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Coding as a Career

Danielle Ruf - July 16, 2020

Deciding to code is an excellent choice! Between the up-and-coming software that will shape the future of technology and maintaining servers / security measures for existing websites, there are endless opportunities for you to find your niche!

As you launch yourself into this process (or perhaps you’re simply looking to change up your current coding routine), you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions.

  1. What is it you hope to do with your new skillset?
  2. Are you hoping to learn how to create a sleek front end experience?
  3. Are you working towards an intricate and functional back end?
  4. Have you considered becoming a software engineer ?

These questions will steer your choices regarding what programming languages to learn, what text editors to use, and how much time you’ll need to learn.

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Since you’re reading this post, you probably already have an idea of your direction and programming language. Now, it’s time to narrow down the best text editor. There are a multitude out there, and it can be hard to choose just a couple that will suit your needs. Career Karma has quite a few articles comparing other text editors for you to consider as well, but let’s go ahead and take a look at Visual Studio Code vs Atom and see what these two text editors have to offer.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code allows for an organized study space.

Microsoft developed Visual Studio Code (VSCode) back in 2015 using Electron. It has since become an amazing source code editor that allows users on many different platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows) to edit programs written in various languages, such as Java, Node, and C++.

VSCode is not an integrated development environment (IDE), but it does actually have debugging capabilities that allow it to function similarly to an IDE. That said, Visual Studio Code doesn’t just offer debugging. It also has syntax highlighting, code completion, and code refactoring (a process that reduces the complexity in nonfunctional lines of code).

Overall, Visual Studio Code offers its users an amazing coding experience for free, and it’s open source, so extensions and plugins are bountiful.


Atom makes the coding experience entirely yours.

GitHub developed the text editor Atom in 2014 using Electron. Although it is, out of the box, a text editor, Atom is fully customizable with plugins. There are some plugins that allow Atom to function as an IDE with debugging and compiling abilities. This makes Atom a great text editor for web development, especially considering it was made by Github. The Git integration is stellar!

Atom boasts a high functioning sidebar that helps its users code faster with quick access to plugins, packages, and extensions. The program is free and open source with over 60 core contributors, so there are always new plugins and extensions in the works. And, Atom is cross platform, so it can work on Mac, Linux, and Windows OS.

Similarities between Atom and Visual Studio Code

Let’s compare Atom to Visual Studio Code.

Both Atom and Visual Studio Code were made using Electron, a strong framework built by GitHub. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft developed Visual Studio Code, and this is actually a crossover point with Atom. Atom was made by Github, but Microsoft bought Github in 2018 , so now both are Microsoft products.

Atom and VSCode are fully functional text editors before you customize them to your skill set and coding style. What’s more, both rely on plugins and extensions to achieve optimal efficiency for your working experience. Luckily, since they’re both open source, their libraries are extensive and consistently growing!

Differences between Atom and Visual Studio Code

Let’s contrast Atom and Visual Studio Code.

While Atom and Visual Studio Code are owned by the same company (Microsoft) and serve the same purpose, there are some important differences to note. First and foremost, let’s talk about speed. Now, Electron has consistent complaints that it runs slowly and starts up slowly, too. This is particularly true when it comes to working with Atom.

Atom is fairly loaded with features before you even start adding extensions and plugins to the program yourself. This makes for a longer startup time (compared to Visual Studio Code). Atom becomes even more sluggish as you add extensions and plugins. The preloaded features do, however, make Atom higher functioning from the start compared to VSCode.

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Some argue that Microsoft will neglect Atom since it owns both but personally developed Visual Studio Code. However, both editors have a strong community behind them, and open source coding allows for development even without major support from the company that owns them.

Atom brags that it is a “hackable” program . This means that, based on the plugins you choose, you can turn the app into anything you want and make the experience completely different from what you encounter upon first installation.

Visual Studio Code, however, is more powerful than Atom. Although themes and extensions don’t make as dramatic of a difference in VSCode as they do in Atom, Visual Studio Code handles the extensions more efficiently for an overall faster experience.

VS Code vs. Atom: Which to Choose?

What’s the best text editor for you?

It can be difficult to decide which text editor to choose. Do you want full customization? What about speed? How much are you looking to do with your code? You’re going to need to find a balance between your style of coding and how fast you need your software to run.

Atom is a slower program designed to be a high-functioning piece of software. What it sacrifices in speed it makes up for in customizability. You can customize your experience with Atom to a significant degree, and it can be a great tool as you find your coding style.

However, if speed is what you’re looking for, Visual Studio Code offers a more powerful experience with nearly as much customizability as Atom. Unlike Atom, Microsoft actually developed Visual Studio Code. This means that if Microsoft, which owns both Visual Studio Code and Atom, decides to drop support for one of these text editors, Visual Studio Code has a greater chance of maintaining Microsoft’s support.

Whichever of the two you choose, the folks here at Career Karma are more than excited to welcome you into the great world of coding! We can help you select the languages, education, and text editors you need to achieve your goals!

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Danielle Ruf

About the author: Danielle Ruf is a writer, microblade artist, and studying esthetician located in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, cooking, or reading. A connoisseur of coffee, you’ll often find her in local coffee shops on the hunt for the best coffee (and WiFi) in town.

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