A person considering a career in information technology or computer science might want to know what computer programming is. People outside of this college major or career path may also be curious to know just what computer programming is, especially if they enjoy the software and technology that this profession makes possible. Understanding what computer programming is could help a person decide if this is the right career path for their aptitudes and skills.
Written Instructions for Computers
In its essence, computer programming is the creation of written instructions for computers. There is a multitude of computer programming languages, and each of them features different syntax, functionality and compatibility. Some programming languages are designed to directly give instructions to the hardware, such as telling a fan to turn on and activating the sound card or sending visual information to a monitor. Other programming languages are designed to create an operating system, user interface, graphics, websites, applications, software and cloud-based systems.
Development of Operating Systems
Operating systems are what support the basic functioning of a computer’s hardware. Computer programmers write all of those instructions. They define the functions design the operating system, construct it, test it and implement the instructions. As the programmer implements the instructions, they also test them in order to make sure that they work as desired and are free of errors. When a problem is discovered, such as a security flaw that would make it possible for a hacker to gain unauthorized access to an operating system or any other part of a computer, programmers design and implement operating system patches or fixes. This allows them to close the security gap.
Creation of Software
According to Balance Careers, computer programming is often done in concert with software development. When a software developer designs a piece of software, they give the plans to the computer programmer. The programmer then writes the set of instructions in order to bring the idea for the design into a format that a computer is able to understand and execute. Computer programming also includes debugging software when a problem is discovered. Programmers may need to create updates in order to fix security flaws or issues that cause the software to crash or behave in an unwanted or unexpected way.
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Innovation of Apps
Computer programming also involves the innovation of applications for computers. Programmers might add functionality to existing apps or software or build an entirely new application. The programmers must often create multiple sets of instructions in order to support the functioning of the app in different operating systems and on different types of devices. For example, they might create a fitness app that is designed for use on an iPhone and on an Android device, taking into account that the iOS may need to be updated, which could affect their application.
Understanding what programming of computers is all about could help a person decide if they would like to earn a degree in this field of expertise. A person may also be able to use this answer in order to determine if becoming a computer programmer could be an ideal profession. Knowing the answer to, “What is computer programming?” is also important for deciding where to go to college and how to choose a major.