Coding, programming, and the subtle difference between the two


In the world of computer programming, two words are often used interchangeably and almost synonymously – coding and programming. To most non-developers, these two words essentially bear the same connotation, that is, entering a set of instructions into a machine to make it perform certain commands. However, let us break this misconception for you.

Programming and Coding

While coding refers to the process of writing codes in a particular programming language, programming is a broader umbrella that refers to the entire process of feeding information into machines to enable them to perform specific tasks. In this respect, we can think of programming as the main recipe that requires a lot of ingredients and a step-by-step approach. Coding makes up one part of that approach, that is, the initial steps of the programming process.

The Differences


As we said before, coding is the process of writing code by converting one language into another whereas programming denotes the process of designing and developing a functional and executable program that can perform specific task or tasks. Also, coding aims to bridge the gap between humans and machines, programming ensures that the code is perfectly balanced, that is, the inputs (human instructions) and the outputs (machine) are in sync with each other.


Since coding forms the introduction part of programming, coders need to possess basic knowledge of the field. This is not the case with programmers. Programmers are required to possess high-level expertise in working with complex data structures, algorithms, databases along with the knowledge of programming languages like Python, Java, SQL, Ruby, Perl, C, and C++, to name a few.

Complexity Level

Coding is the initial step of programming involving addressing complex queries in a code. Programming, on the other hand, seeks to handle a variety of complex issues and queries. A coder builds a code based on the specific set of instructions he/she is given related to the implementation, debugging, QA, and testing. Thus, a coder’s job is pretty much set according to the instructions. Coding involves writing lines of codes, translating requirements, and implementing these into machine-readable inputs.

A programmer, however, has to create functional and logical programs as well as analyze and fix any possible problems that may ruin the functionality of the code. A programmer has to look for problems even where it may not exist for the aim is to deliver bug-free and efficient code. In this sense, programming can be considered as an advanced level of coding.

Knowing these subtle differences is extremely essential for the tech-savvy generation. If you choose to build a career in coding and programming, it is only natural that you will be expected to know the proper meanings of these concepts.

Now that you know the difference between coding and programming, it’s time to share this knowledge with your friends and family!