The generation today cannot imagine its life without software programmes, apps or websites. The secret of this massive development in the field of technology lies in some lines of code! Someone who has just started to learn to code would find those lines like a puzzle! If you are wondering what is computer coding or have got baffled looking at computer programmes, you must read this entire article.
In simple language, computer coding or programming is the process of creating instructions for computers using programming languages that a machine can understand. A computer programme is a sequence of instructions, ranging from two-line code to millions of lines, written to specify tasks to computers. There are so many software programmes or technologies we interact with every day and a Computer programme is the foundation of most of them, if not all!
What is Coding Used For?
Coding is used to program websites, apps and many other present-day tools. Today, almost every field including medical, agriculture, defence, entertainment, etc. uses computer coding. Following are some of the usage of computer programming:
Computer programs are used for graphic designing, website development, building apps, etc.
Special effects in movies and videos are added with the help of coding.
Game Development and visual effects (VFX)
Computer programs are used to design communication media. SMS, Chat, Voice Communication, social media platforms, etc. are a few examples.
There are many software programs like MS Office tools, Calculator, etc. and web browsers like Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc. installed in computers. All these are built using programming languages or codes.
How Coding Works?
If you are an intuitive kid who loves computers or electronic gadgets, you must already be familiar with coding meaning. You must have heard the terms coding and programming many times. Computers are electronic devices that are made of transistors. A computer cannot understand our language, the language through which we communicate with each other. As computers are made with thousands of transistors (solid - state on/off switch), it can only understand binary instructions i.e. On/Off (represented by 0s and 1s).
We need a special set of instructions or simply put, codes to communicate with computers. Computers convert the set of codes written by programmers called Source Code (high - level programming language) into Assembly language (low - level programming language) with the help of a compiler or an interpreter. This assembly language is further translated into Machine Code (Binary code with 0s and 1s). After compilation and execution of software programmes, the output is displayed to the user within a fraction of seconds. This real-time code interpretation makes computers one of the most advanced and fastest devices humans ever created.
Computer Coding for Beginners
While today’s generation is highly tech-savvy, coding scares many of them. Coding may appear all Greek to someone who has never coded before. However, it is way easier than one would envisage. Computers are one of the most advanced inventions of humankind. Had humans not learnt how to code, computers would merely be a piece of junk! It is we, humans, who first built a device like computers and then made it communicate through a set of instructions. In this way, our brains are much more complex than artificially designed systems to understand and comprehend human languages. Computers can’t even come close to that. So, to instruct them to perform large operations which is not feasible to do manually, we need to provide computer instructions in the form of binary codes.
A question might arise here. Why can't we write in simple English instead of learning any specific language? The answer is simple! Coding follows rules or you can say a defined set of instructions which can be easily decoded into machine language. The language in which we talk may have many terms which could be foreign for a computer. For example, suppose you want to add certain numbers. You write, please add 1 and 6. Someone else might write how much is 1+6. Some can write the same thing in their native language. This difference in the way we instruct can be confusing for a system to comprehend. This is why programming languages were designed. These are a set of rules which defines how to write code.
Let's make this simpler for you to understand! To ask our devices to perform a certain function as simple as adding two numbers to as complicated as facial recognition, we need to enter some commonly defined set of commands in a language that we all know, i.e. coding languages. Now, your compilers and interpreters which are programs or software themselves will convert them to machine-readable language. Now the machine will perform the operation for us and produce results which we can understand; all this in seconds. It is fascinating to know that we have programs translating programs for a machine that can only understand binary. Isn’t it?
There is much more to coding and learning programmes that you will know as and when you start to code.
Popular Coding Languages
People started to code in the late 1950s when the first few coding languages including FORTRAN and COBOL were introduced. In the past few years, software programming has taken a notch higher with the development of numerous coding languages. Today, we have over 100 popular programming languages. Some of the highly used coding languages are:
Java: Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Released in 1995, Java runs on various platforms including Windows, Mac OS, etc. Java is simple, secure, platform-independent, robust, etc. These features make the programming language most widely used in the world.
