The terms coding and programming are so often interchangeably used that people tend to think they mean the same thing. The fact of the matter is that contrary to popular belief, they are vastly different from each other.
If we look at simple definitions, the process of coding involves writing many lines of code to create a software program. Whereas, on the other hand, programming not only involves coding but other aspects as well such as analysis, implementation of algorithms, understanding data structures and solving problems.
Let us look at some more differences on a more detailed level.
- The process of writing code is to simply tell the computer what is to be done and how it can be done. Programming is the process of putting all this information together and using it.
- The process of translating and writing codes from one language to another is termed as coding whereas the process of building an executable program that can be used to carry out correct machine level outputs is known as programming.
- As coding only deals with codes, it can be comparatively easier. On the other hand, programming deals with the programs to control and interact with the machines and hence can be complex and consume a lot of time.
- The primary aim of coding is to aid communication between humans and the machine while programming is the process of formally writing codes to ensure that human input and machine output remain in sync.
- The job description of a coder is to compartmentalize lines of code without worrying about the bigger picture. On the other hand, programming is the bigger picture and the programmer needs to conceptualize and analyze solutions of any problems before they occur.
- It is easier to become a coder when compared to a programmer. This is because there are various lessons and tutorials freely available online that enable beginners to understand and master the basic coding terminology. On the other hand, to become a programmer, one needs specialized degrees and years of experience to master the skills and knowledge required to write complex programs.
- Coding essentially forms a part of the programming approach that involves translating requirements, writing lines of codes and implementing them into formats which can be machine readable. Programming involves all the critical parameters, including debugging, compiling, testing and implementation.
- Coding can be defined as a part of the approach for a programming technique. On the other hand, programming can be defined as a superset of coding which deals with all aspects of any programming base including the coding approach.
It is apparent after the above comparison, that even though coding and programming are often interchangeably used or are considered to be each other’s synonyms, in reality, there is a vast difference between them.