Programs

Coding vs. Programming: A Never Ending Debate

Now that we are a part of the digital era, you might have come across the two terms, coding and programming, used interchangeably. It is a common notion that coders and programmers are one and the same thing. On the contrary, there is so much difference between computer programming and coding as per the software development vocabulary. There is also much refinement perceived in computer programming recently as top professionals such as data scientists also need to do programming in their job.

This article is based on clearly explaining the differences in coding vs. programming and how both these activities work collaboratively to develop the apps and sites. We will provide you with all the information for making a distinction between the two phenomena. And above all, you’ll find out how coding plays a crucial role in the overall programming process and can contribute to your career progression. By the end of the article, you will be in a place to make a decision about your career.

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Let’s explore these two and how professionals use them by first answering ‘What is coding?’ and ‘What is programming?

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What is Coding?

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Coding is basically the act of translating codes from human language to a machine-based language. It can also be called a subset of programming since it is the foundation of programming. A coder has to be multilingual and has to write codes in different programming languages such as Java, C, Python, R based on the requirement. With the help of codes, you are providing instructions and information to the computer.

Three common components of most of the programming languages:

  • Code syntax and rules that are to be followed when writing a code
  • Compiler for converting code into the respective machine code
  • Code execution and returning the results

A computer only understands the machine code, written in binary language. A coder’s task is to transform the requirements given to him into a language understandable by the machine. Also, some programmers translate logic into machine-understandable codes with a language. Coding used for implementing the fundamentals of computer programming in one way is also programming. The difference is that programming is used in a broader sense and deals with writing codes in multiple languages.

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The coders work as per the received instructions. After this, the code implementation, debugging, code testing, and quality analysis is executed. These instructions are customarily called “source code.” Coding involves writing codes for creating a software program. Any sort of application, website, or game is a program. Let’s now have a look at the detailed explanation of programming.

What is Programming?

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Programming is a bigger aspect than coding, which is one of the parts of it. It is the process of developing an executable software program that is implemented without any errors. It is the programmer’s job to analyze a problem in the code and provide solutions.

Application creation requires several necessary steps, including planning, designing, testing, deployment, and maintenance. So, programming deals with not only coding but also analysis and implementing algorithms, understanding data structures, and mitigating issues. Altogether, the whole process is called programming

A pseudocode is a good approach for explaining the algorithm to the coder. Coding is an essential part of programming, but a programmer requires a lot more knowledge, experience, and additional skills than coding. 

A programmer creates complex programs, read, and executed by the machine providing a complete set of instructions for computers to perform. It takes years to become a professional programmer. If you can build a program and ensure that it doesn’t have errors, you can consider yourself that you have leveled up in your career as a successful programmer.

There is one simple example that can clearly explain programming. For instance, you can program the clock to wake you up at 6 AM. Also, you can program the AC to work on the temperature that you have chosen with the remote button that has codes at the backend to work on the given set of instructions by the user.

We hope by now, we could make you understand that programming is incomplete without coding but not necessarily. Further, let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.

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Difference between Coding and Programming

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While coding and programming seem to be synonymous at the front, they are altogether different from each other. While coding means writing codes from one language to another, programming means to program a machine with a given set of instructions to run.

A coder’s task is to translate logic into language the machine can understand, whereas a programmer has to do more than just writing the codes. Let’s have a look at some of the differentiating points between these two topics to get a clear picture:

The following points clear your confusion on what is the difference between coding and programming.

1. Basic Difference

A fundamental difference between coder and programmer is that coding is the part of programming, whereas programming is the procedure of creating a program. Coding is a part of programming that deals with converting the language into binary commands for the machine. Programming is the process of creating a program that follows certain standards and performing a certain task.

Coding is known as a chapter in programming, so coding is a subset of programming. Just like each word, character, and sentence makes a book, the lines of code build a program. Programming is all about developing an outline, whereas coding is writing the parts that form the book.

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.

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3. Tools

Coding doesn’t require so many software tools to be accomplished. Just a simple text editor like WordPad or Notepad would suffice. Nowadays, an IDE and debug tools such as Eclipse, Bootstrap, Delphi, ATOM are also used.

