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Often terms that are used interchangeably, coding and programming are in fact quite different from one another. Both are areas of skill worth learning in today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape, even for those beyond the I.T. team.

What is coding?

The instructions that are written for a computer to follow are known as code, with coding being the process of writing the instructions. Programming languages including Python coding, Scratch coding, JavaScript or C++ are used to create sets of instructions, or commands for computers to follow. The aim of a coder is to translate ideas and concepts into specific, clear syntax that a computer can understand. Coders work on implementing the logic and functionality of an application or software component.

What is programming?

Encompassing a much wider set of activities, including planning, designing and creating software applications or systems is all a part of the role of programming. A programmer will write code, but also take part in the design of algorithms, software architecture, system analysis and overall problem-solving. A comprehensive understanding of computer science concepts is required to be a quality programmer, as is the ability to think critically and strategically in order to create complex solutions.

What are the key differences between coding and programming?

As we can see, coding and programming do have distinct differences, the main being scope of work and responsibility, complexity and creativity. 

When it comes to scope, programming covers the full process from ideation to software solution delivery, whereas coding is only one aspect of the process. The complexity of programming requires coordination and design of entire systems as opposed to the more linear focus of coding. 

By far the biggest difference between the two is flexibility and creative freedom, where programming offers much more of both. Coding can be creative too, but tends to be more limited, with coders generally having to follow predefined rules to arrive at specific outcomes.

Which professions use coding and programming?

Coding and programming skills are in high demand across most industries and sectors with the ongoing rise of digital transformation. Key areas where these skills are a necessity include:

Software development: Developers need to be able to write code and design applications for a wide range of platforms including mobile, web and desktop. Having programming and coding skills as a software developer is paramount.

Data science: Programming is used by data scientists regularly to analyse large datasets, build predictive models, and extract meaningful insights from complex data.

Web development: The creation of interactive components within websites and apps to make them functional and visually appealing relies upon coding skills.

Cybersecurity: Both coding and programming are used within cybersecurity to identify vulnerabilities, inform the development of secure systems, and protect against potential threats.

Artificial intelligence: AI engineers and researchers use programming to develop intelligent systems, machine learning algorithms and neural networks.

Why take coding and programming courses?

Regardless of your current career path, learning how to code and gaining programming skills can offer you and your place of work numerous benefits. For example, you could be working in a marketing team, but find that coding skills come in handy if you need to make changes to a website instead of outsourcing to an IT department or external provider, saving time and money. It’s also empowering to know you’ve got the ability to sort tech issues relevant to your role. 

These skills can also empower you to bring ideas to life by coming up with new solutions and being able to contribute actively to tech advancements.  

It’s always useful to have a working understanding of basic skills and approaches that could support your team and your role. Who knows, down the line your skills in these areas may increase and open doors into a range of careers you hadn’t previously considered.

Coding and programming can make you into a top-shelf problem solver and improve your logical thinking, teaching you how to break down complex challenges into more manageable chunks and then develop systematic approaches to solve them.

What the future holds for coding and programming

The ongoing wave of digital transformation and evolution of technology, in general, means that coding and programming will both continue to be vital skills to harness if you want to increase your employability and opportunity to work with emerging technologies.

Breakthroughs with AI, machine learning and automation will continue and open even more avenues for innovation and problem-solving. The Internet of Things (IoT) will connect devices like never before and further increase the demand for skilled coders and programmers to create intelligent interconnected systems.

As we continue to navigate the terrains of cybersecurity and data privacy, these skill sets will play a crucial role in the development of secure and resilient ecosystems to protect individuals and organisations alike.

Want to become a Software Engineer?

At Academy Xi, we offer a range of Software Engineering courses that are designed and delivered by experienced industry professionals. Our hands-on, practical training will take you from beginner to job-ready in a matter of weeks.

You’ll complete all your projects in GitHub and walk away with a GitHub portfolio showcasing your new coding skills to prospective employers. 

Best of all, our Transform courses come with access to a Career Support Program that helps 97% of graduates land their dream roles.

To discuss your transferable skills and course options, speak to a friendly course advisor today and take the first steps toward an exciting new career in tech.