It took me a long time to understand what the terms programming and coding really meant, and what each field entailed. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt confused by those two terms when I was new to tech.

For a while I thought that they were the same thing, and it took me some time to understand that there are differences between the two "worlds".

In this article, I'll explain the basic differences between coding and programming and how they work collaboratively to develop apps and sites.

So let’s explore these terms and how professionals use them by first understanding what they mean.

What is Coding?


Coding is basically the act of translating code from human language to a machine-based language.

In order to become a coder, you need to be able to write code in different programming languages such as Python, Java, C and so on. With this knowledge you will be able to provide instructions and information to the computer to make it execute the programs you or your team creates.

Coding involves writing code for creating a software program. Any sort of application, website, or game is a program.

What is programming?

Programming is the process of developing an executable software program that is implemented without any errors. It is the programmer’s job to analyze a problem in the code and provide solutions.

In order to come up with an application you will need to carry out a few steps including:

  • planning the application
  • designing it
  • testing its features
  • deploying it
  • maintaining it after it's finished

So it's only fair to say that programming not only deals with coding but also implementing algorithms and much more.

Let's try and explain it in a simpler way so we can get a better understanding.

For example, you can program your watch to wake you up at 8 AM. Also, you can program the AC to come on at the temperature that you have chosen. These devices have code on the backend that works based on a set of instructions given by the user.

The Differences Between Coding and Programming

  1. Basic Difference
    Coding is a part of programming that deals with writing code that a machine can translate. Programming is the process of creating a program that follows certain standards and performs a certain task.
  2. Tools
    Coding doesn’t require as many software tools since its just an act of code translation to machine readable form. Just a simple text editor like wordpad or notepad will suffice. As a coder you need to know the details of the syntax of your programming language.
    Programming requires that you perform document reviews and analysis along with coding that requires extra tools. These tools include code analysis tools, code generators, databases, testing frameworks, compilers, GUI designers, assemblers, debuggers, and modeling algorithms. A programmer needs lots of experince in order to obtain these skills. They should also be able to understand and create complex data structures.
  3. Expertise
    Coders should have basic knowledge of programming languages and their syntax and keywords.
    Programmers should have experience creating algorithms, modeling problems, processing data, and managing projects – these are just some of the practical skills needed. Programmers also apply their imagination and analytical skills to help them solve specific problems.
  4. Outcome
    While coding, your expected outcome is a simple solution or a small part of a project. The code acts as a set of instructions given to the computer.
    On the other hand, programming yields whole application, software products, or a website that is ready to use.

How Coding and Programming Work Together

By now you probably have an understanding of the differences between the two terms. Now, how do coding and programming work together to accomplish various tasks?

Why don't we explain this using an example so as to get a better understanding. Imagine we are creating an app to monitor something like our daily routine for us. How will these two fields work together?

First the programmer will have to:

  • plan the structure of the app,
  • write down features of the app
  • design the app
  • and think of any other features that should be included in the app.

After the programmer is done with these first steps, they hand it over to the coder.

Now the coder will come in and transform those ideas into code that the computer can understand. After this magical process is done, the completed code is given bact to the programmer.

Now the programmer will go through the code do some polishing by debugging, checking for errors, and doing tests before publishing the final product.
Now you can see how these two fields have come together to work on an idea and produce somthing that is usable to the public.


If you're interested in logic, then you might try focusing on programming, while if you're better at memorizing and understanding things you can focus on coding.

It all depends on which area you would like to explore, since computer science is a wide field and it's still evolving not stopping anytime soon. So enjoy your journey as you find your path.

It took me a while to understand whom I am – How long will it take you? Let me know if you have figured out your path.

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Happy Coding ❤