Coding vs programming: what’s the difference?


In the 21st century, “learning to code” has become something of a mantra for a certain type of person. And yes, for many people, coding is a great first or even second career choice after attending universities, coding bootcamps, or one of the best online coding courses. But the related terms you see online are confusing. What is coding versus programming or even terms like software engineering?

The differences are great and the terms are often confused. One reason is a weird mix of audiences talking about coding: on the one hand, people who are lifelong coders who know their terms inside and out without explanation; and on the other hand people who don’t know the difference yet and are just trying their best.

So let’s clarify this difference. In the following sections, you will learn what coding is, what programming is, and the difference between coding and programming. We’ve also put together a guide to the best laptops for coding, should you decide to take it up as a hobby or a career.

To put it simply, if you were a writer, coding would be the mechanics of spelling words, choosing the right vocabulary, and creating readable sentences. Programming, and the related field of software engineering, is how you make sure your sentences work together, that the final essay makes sense, that you turn it in on time, and that the person who assigned it will be satisfied with the result.

If that sounds like a big job, it really is! Especially in small studios where individual people sometimes do all these tasks. But knowing the difference between coding and programming can help you learn to code and develop the skills needed to take on more responsibility.

If your kids have started to take an interest in computers and you want to give them a gateway into the world of coding and programming, check out our guide to the best coding toys for kids.

What is the difference between coding and programming?

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The terms coding and programming are often used interchangeably by people who don’t know better, because sometimes their tasks can look and sound similar. But the differences are stark and easy to sum up. Coding refers to the task of writing code, or a specifically defined technical language, so that the code is understood by the computer or system. Coders are given parameters and they spend their time typing in the right information.

On the other hand, programming is a broader category of work which includes coding as a part. Programmers are responsible for producing, well, programs. Their job may include integrating different parts of larger software, understanding and managing a team’s plan for a project, overseeing testing and feedback before the software is released, and much more. A coder might just hand over a document containing their piece of code, while a programmer might be the one who puts that piece of code into a much larger document.

What is Coding?

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Coding is the term we use to refer to writing a language specifically designed for computer hardware. Over decades of designing and using computers, a lot types of code emerged as an intermediary between humans and their computers. In the same way that people speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, etc., computer systems also use many different languages.

Code is usually written in short sections that go line by line, so the results usually look more like poetry at a glance than written paragraphs. Part of this is to make it easier to find specific lines if something goes wrong with the code. Each line tells the computer something to do, such as storing a variable or displaying some text. Coders don’t always have to work on programs either. People working on websites, for example, may only do what’s called markup, which means they write code that changes how things look or how information flows through pages. website.

What is programming?

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Programming is the umbrella term for a broad discipline that covers a variety of jobs. A program is a complete, usually well-organized collection of code, art assets, sounds, etc., that work together for a purpose. Programmers often start before day-to-day coders because they can help design what the program will actually do by creating flowcharts and outlines. They can also estimate the costs of a project based on the amount of coding needed. These higher level organizational tasks are known as software engineering.

Programmers can also help after the program is finished and installed by performing maintenance. In a small organization like an indie game studio, the same person might be both coder and programmer, responsible for writing all the details of the code itself as well as helping with budgeting, designing program scope, and codebase testing and maintenance later. Many professional coders do a lot of programming work on their own projects and in their work. Some coders are programmers and some programmers are software engineers. Depending on the location and the project, each of these people can sometimes end up writing code.

Which is easier to learn: coding or programming?

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Coding and programming may be different, but coding is where both groups start. This means learning to code should usually come first. Some coders are self-learning, which means they learn over time by working on their own, researching things, checking working code examples for inspiration, and more.

There are also coding courses online and at universities, where students are likely to learn about the structures of coding languages ​​as well as some of the more abstract and high-level ideas about coding and coding. computer science. Many people learn good coding techniques one of these ways, it just depends on what kind of learner you are.

There are also languages ​​that are easier to learn than others. Some coders work in assembler, which is one of the lowest level languages ​​with the most abstract notation. This language is designed to communicate almost directly with computer hardware. Compare that to Python or even Java, which are higher-level languages ​​designed for people to create programs that run on screen, just like your web browser or word processor.

It can be easier to learn higher level languages ​​because their results are so easy to see and their language is generally more natural. Now, there are also visual languages, like Scratch, that teach coding concepts using interlocking shapes. These can help beginners understand the structure and transition to professional coding languages.


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