Programming requires document review and performing analysis along with coding that requires extra tools. The tools needed in the process are code analysis tools, code generators, databases, testing frameworks, linkers, compilers, code editors, GUI designers, assemblers, debuggers, and performance analysis tools. 

A programmer is expected to know the advanced concepts of Git and Github, Database tools, analytical tools such as Apache Spark, presentation tools, cloud tools since it has a broader scope.

A prominent difference between coder and programmer is what tools they use. You will require some additional tools for programming. Being a programmer, you need to perform planning, document reviews, design formulation, etc.  The tools like debuggers, advanced code editors, assemblers, modeling algorithms, modeling frameworks, analysis tools, and more help you in programming. Moreover, you must have enough experience using these tools and knowledge of how developers use them to build apps.

4. Skills

Coders are needed to have basic knowledge of programming languages. Programming would require creating algorithms, math models, data processing, and data structures know-how. A programmer needs a specialized degree and experience to write logic, analyze, design, and write complex programs. He also applies his imagination and analytical skills for solving specific problems. He is also expected to understand and create complex data structures and algorithms.

The coder’s job is to follow the programmer’s technical specifications to write code and ensure that the final outcome meets the requirements.

Skill is the key difference between coding and programming because without skill both are incomplete. Coders possess fundamental knowledge of a programming language. After you know how to code in a language, it becomes easier to learn other programming languages. Coders’ key purpose is to write the code that informs the machine what to do. Coders primarily focus on the implementation of the programmer’s ideas. Thus, it needs more in-depth knowledge of a program to become a programmer than to become a coder.

On the other hand, programmers require more knowledge to begin with programming. They must know how to develop and work with algorithms, design websites, debug their code, manage projects, and use different programming languages. Programmers are also expected to have analytical skills, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills when they are developing complex systems.

Another difference between coding and programming is that programming demands a higher level of thinking. Programming entails making analytical decisions, modifications based on recent updates, abstract solutions, and expecting problems before they happen. All these need higher-level thinking tasks. Coding needs you to translate the actions into code.

 

5. Outcomes

While coding, the expected outcome is the result of applying a set of instructions given to a computer with a piece of code. On the other hand, after programming, the obtained outcome is a whole application, a software product, or a website.

Skill is the key difference between coding and programming because without skill both are incomplete. Coders possess fundamental knowledge of a programming language. After you know how to code in a language, it becomes easier to learn other programming languages. Coders’ key purpose is to write the code that informs the machine what to do. Coders primarily focus on the implementation of the programmer’s ideas. Thus, it needs more in-depth knowledge of a program to become a programmer than to become a coder.

On the other hand, programmers require more knowledge to begin with programming. They must know how to develop and work with algorithms, design websites, debug their code, manage projects, and use different programming languages. Programmers are also expected to have analytical skills, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills when they are developing complex systems.

Another difference between coding and programming is that programming demands a higher level of thinking. Programming entails making analytical decisions, modifications based on recent updates, abstract solutions, and expecting problems before they happen. All these need higher-level thinking tasks. Coding needs you to translate the actions into code.

Ease of learning:

The difference between programming and coding is prominently based on the ease of learning.  Learning to code is inevitable in the first place. Some coders are self-taught; they learn gradually as they practice coding, going through examples of working codes, and taking inspiration from other coders.

Coding classes both offline and online are available that help students learn in-depth on the coding languages’ structures. These classes familiarize the students with high-level coding and computing. The effectiveness of these classes depends on your ability to grasp them.

Certain programming languages are easier to learn than others. Some coders work in the assembly language which is one of the lowest level languages featuring the most abstract representation. It is designed to directly communicate with the computer hardware. On the other hand, higher-level programming languages like Python help you develop programs that operate on screen, similar to a word processor or web browser.

You may find it easier to learn higher-level languages since their outcomes are easy to interpret and usually their language is more natural. Visual languages, for example, Scratch, impart coding concepts through shapes that fit together. They help beginners to understand the structure and gradually learn professional coding languages. The answer to the question is programming and coding the same? is “No” because they both differ in various aspects and one of them is the ease of learning.

