If you pay any attention to the technology world, you’ve undoubtedly heard the terms ‘coding’ and ‘programming’ dozens of times. While it may just seem like meaningless gibberish and colorful text, there’s actually a ton of uses for it.
In this article, we’ll answer the following questions: what is coding, and what is coding used for?
What is Coding?
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Computer coding is the use of computer programming languages to give computers and machines instructions on what actions to perform. Coding is the way humans communicate with machines, and it allows us to create software like programs, operating systems, and mobile apps.
What is Coding Used For?
Simply put, coding is used for communicating with computers. People use coding to give computers and other machines instructions on what actions to perform. Further, we use coding to program the websites, apps, and other technologies we interact with every day.
How Coding Works
Computers are electronic machines made with transistors. Transistors aren’t very complicated; they’re a simple solid-state on and off switch. When you combine tens of thousands of these on/off switches, you get a computer.
It’s a little more complicated than that, but for the sake of explanation we won’t delve deeper into the topic. Binary code (the 1s and 0s you see in the movies) instructs these switches whether to turn on (1) or turn off (0). Each transistor will receive a 1 or a 0, and with thousands working at once, you can do some computing.
Unfortunately, attempting to make an entire computer work by manually typing a number for each transistor would take an incredible amount of time. Instead, we developed high level coding languages to help speed up the process. Instead of addressing individual transistors with programs, we address entire sections of them to perform a specific task.
Programming languages are simply a set of rules defining how code should be written that bring machine language (those ones and zeros) closer to human language. It’s easy to think of it as a language the computer can understand.
We use programming languages to create software programs. A program is just a text file that serves as an instruction manual for a computer. When you launch an application, you’re telling the computer to read the text file and execute the commands therein.
Depending on the processing power of the computer, a system can scan an enormous amount of instructions and follow them amazingly fast. A human couldn’t possibly read through a thousand lines of code and discern which steps to take as quickly as a computer.
Where is Coding Used?
Coding is in almost every aspect of modern life. Every application on a phone, tablet, or computer uses computer languages to run. Other digital systems like smart TVs and calculators use it as well. Virtually every new car uses it to control everything from air conditioning system to fuel injectors, and cities employ computers to operate traffic signals.
Systems that used to be analog are now streamlined using computerized systems. This allows engineers to build a more efficient and less expensive system, structure, and machine.
Why Code is Everywhere
The rapid technological advancement we’ve witnessed over the last few decades has a wide-reaching effect on how everything works. You have to look below the surface to see where the most significant changes took place. Computers replaced millions of working hours and warehouses of analog machines with faster, safer, and more reliable systems.
Since computers run on code, it’s apparent why it can be found everywhere. Computers will continue to replace outdated technology in everything from microwaves to power plants, and the presence of code in our daily lives will increase.
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