Like any other field, coding has a layer of jargon which can be difficult for beginner’s to follow. Two of the more important and ambiguous terms are ‘coding’ and ‘programming.’ Today, Career Karma is going to demystify these words so you can be confident that you’re correctly following the discussion.
What Is Coding?
Coding means writing code–taking ideas in your brain and giving them form in a set of instructions a computer can follow. You can be working in any sort of language, on any sort of problem, in any sort of environment, and be coding.
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Some may disagree, but I’d go as far as to say that you can ‘code’ with a pen and paper. I often sketch ideas and follow along with books this way.
What Is Programming?
Programming is using programming languages to write computer programs. These are larger blocks of code responsible for a task or a set of tasks. Programs may involve dozens or hundreds of separate individual code files, might interface with other programs, databases, or APIs, and might require large teams of coders to complete.
How Are They Different?
I view coding as being more limited in scope than programming. If coding is like stringing a couple of notes together, programming is writing a song.
When you type print(“hello world”) into your computer in the right place your machine will dutifully print hello world to the screen. This is an example of coding, but not programming. Programs are made up of lots and lots of individual pieces of code.
As with writing a song, you have a lot more to consider when you’re planning for the big picture. Ten notes which sound good together might not fit well when you’re also considering what the drums and vocals will be doing.
You can’t become a programmer without being a coder first; as you transition into being a programmer, you’ll need to think longer-range about how your code will work as a whole, how it will respond to new inputs, how it will integrate into an ecosystem.
If you’re a coder or a programmer, we’d love to get your views on the distinctions between the two!
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