What is The Difference Between Coding and Programming?

Semantics can make the difference between being clearly understood and mistaken for saying something else. In the world of programming, mistakes such as these can make a huge difference, like you getting a job and you getting a job and people finding out that you don’t really know the job that you applied for.

This happens because we have many similar terms that describe similar activities, but are actually very different. Take programming and coding. They are similar but are definitely not the same, particularly in languages other than English.

Here are the differences between coding and programming.

Coding – You Code, That’s Right

Coding is the easier of the two, or at least it is thought to be by many people, especially those who are much more familiar with programming languages. Coding is the act of translating human language into language understandable by machines. We don’t do the translating, of course. That is done by the translator, a complex program which takes your input and gives the machine digestible code.

Coding is possible because there was a lot of programming work done to create translators, compilers and other tools which help people use really high level programming languages with easy to understand syntax, to tell the machines what they need to do. 

The difference becomes more obvious…

Programming – The True Artist’s Job

Programming is a much more complex process, where you write instructions to tell the machine what it needs to do. It sounds similar to coding, but it is not. You interact much closer to the machine, literally telling it what to do. This gives a programmer much more control and power. The job is more tedious, but it is much more lucrative and you are able to create more than a coder is able to do.

Programming means making whatever you want, from tiny machines, embedded systems, your own video game, basically doing everything from start to finish on your own, or rather, being able to do so. Programmers do a lot of planning and management, while also being able to write code.

The Differences Between the Two

A coder needs basic understanding of a single programming language and they can start coding, telling the machine what to do by using the said programming language.

A programmer, on the other hand, plans the entire process of designing an application or system, and they need to know multiple programming languages and how to use various debug tools, planning tools and organizing an entire team, usually. A programmer can do a coder’s job, though they often have many more things to do, like management and design.

Which Is the Right Job For You?

That really depends on what you want to learn. In order to become a programmer, you will need lots of time and effort invested into learning multiple languages and learning the process of creating a program, from start to finish. 

As a coder, you should be able to turn one language’s syntax into results, which is also hard, to be fair, but needs much less work. If coding works for you, and you are satisfied with the results and the salary, then that is what you should be doing.

These are the differences between coding and programming and while some of them are obvious, others are more nuanced. However, now you should know which of them is a better career choice for you.

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