C: C Programming is a procedural programming language developed by Dennis M. Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1972 to design the UNIX Operating System. C is a structured programming language used for general-purpose programming.
Python: Python was created by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991. Python is an object-oriented scripting language. It is a high level and interactive language. Python is mainly used in Machine learning and AI tools.
PHP: PHP is a server scripting language used for designing dynamic and interactive web pages. It is the most widely used for web development. It was created by Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994.
C#: Developed by Microsoft, C-Sharp is a programming language that runs on .NET framework. It is mostly used to develop web apps, desktop apps, mobile apps, games, etc.
Perl: Perl is a programming language developed by Larry Wall. PERL stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language. It was developed for text processing and runs on a variety of platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, UNIX versions, etc.
Ruby: Ruby is a dynamic programming language which has a natural syntax, and is easy to read and write. It was developed in Japan by Yukihiro Matsumoto to focus on simplicity and productivity.
Coding vs Programming: What is the Difference?
In simple terms, coding means to write code or a set of instructions which guides your computer or any electronic device to perform a task. A coder is someone who translates a human language into well-defined and compilable texts. Coding refers to the act of writing code whereas programming is a wider term which is generally associated with all the aspects of creating applications. However, the terms coding and programming are used interchangeably. When someone works as a programmer, they have to juggle tasks between coding, testing, debugging, etc. intending to produce a quality software product. Coding is a general term for writing machine-readable codes. Anyone can learn how to code and become a coder. However, to become a programmer, one needs proper technical skills and qualifications.
How to Learn to Code
Today, there are limitless options from where one can learn how to code. However, one must be truly interested in learning coding skills. If you want to learn how to communicate with computers by writing your own set of instructions, you must learn the basics of any programming language like C, Python, etc. Learning how to code does not mean learning only syntaxes of a language, but working on developing logical and mathematical skills. There is no shortcut to becoming a successful coder. Coding can be thought of as a creative skill which comes with practice. The more you practice, the better your coding skills will become.
There are many dedicated platforms that offer coding tutorials which include either textual, audio or video-based online classes. One can pick up programming lessons from many coding sites and online coding websites. There are many ed-tech companies offering training by expert coders who teach from the scratch. One such platform is Vedantu Super coders that has launched its coding classes for kids.
What Kinds of Coders are There?
Programming is an umbrella term which includes different types. The different types of programmers are as follows:
System Programmers: The one who installs, customizes and maintains the operating system.
Game Programmers: The one who develops codebases for video games or related software.
Application Programmers: They are responsible for designing and testing program logic and coding programs for various applications.
A code developer can be broadly classified into frontend and backend developers. Back end developers are responsible for writing code for backend functionalities such as data integration, modelling, etc. Whereas, a frontend developer designs the User Interface through which users interact with the software or program.
Skills Necessary to Learn Coding
The revolution in the field of Information Technology has made coding a new literacy. Knowledge of coding has become a basic job requirement in IT industries. Despite the demand, not many know who to code properly. Contrary to what many beginners assume, coding is really fun and easy to learn. One must come out of the notion that coding can be done by mugging up syntaxes. Before you start your first communication with computers through code, you need to possess the following basic skills:
Logic: One must have a logical mind in order to solve a problem or optimize code. Coding demands a lot of logical abilities and thinking skills. This can be achieved with practice. The more you practice and learn about data structures, the stronger your logical skills will be.
Problem - Solving Skills: This is one of the most important skills one need to possess to become a successful programmer. Programming is not just about learning how to code but how to solve a problem using technology.
Proficiency with Programming Languages: One needs to have strong programming knowledge and must be thorough with at least one programming language.
Creativity: It requires creativity to solve any problem. As Coding requires problem - solving skills, creativity naturally becomes a necessary skill for coding.
Patience: Programming is difficult and time-consuming. Sometimes you might have so many bugs that are difficult to solve. Also, it is an ever-learning process. So, you must have patience as it is a necessary skill while programming.
Steve Jobs said, “Everyone should know how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” Learning how to code not only paved the way for a rewarding career but make your brain sharper, smarter and more intuitive.