Difference Between Coding vs Programming

Difference Between Coding vs Programming

There’s lots of widespread confusion between the words coding and programming, but today we’re going to show you why they’re different and how they both relate to different areas of computing. One (coding) is used to lay the foundations for the other (programming.)

Coding relates specifically to one function whereas programming can be one or more functions that ultimately involve making sure that a computer can effectively run or operate with a human.  Though these two words are often used as part of the same sentences to describe similar activities, the difference between coding and programming is significant.

Let’s now dive deeper into the coding vs programming discussion including a look at the definition of each word so that you can more effectively set them apart.

Definition of Coding

Coding is: “Creating code, for use with a computer, that helps to translate computer language into human language.”

The difference between coding and programming mainly revolves around how code is used and the purpose behind it being put into practice. It’s the language element mentioned in the above description that you need to really absorb to help you to separate these two words. A computer speaks a very different language to a human.

Coding is ultimately there to serve as a digital translator for open communication between a computer and a human as well as to establish a foundation that allows humans to build computer programs. Once we’ve “coded” a foundation, that’s when we can start to develop software via the use of programming to allow us to effectively “use” a computer.

Definition of Programming

Programming is: “A process whereas computer programs are written or created.”

The difference between programming and coding lies in the two descriptions. Coding is the building of a foundation, but programming is writing the content to place on it. Programming also cannot exist without coding being put in place beforehand. Everything that a developer needs to perform effective programming, and creating software (like an operating system) relies on the existence of coding.

If no coding has been performed, then we don’t have any basis on which we can develop a program to make use of the coding. It’s a little like drawing comparison between a TV and the programs that we watch on it. You could view coding as being similar to the creation of a television.

Programming would be the channels in this instance, and the content that we fill those channels with. It would obviously be somewhat pointless to create a television if it didn’t have any channels or content. That’s the same function that programming serves in computing. It makes computer systems usable.

Main Differences Between Coding vs Programming

We’re now going to introduce a reference table for you to look over that’ll hopefully help you to easily decipher the variants between these two words at a quick glance.

The key differences are:

Basis of ComparisonCodingProgramming
FunctionalityTranslating machine language to human.To create software, using code, that directs a machine on how we’d like it to operate.
Who creates them?Coders (they usually have a lower level of expertise when compared to a programmer.)Programmers, who usually have more in depth knowledge about “computer language”.
OutcomeFacilitates smooth dialogue between a machine, and a human.Through high level creativity and testing, code is used to “learn” new ways of making a computer function.
ExamplesJava script, SQL, Python, PHP.Video games, operating systems, apps, search engines.

Difference Between Coding and Programming: Conclusion

For anyone asking the question what is the difference between coding and programming hopefully now, their questions have now been effectively answered.

The lines can certainly get blurry when you hear these words mentioned in spoken language, but our quick reference table in the previous section plus the definitions mentioned earlier should help to negate any confusion for you as you proceed onwards.

Just remember: “Coding creates the foundation, programming builds on the foundation.” If you remember this sentence, then you’re unlikely to get lost over the meaning of these two words again in the future.