What is the Difference Between Computer Programming and Coding?

One of the most frequently asked questions from aspiring computer programmers is, “What is the difference between computer programming and coding?” Those who are unfamiliar with computer programming and what it all entails often use the words programming and coding interchangeably. While they may be very similar, they’re very different. While programmers are very familiar with coding, coders are not always familiar with all aspects of programming. Learn more about the difference between computer programming and coding.

What is Computer Programming?

Computer programming is the process of not just writing and entering codes to create a software program but also implementing the program and ensures it performs all its functions correctly. Computer programmers have the following tasks:

  • Analyzing and executing algorithms
  • Having proficiency in data structures
  • Solving programming problems and issues
  • Troubleshooting computer software programs

Computer programs may also be coders because computer programming involves coding, but programmers also have to be knowledgeable of all aspects of the computer software creation. They determine the necessary code, enter the code and monitor it for potential issues and bugs that must be fixed. In addition to having strong analytical and problem-solving skills, programmers must also be technically minded.

What is Coding?

Coding is a very simple process that involves creating codes that can be used in various programming languages. It’s the main method used to initiate communication between humans and computers. Coding involves entering lines of codes without worrying about much beyond the actual codes. They are programmers to a certain degree but have much less knowledge of programming.

A coder is responsible for a certain part of an application, but the programmer is the one that implements the codes and enters a language that the computer understands. A good example is in a book you might read. While programming includes the entire book, coding only includes one chapter.

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Main Differences

As determined, coding and programming are two similar yet very different things. About their only similarity is that they are both used in the creation and implementation of a computer software program. It’s more difficult to become a programmer than it is to become a coder. An individual can take online courses to learn simple coding terminology and create a simple application, but it takes much more education to learn computer programming.

To become a highly qualified computer programmer requires a degree and several years of work experience, especially with the constantly changing programming languages. Programmers create more codes and symbols than coders. Coders may write the codes necessary for a program, but programmers are the ones put the codes to work and make them work. Programmers must be good analyzers, complex thinkers and must have the ability and knowledge to recognize problems before they occur.

The programmer is also the individual who maintains, troubleshoots and repairs programming issues and problems. If a problem does occur, the programmer uses codes to express his or her thoughts on how to solve the problem.

Computer programmers earn average annual wages of $89,580 as of a 2018 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Knowing the difference between computer programming and coding can be important for the candidate if he or she wishes to work as a computer programmer, computer coder or some similar career in the field of computer science.