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Coding VS Programming

cartoon image showing the difference between coding and programming.

People use the terms programming and coding interchangeably, but have you ever asked yourself what the difference is between those two words? Are they just synonyms? As similar, as they seem, they are in fact distinct terms that are used to describe two different sets of tasks.

What is programming?

Programming is finding a way to make a machine perform a task. It can be also used when there is no machine present like with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), where you seek to program your own neurons. Programming is a much broader and more general method than coding of finding solutions to problems by instructing machines.

What about coding?

Have you heard of Morse code? It is a type of signal invented by a man named Samuel F. B. Morse to communicate language through a series of clicks, knocks, or ticking sounds. Each series represents a single letter or number. When relaying instructions to a computer, you need to find a way to communicate with the computer in a way it can understand. The computer does not understand English; it only understands binary or hex digits like zeros and ones.

Over the years, computer scientists have developed easier ways to communicate with computers. Computer languages have grown to be more like English and less complex in their instructions. They can easily be read and written by coders and understood by computers.

Coding is a subset of programming. It is the process of using a code, a language the computer can understand, to create the instructions for solving a problem. Think of coding as writing code in one programming language, while programming is finding a way to solve a problem with coding, analysis, or logical thinking. Quality engineers are coders who test problems, while software engineers are coders who solve problems.

Now that you know the difference, are you a coder or a programmer? Want to find out?

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