represents an individual. The individual class may have properties that indicate information about the individual, such as their age, name, and height. Additionally, the class definition may include functions such as "sayMyName," which can print that person's name to the screen. You can create a family by instantiating individual person objects from the class for each family member. Each individual object may have unique data properties because each individual is unique.

The four basics of object-oriented programming

Encapsulation, abstraction, inheritance, and polymorphism are the four fundamental ideas of object-oriented programming. Even if these elements appear to be rather complicated, knowing how they function in general can help you grasp the fundamentals of an OOP computer program. The following sections discuss these four fundamental concepts and what they involve:

1. Encapsulation

The term "encapsulate" refers to the act of enclosing something. The OOP's encapsulation concept works by building a protective barrier around the information contained within a class and separating it from the rest of the code.

In OOP, you encapsulate by grouping together the data and the methods that operate on it into a single unit called a class. So, you may conceal private details about a class from the outside world and disclose just the functionality required for communicating with it. When a class prevents calling code from directly accessing its private data, you can assume that you encapsulated it well.

2. Abstraction

Usually, it's simpler to conceptualize and build a program when the interface of a class is separate from its implementation and the interface is the emphasis. This is similar to considering a system such as a "black box," where it is unnecessary to grasp its intricate inner workings to benefit from its use.

You can call this process "abstraction" in OOP if you are abstracting away the class's implementation details and exposing a clean and easy-to-use interface via the class' member methods. When used properly, abstraction helps isolate the impact of code changes, ensuring that if something goes wrong, the change affects just the implementation details of a class, not the external code. The concept of abstraction can be especially useful in many areas of engineering and can also apply to object-oriented programming.

3. Inheritance

Almost all object-oriented languages that enable classes support the concept of "inheritance." It is possible to classify classes hierarchically, with each class having one or more parent or child classes. If a class has a parent class, you can refer to it as derived or inherited from the parent class. You can also call this relationship as an "IS-A" relationship. The child class “IS-A” type of the parent class. So when a class inherits from another, it inherits a large amount of the functionality and attributes of the parent class and may be modified to accommodate more code and data.

An advantage of inheritance is that it frequently results in efficient code reuse since the functions of a parent class don't require it to be redefined in any of its child classes. Consider two classes: the superclass, or parent class, and the subclass, or child class. The child class can inherit the parent class's attributes, potentially altering or expanding its behaviour. Programmers that use inheritance organize these classes into what you can refer to as an "IS-A" relationship.

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4. Polymorphism

Polymorphism enables the consistent handling of classes in an OOP hierarchy. As a result, calling code only has to be written to handle objects at the hierarchy's root, and you can handle each object created by any child class in the hierarchy similarly.

Since derived objects have the same interface as their parents, the calling code can access any function in the interface of that class. At runtime, the appropriate function can be called based on the kind of object given, potentially resulting in inconsistent behaviour.

General computer programming skills

As with many other professions, it's possible to classify computer programmer abilities as soft or hard skills. "Hard talents" relate to quantifiable abilities that are acquired via effort or study over time. Soft skills refer to the talents that enable people to fit into a work setting and collaborate well with others. The following are some of the most critical talents a computer programmer can possess:

Expertise in programming languages

Programming languages such as SQL, Java, C++, or Python are important for writing code. While it may not be necessary for programmers are to be fluent in every programming language available, it can be helpful to be skilled in at least two to improve job and career options. Generally, programmers choose a field of expertise and then study the programming language that is most suited to that field.


Coding is the process of creating useful tools and programs by writing a script or command in a programming language. Coding is the foundation of the modern digital age, as it maintains the functionality of our smartphones, websites, computers, and other modern advancements.

As a result, businesses are always on the lookout for programmers capable of writing error-free code that meets customer requirements.

Learning concepts and applying them to new situations

Computer programming is fundamentally about problem-solving. The capacity to grasp concepts and adapt them to new situations is a necessary skill for programmers. This is particularly helpful for designing cascading style sheets (CSS), which apply styles to the top-level components of a web page and then cascade to the page's other elements.


Although programmers spend most of their time alone, they also attend meetings, exchange emails, and coordinate their actions with supervisors and team members. Numerous computer software includes enormous quantities of data, and several individuals regularly collaborate to complete various aspects of the programming and ensure that the completed product runs properly. The following are some examples of communication abilities that would benefit computer programmers:

  • Confidence

  • The ability to give and receive useful feedback

  • Respect for other team members

  • Quality control

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Conflict resolution

  • Responsiveness

  • Leadership

  • The ability to understand nonverbal cues such as body language

  • Friendliness

  • Active listening

  • An adaptive communication style


Multitasking is the process of performing multiple tasks concurrently. For instance, while working on a project, another software issue may arise that requires your attention. Organizations are constantly on the search for programmers who are capable of responding to these situations and delivering results. As a result, it is important for you to be capable of multitasking. When multitasking, you may typically want to integrate additional soft skills, such as patience under pressure, time management, communication, and organizational abilities.

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Excellent problem-solving skills

Strong problem-solving skills refer to the capacity to find a solution to a specific issue. Organizations realize that challenges during the process of performing a task are unavoidable, and hence require programmers capable of resolving them. As a computer programmer, you're responsible for assessing circumstances, identifying problems, and resolving them. Additional soft skills such as critical thinking, analytical thinking and decision making may also be necessary.

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Tips to improving your skills as a programmer

Here are some ways to improve your skills as a programmer:

  • Attend seminars and training sessions: Try to attend seminars and courses that may assist you in developing your technical abilities. You can choose between paid and free options.

  • Seek a mentor: You can seek mentorship from someone with greater experience and expertise in programming. They can provide you with insight into what you can do to increase your chances of having a great career.

  • Solicit helpful feedback: It's important to want to enhance your abilities by asking for feedback. This can assist you in identifying areas that need improvement.

  • Expand your skillset: Try to commit yourself to acquire more knowledge. Discover innovative ways to improve your knowledge of a skill and identify new skills in your sector.

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