Difference Between Coding & Programming?

Last week one of my university juniors asked me this question! That, what’s the difference between Coding & Programming?

Then I thought I should write a post about it and try to explain. I believe it’s very important if you are working Software Industry you should know what you actually are!

Most people think both are the same thing! Not at all! There are differences between the two “worlds”. So let’s explore how professionals use them and try to understand the terms first by understanding what they mean.

What’s Coding?

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Coding is how we communicate with computers. Code tells a computer what actions to take and writing code is like creating a set of instructions.
In order to become a coder, you need to be able to write code in different programming languages such as Java, C, PHP & so on. With this knowledge, you will be able to provide instructions and information to the computer to execute the programs you or your team creates.

Coding involves writing code for creating a software program or any sort of application, website, game.

What’s Programming?

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There are many definitions of what programming is, but the one I prefer is: “Programming is how you get computers to solve problems.” There are two key phrases here which is important:

  • you: without the programmer (you), the computer is useless. It does what you tell it to do.
  • solve problems: computers are tools. They are complex tools, admittedly, but they are not mysterious or magical: they exist to make tasks easier.

In order to come up with a solution or an application, you will need to carry out a few steps:

  • planning the application
  • designing it
  • testing the features
  • deploying it
  • maintaining it after development is finished

So it’s only fair to say that programming not only deals with coding but also implementing algorithms and much more.

Let me try to explain it in a simpler way so you can get a better understanding.

For example, you can program your watch to wake you up at 7 AM. Also, you can program the AC to come on at the temperature that you have chosen. These devices have code on the backend that works based on a set of instructions given by the user.

The Differences Between Coding and Programming in Brief:

  1. Basic Difference:
    Coding is a part of programming that deals with writing code that a machine can translate. Programming is the process of creating a program that follows certain standards and performs a certain task.
  2. Scope:
    Coding is about translating the requirement logic into machine-understandable code. In contrast, programming demands analysis and conceptualization of different aspects of any program and finding solutions to any issues that may occur during the process. It also involves critical parameters such as debugging, compiling, testing, and implementation.
  3. Tools:
    Coding doesn’t require as many software tools since it’s just an act of code translation to machine-readable form. Just a simple text editor like notepad or WordPad is enough. As a coder, you just need to know the details of the syntax of any programming language.
    Programming requires that you perform document reviews and analysis along with coding that requires extra tools. These tools include code analyzing tools, databases, testing frameworks, compilers, assemblers, debuggers, and modeling algorithms. A programmer needs lots of experience to obtain these skills.
  4. Expertise:
    Coders should have basic knowledge of programming.
    Programmers should have experience in creating algorithms, understanding requirements, processing data, modeling problems, and managing projects – these are just some of the practical skills needed.
  5. Outcome:
    While coding, your expected outcome is part of or the whole project. The code acts as a set of instructions given to the computer.
    On the other hand, programming yields the whole application, software products, or a website that’s ready to use.

So, how both Coding and Programming works together?

Let’s explain this using an example to get a better understanding. Imagine we are creating an app to monitor something like our daily routine for us. How will these two different fields work together?

First the programmer will have to:

  • plan the architechture of the app,
  • list down features of the app
  • designing the app

After the programmer is done with these first steps, they hand it over to the coder.
Now the coder will transform the ideas into code. After this process is done, the completed code is given back to the programmer.

Now the programmer will go through the code do some polishing by debugging, checking for errors, and doing tests before publishing the final product.
Now you can see how these two fields have come across together to work on an idea and produce something that’s usable.

Final Words:

Often people confuse programming & coding; hope by now you agree that they are distinctively different after comparing coding vs. programming with a number of factors.

Coding is the primary step and translates the requirements and codes to convert into a machine-readable syntax. Still, programming deals with the executable programs to produce the mechanical outputs following the inputs and requires the knowledge of the complete software development life cycle.

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