Head-to-Head Comparison between Coding and Programming

Parameters Coding Programming
Definition Translation of natural language into a machine-level program. Development of a fully functioning software.
Scope Translating the requirement logic into machine code. Analysis and conceptualization, debugging, compiling, testing, and implementation.

 

Tools Text-editors such as Wordpad or Notepad, IDE such as Eclipse, Bootstrap. Tools for analysis, code generator, database, data structure, testing frameworks, linkers, compilers, code editors, GUI designers, assemblers, debuggers, performance analysis tools. 
Skills Basic knowledge of programming languages such as C, Java, C#. Analytical skills, writing complex programs, data structures, and algorithms.

 

Viewpoint Trial and error approach with no previous preparations. An orderly approach and attention to minute details.
Outcome A functional code. An application, software, or website
Support Broad community support from Stackoverflow, Github, Toptal, SAP Network depending on coder’s requirements. Broad community support from Stackoverflow, Github, Toptal, SAP Network depending on programmer’s requirements.

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How do coding and programming work together?

By now, you must have got answers on –“what is the difference between coding and programming?”, now you must also know how they work together.

From the above discussion, you can now clearly understand the differences between programming and coding. Now, let’s understand how they work together by taking a real-life scenario where both are required to work together to develop a working app.

Suppose you need to develop an app that can monitor your daily routine or daily expenses. Using the key concepts of programming and coding helps you to develop it. You’ll need a programmer who can plan the app structure (using tools like Trello), list down the key features of the app, what users will use it for, and design the app (using tools like Adobexd or Figma).

After accomplishing these steps, the coder’s role comes into the picture. They accept the ideas the programmer develops and transform them into a machine-readable format by writing the code that performs the specified task. After this, the programmer’s role comes into play. The programmer now assesses the code for errors, runs tests, and ensures that everything is working properly. Moreover, they ensure that the code gives the expected outcome. If all these requirements are fulfilled, the application is ready for deployment and maintenance.

After going through the differences discussed in previous sections, you must have got the answer to “is programming and coding the same?” Knowing their key differences, you can make the most of both these aspects to have the desired outcome. Note that a coder and a programmer are not always two separate persons. They can be the same person able to perform both coding and programming.

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Final Words

Often people confuse coding and programming; we hope by now you totally agree that they are distinctively different after comparing coding vs. programming with a number of factors. Both coding and programming are required for developing any software product.

Coding is the primary step and translates the requirements and codes to convert into a machine-comprehensible 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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What are the limitations of coding?

The process of writing code in a language that both computers and humans can comprehend is known as coding. The basic purpose of coding is to make communication between humans and machines easier. While coding has many benefits, it also has some limitations. As a result of coding, data might be coarsened. It means that some of the data's more delicate subtleties are lost throughout the coding process. Improper coding might possibly obfuscate the meaning of the code during translation. Since there are such a wide range of conceivable perspectives and only a limited number of codes available, value judgments will unavoidably coarsen the data.

What are the limitations of programming?

Programming requires creating an overview and structure for the program's code that complies with specific criteria before the actual code is produced to do the task at hand. Bugs in programs can be bothersome and challenging to get rid of at times. Programming is challenging if you are not a skilled mathematician. There's a lot of thought going on in this room. If you don't have a good memory, remembering the syntax of the programming language will be challenging. If you type slowly, programming something will take a long time. You can type a lot of code in seconds because you know the syntax, but it requires thought and logic to do so. Some programming languages are difficult to learn.

What is the average salary of programmers in India?

Programmers work as salaried employees in a number of industries, developing, designing, debugging, troubleshooting, and maintaining source code for various computer programs. The average salary for a programmer is ₹4,80,735. An entry-level Programmer with less than a year of experience may expect to earn an average total salary of ₹4,82,154, including gratuities, bonuses, and overtime pay. An early career Programmer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total pay of ₹4,06,946. A mid-career Programmer with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total income of ₹5,73,251. An experienced Programmer with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total pay of ₹5,50,000. Employees with 20 years or more experience earn an average of ₹5,28,000 per year in total compensation.

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