Coding vs Programming: What’s the Difference?

Contrary to popular belief, these two words are not interchangeable. Breaking down the difference between these two terms and the skills you need to master both!
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These two words are often used interchangeably, but in the technology realm, they are actually very different. Coding takes steps or instructions that are in human language and translates them into code that the computer will understand. This code involves the use of binary code which utilizes 0’s and 1’s as well as programming languages. Software, apps, mobile apps, and websites are all created with code. The confusion often comes because coding is a building block for programming. 

Alternatively, programming is the act of actually writing software programs, incorporating coding, but takes it much further. The programmer is responsible for the planning and creation of a product from beginning to end. A coder often follows the explicit directions of a programmer to create desired code.

The Main Difference is Scope

Programming is larger in scope than its coding counterpart. Coding is only one element of programming where the actual code is written. Programming is high-level work that sees the development of software from start to finish and ensures that specific standards are met during creation. This includes everything from initial planning, to writing the base code, to looking at data and working with designers to create the best product.

Skills Needed For Coding

The following are some of the technical skills needed for this field.

  • Proficiency in programming languages: Coders need to be proficient in at least one, but having multilingual skills in more than one is desirable to employers. These include Python, Java, C, and Ruby, as well as others that may be pertinent in particular jobs.
  • Debugging ability: It is important that coders make sure that their code does in fact work and can be read by machines. Experts should be able to use debugging tools including Bootstrap and Delphi.
  • Git knowledge: This tool allows portions of code to be saved and worked on before being implemented.
  • Knowing how to incorporate code testing: This is another tool for ensuring that code written does in fact perform as desired.
  • Navigating and utilizing libraries and frameworks: Prewritten code from libraries and established frameworks can help save time and prevent errors when coding.

Skills Needed For Programming

Coding is a large part of programming, but there are additional skills needed for this field since computer programmers must ensure that any new software programs are executed seamlessly without errors. This includes other steps beyond coding to implement new software. A successful programmer must be skilled in the following to deliver a high-quality product:

  • Proficiency in data structures and algorithms: Data structures and algorithms extend the problem-solving abilities of the programmer and help them to process data and calculations. Operating databases and utilizing analytical tools help these professionals create the best product. Understanding these topics ensures that software developed will be bug-free and helps to understand frameworks such as React and Angular.
  • Knowledge of app development: Many computer programs now extend into apps on mobile devices. Understanding this process is beneficial for a programmer in 2022.
  • Using APIs: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow software programs to communicate with each other. They allow systems to access data and make calls or requests to access and send information among programs.
  • UX knowledge: User experience is an integral part of a successful program. When programmers know UX design, they can achieve the vision the designer wants to create and work better with designers throughout the development process.
  • Project management skills: The process of fully developing an executable program is a complex one and project management skills allow for organization in development and clear role assignments among the development team. Project management skills are necessary to efficiently create software from start to finish.
  • Ability to review created documents of code and created software: Compilers, linkers, framework testing, code editing and generators, and tools to analyze software performance are all needed to review written programs.

Do Bootcamps Teach Coding or Programming?

Many bootcamps incorporate both skills in their course offerings. Students who enroll in coding bootcamps will learn both coding practices and at least one popular programming language. Botocamps are also offered in software engineering and web development for those looking to focus more towards the programming route. 

There are also ways to only learn a programming language if you are proficient in coding, such as this JavaScript Course from General Assembly. Many computer programmers earn degrees in computer science and related disciplines because of the larger scope of this career and the number of skills required.

Coding vs Programming

In summary, while these two fields are intertwined, there are notable differences. Here is another look at the roles of each field in chart form for easy comparison.

Definition and ScopeTranslates human language to machine language.Develops a full software product from the planning stages to the end result that meets specific standards.
Skills– Coding ability
– One or more programming languages
– Debugging
– Utilizing established libraries and frameworks
Skills needed by coders PLUS:
– Algorithm Creation
– Database processes
– UX base knowledge
– Project management
– Framework testing
Tools Needed– Text editor
– Git
– Analysis tools
– Programs for modeling
– Framework testers
– APIs
Result of WorkPart of a projectA fully prepared and working application
ConnectionCoding is a part of programming and coders often take their direction and assignment from programmers.Programmers utilize coding as a piece of their process when creating a complete software product.

Interested in exploring bootcamps that can help you reach your goals as a coder or programmer? Check out our comprehensive list of coding bootcamps that you can choose from.

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