Coding vs Programming: What Is the Difference?
In every profession, some terms appear the same to an outsider, but to those who work in that industry, even similar roles do not have the same job description and this also applies to the software development industry.
In this industry, coding and programming are the words that appear to have the same meaning, and the argument concerning their relationship and job description has been going on for years. From the last decade, the software development industry has grown at such a fast rate, which has encouraged many young people to start learning the skills that will qualify them to work in the software industry, but even these students get confused about coding and programming. They can hardly tell if the job they like requires them to learn coding, project management, or programming languages – this is really how far the coding vs programming debate has gone.
It may not matter to outsiders, but for the people who are involved with software development, coding vs programming is a necessary comparison that will finally put a rest to the argument that always comes up when both terms are mentioned.
Is coding the same as programming?
Coding is not the same as programming and this can be seen in the way different IT workers go about their duties. The skills needed to fill these job descriptions are not the same, which is why everyone in the software development industry, including those who don’t directly carry out these roles, should understand the details of coding vs programming.
In this industry, people only need basic knowledge of software development to be able to code and work effectively in that area. When compared to programming, coding is just one part. Unlike coding which practically revolves around writing codes, programming is a more complex part of software development.
Coding vs programming is not hard to understand because there are significant differences between the two. The basic knowledge that happens to be sufficient for someone to qualify as a coder is not nearly enough to make someone a good programmer.
What does a coder do?
The computer does not understand human language, it only works with ones and zeros (binary language or machine code). But for people to be able to use a computer and all its features optimally, there has to be a way to convert human language into binary language and vice versa – this is where the job of a coder comes in.
What does a programmer do?
When coding and programming are being compared, it is programming that will always have a higher relevance. This is because despite how valuable coding is, programming is considered to be the most important part of software development. Since software development mainly entails creating and managing software products, coding alone is not enough to achieve the desired results.
Programming deals with everything that involves coding and software development. Before a product can be good enough for people to use, it has to pass through a lot of steps, and writing code is just one of those steps while programming is the entire process.
A programmer has to plan the entire production and design process, apply coding skills with programming languages, test the outcome, and even maintain the product after it has been deployed. To be able to carry out these tasks, a programmer deals with debugging, different analysis tools, documentation review, data structures and algorithms, translation, and various software tools that they learned how to use while grooming their programming skills.
Coding and programming both require a person to have coding skills, but a programmer codes with the satisfaction of the end-user in mind because they are also saddled with the responsibility of deployment and maintenance.
Project management is also a core skill that a programmer is supposed to have. This means that for a software solution to be ready, a programmer has to guide and lead a team that consists of coders and other IT workers. If more people get to know the huge difference between coding and programming, the constant argument concerning coding vs programming could come to an end.
Coding vs programming at a glance
The major differences between coding and programming can be summarized in bullet points
Their basic characteristics
Coding is concerned with translating human language into the binary language that computers understand. Programming is a superset of coding in which software is created to meet a certain need.
The final outcome
Coding and programming do not have the same results. A coder will present a simple application or one part of a project as the final outcome of his task, while a programmer will present the complete software solution that is ready for people to use.
The tools required
Coding requires basic knowledge of programming, so the tools a coder would need cannot be the same as that of a programmer. For coders, a source code editor will be enough, but programmers require a structured set of tools that include data structure and analysis tools, testing frameworks, and more.
Skills and qualifications
Coding and programming require different skills in the industry. A coder simply has to master the needed programming language and syntax, while a programmer needs problem modelling expertise, leadership qualities, project management qualifications, and a good understanding of algorithms before they can get the job done.
Method of operation
There are different approaches to coding and programming. Coders just open their editors and start working; they require no previous preparations as long as they understand the syntax. Programmers on the other hand will need a specified and proven method of approach before they can carry out their duties. It requires a lot of planning and attention to detail.
Since programming is more complex, it can take a lot of time to complete a project. But for coding, a task can be completed and ready for use in a matter of days or a few weeks.
Why is it called coding instead of programming?
For most people outside the industry, coding and programming are used interchangeably, but it becomes a cause for concern when students or people who are already working in IT do the same thing. When coding is referred to as programming by software developers, it doesn’t mean they don’t know the difference, the misnomer is the result of the meaning of the words “code” and “programming” when they are being used as nouns or verbs.
When a coder is working on a code editor, it is correct to say they are coding. This act of coding cannot be done without the use of a programming language, which can also lead someone to say that the coder is programming. In this context, programming means that the coder is writing codes that will lead to the development of a computer program, which is also correct. From this explanation, it is easy to see why coding and programming are used in place of one another, even by software developers.
Programming is also called coding because when a programmer is working, it is not correct to say they are coding unless one is referring to what they are doing at the time they are writing codes. In this context, when a programmer is said to be coding, it means that they are carrying out the part of their job that requires them to only write codes. A coder is not a programmer, but a programmer is a coder – so it is not incorrect to refer to what a programmer does as coding when they take up the role of a coder.
Founders of tech giants like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Larry Page of Google are well-known computer programmers. They can also write codes since it is what they used to build the foundation of their software, which is why they are also referred to as the most successful coders of all time. Young people that want to emulate these great men are usually advised to be good coders first, before fully getting into programming and business management.
Is it better to learn coding or programming?
There are so many benefits associated with coding and programming, so both of them are very good skills to learn. A good coder is naturally better than the average person when it comes to logical thinking and problem-solving.
Learning coding and programming will make it easier for more people to work from home. There is also the advantage of improving generally as a person because only a patient and persistent mindset can make someone complete the process it takes to go from a newbie to an industry-ready coder or programmer.
It is obvious that when considering coding vs programming, coding is the easier and faster skill to learn between the two, but there are certain factors to consider before choosing what to learn between coding and programming.
For a person who intends to be a complete software developer, programming is the better option. Such a person will need to start with the basics of coding and eventually learn other aspects that differentiate them from the regular coders. People that have a natural talent for teamwork and leadership are always good programmers because they will be able to organize and work with a good team for any project.
When it comes to learning the necessary skill, coding and programming have different financial demands. The cost of training a programmer is more than what it takes to train a coder. There are highly reputable online schools and boot camps that can groom students into great software developers; all that is needed is the fee, a will to succeed and an unwavering dedication to the process.
Still, in finance, coders and programmers do not earn the same salary because the workload is not equal. Since programmers have more responsibility, it is only normal that they get paid more money. According to the United States Bureau of labor statistics, software developers in USA earn about 110,000 dollars per annum while coders earn about 77,000 dollars per year.
People want to get into tech for many reasons, but for those who want to learn the skills because of money, programming is the better option. If the intention is to transition into tech from a different industry, coding is more realistic since it is easier to learn and can be done comfortably while keeping a job.
Is it better to learn coding or programming? The answer lies in the intention of the student. With all the factors stated above, one can easily be guided on the option that will be suitable for their career goals.
The major reason that makes programming to be regarded as the better skill to learn despite the fact that it is more demanding is because as a programmer, one can easily start up a business. The startups that keep making headlines are the result of programming.
Coding alone is not enough to start and grow a business, but all the aspects of programming which include problem-solving, project management, leadership, organization and planning, groom a person to repeatedly experience what it is like to build something from ground zero to a complete solution.