Coding vs Programming

Coding and programming are related, but they are not the same thing, even though you may hear people who use the terms interchangeably. When it comes down to it, there are a few differences between coding and programming that you should know before choosing which types of courses you should take to learn the specific skills you need for the career you want.

One way of understanding coding vs programming? You have to be a coder to be a programmer, but you don’t necessarily have to be a programmer to be a coder. That’s because programming involves coding and a range of other skills. Read on to learn about the differences between coding and programming.

Differences Between Coding and Programming

Woman drinking coffee while on computer.

There are a few ways to differentiate coding vs programming. Coding is writing out commands in a language that a computer can understand. In that way, it is part of programming.

Programming is actually creating a program that has everything it needs to perform a task.

Basically, you can write out code that’s technically correct but does nothing. And you’d still be coding, but you wouldn’t be programming.

If you’re a programmer, you do a lot more than write out code. You build websites, apps, software, and other programs that follow instructions to perform tasks. Not that as a programmer you would mind celebrating your abilities as a coder and even identify as one, because they’re both achievements.

What Programming Requires

What Programming Requires

In order to properly program a piece of software, you need to research, design, write code, take care of debugging, make sure it’s compiled correctly, perform testing, implement, and manage. If you have a final product or version, then you’ve successfully coded using a programming language to program a program. All of this requires problem-solving skills and attention to detail. In fact, these qualities are an excellent foundation for aspiring programmers, but for most, the big first step is indeed learning to code.

Coding Is a Subset of Programming

Two people next to a computer laughing.

Of course, each line of code is important, so you’ll need to learn to code to be a programmer. That means learning a programming language or languages, including syntax, data types, logic, functions, and more. You can learn to code and, ultimately, code using a simple text editor if you wish (though most go on to use dedicated tools known as integrated development environments—IDEs—for efficient programming) while you’ll need more tools for programming. And all of this coding knowledge lends to your ability as a programmer, particularly given the range of languages and applications you may encounter on the job both when you’re first getting started and as you continue to grow.

Learn How to Program Using Python

There are a lot of ways to learn to code and pursue a career in programming. Many begin with online tutorials or books. If you’re looking for structure alongside access to instructors and feedback in a like-minded cohort of learners, a coding bootcamp could be the investment in yourself that gets you to the next level quickly. Hackbright Academy’s full-time and part-time software engineering courses are full-immersion, project-based bootcamps where you’ll learn how to use code to program on back-end and front-end applications. In a few months, you could learn enough to pursue entry-level software engineering jobs, using your combined coding and programming skills.

But it’s true what you’ve heard: bootcamps are intensive and are not for everyone. If you’re unsure and want to dip your toe in while learning the fundamentals of Python, consider Hackbright’s 5-week, evening-and-weekend Prep course.

Recommended Reading

Python vs C++

What Can I Do with Python? Tips and Tricks

Is a Python Bootcamp Worth It?


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