Coding and Programming unscrambled...

We're unscrambling coding! Here's a basic overview of coding, programming and the differences between them.

What is coding?

Simply put, coding is the language that software developers and programmers use to tell computers what to do. Basically, these coding experts are the builders of the digital world. And coding is essentially how humans talk to computers. So, whenever you post a selfie on Instagram, or book tickets online for the cinema, or even check your bank account, it's computer code that has made it possible.

You have probably heard of some of the different coding languages already, for example JavaScript, HTML, SQL, Python and C++, but there are so many more.

You may not know what they look like or why there are so many but they all have different uses and are used for varying software and functions. However, what these different languages all have in common is they essentially act like translators between us and computers.

So, what is computer programming?

The terms computer coding and computer programming are frequently used interchangeably, but they do actually have several obvious differences. Programming, in a nutshell, means telling a computer what to do and how to do it, whereas coding, as we’ve discovered, is the language used to do so. 

Fundamentally, as a programmer you must consider all the different stages that need to be set up, all the different things that could go wrong and come up with solutions for the potential problems that could arise. And only once you’ve done all that can you begin to code anything. So, you can see the basic differences between programming and coding, but also how they work together and how one is an essential part of the other. Without programmers there would be no need for code, and without code there would be no way to program computers and tell them what to do. We wouldn’t be where we are today without both!

Coding and programming have become hugely important to technologies like apps, software, and robotics, and in the current high-tech age we live in, we have become totally dependent on it. We now use technology (and all the coding and programming behind it) for virtually everything we do – from work, education, communication, entertainment, business and banking. So, it is vital that we continue to attract talented and visionary people to the industry to push boundaries and surge forward.

What can we do to ensure kids ‘get it’?

We can and should introduce kids to coding games from an early age: computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and games consoles are everywhere nowadays, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to ensure fun, appropriate, and educational content is accessible for them. And thankfully, coding was introduced to the school national curriculum in England in 2014, meaning children without computers at home and the ability to learn coding, would have access to it in school.

Children have an innate interest in these devices so instead of viewing them as the ‘enemy’, embrace it! Download coding games, like Rainforest Coding, and let them have fun solving problems and developing skills in logic, while enjoying far flung virtual realms and learning how to code at the same time. This should help kids harness a real interest that will flood the tech industries with fresh young talent for the future. 

To give Rainforest Coding a go click here for a free trial