Coding Vs Programming | The Two Careers in the Software Development Field Explained

Isn't coding and programming the same thing?

In this digital era, you must have heard the terms coding and programming being used interchangeably to refer to the same thing. Every field has its own vocabulary with words that may sound similar but have a lot of difference in the context.

There is no difference between the coders and programmers for people outside the software development industry, and even if there is a difference, it doesn't matter. But there is a clear distinction between the two terms in the software development field.

So, do you want to know the difference between coders vs programmers? Do you want to know how the two work together to develop apps? Also, is there a certification in programming you still haven't acquired?

a lot of codes

Let's explore the two terms, what they do, and the difference between coding vs programming. We also hear you ask - 'Is programming hard?' - so we break it down for you here, too.

What Is Coding?

Coding refers to the process of writing code and translating it from one language to another whereas programming involves analyzing, implementing, and creating the program. Coding is the process of translating language from human language to machine-based language.

You can also refer to coding as a subset of programming since it lays the foundation for programming.

If you are a coder and if you are into software development, you need to be multilingual. You should have the ability to write using a simple text editor and translate codes in different programming languages, including Python, Java, C, R, etc., depending on the requirement.

Codes help you to provide information and instructions to the computer.

glasses with computer

A computer processor understands the language of ones and twos while our natural language is nothing close to the binary language. As such, coding involves translating the natural language into machine language. Coders make use of an intermediary language to direct the process of coding.

Depending on the programming language, you require some skills to be effective in coding. For instance, it will help if you have knowledge of the syntax, main keywords, and the logic behind the language.

Coding is less intensive and less intimidating than programming as it only deals with writing codes. On the other hand, programming deals with much more than just writing and translating codes.

One difference between coding and programming is in what they do. Coding involves writing and it is the first step towards developing an app or software. Coding is simpler to analyze and understand than programming.

zero and one

The components of programming codes include:

  • The code syntax and the rules that the coder must follow when writing a code
  • A compiler that helps to convert code into respective machine code
  • Code execution and returning the results

A coder works as per the set of instructions one receives. After that, you execute code testing, quality analysis, debugging, and code implementation. The set of instructions implemented by a coder a referred to as source code.


Types of Coders

Front-end Developers

Front-end developers are the coders who are responsible for developing websites. The coders are responsible for coming up with a website's layout, the design, and how the content will appear on the website. Front-end developers use several methods to develop passwords, but the most popular include JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Front-end developers are also responsible for making sure that the website is functional and interactive. They achieve this by inserting hyperlinked buttons, animations, etc.

They also maximize the page responsiveness and minimize page load speed times, which play a significant role in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) score.

Front-end developers have a lot of responsibilities and roles in the web development industry. However, you can use available online courses to sharpen your developing skills.

Front-end developers are some of the lowest-paid developers, but the payments can vary depending on various factors.

knowledge is power

Back-end Developer

Front-end developers are responsible for coming up with the website's main design and ensuring it is responsive.

On the other hand, back-end developers are responsible for developing apps that the website will run on. Web apps are complex and are build into a website's underlying code, and they perform a particular function.

Web apps developed by back-end developers allow you to develop interactive apps embedded on a website. They also allow you to build a profile and connect with friends, such as Facebook or Twitter. They also allow you to create an account to log in and out of a website.

Back-end developers need to have a high understanding of coding and mastery of coding languages such as PHP, JavaScript, and Python.

Back-end developers are in high demand, meaning there is a lot of work available for them. They also demand a higher average salary compared to front-end developers.


Mobile App Developer

A mobile app developer is responsible for creating apps for Android and iOS operating systems.

Mobile apps are in high demand, which means there is a lot of work for mobile app developers. To succeed as a mobile app developer, you need to understand what coding is, and you should also learn a mobile coding language.

For Android app development, you need to be conversant with the Java programming language. You should learn to use a tool referred to as Android Studio to use Java in app development. Kotlin is also starting to gain popularity as a coding language and has started taking over from Java.

For iOS app development, you should learn either Swift or Objective-C coding languages. The two are used alongside a development tool known as Xcode.

app developers

What Is Programming? 

You can look at programming as a superset of coding. Programming is a bigger aspect of coding, and it refers to developing an executable software program that you execute on a machine without errors.

Creating software involves many steps, including planning, designing, deployment, and maintenance.

Apart from writing and translating codes, programming also involves analyzing and implementing algorithms, mitigating issues, and understanding data structures. While coding is an integral part of programming, a programmer needs more skills and knowledge than a coder.


A programmer creates complex programs that are read and executed by the computer. Programming provides a complete set of instructions for machines to perform.

How do you know that you are a successful programmer?

You can consider yourself a successful programmer if you can create software and execute it on a computer without errors.

When looking at the difference between coding and programming, it's safe to say that programming is incomplete without coding.

Difference Between Coding and Programming

Are coding and programming synonymous?

While there are similarities between coding and programming, the two refer to different concepts.

Coding refers to the process of writing and translating codes. It involves translating codes from one language to another. Computers cannot understand the natural language of humans. As such, a coder translates the natural human language into a binary language that a computer can understand.

human behind the code

On the other hand, programming refers to the process of programming a machine with a specific set of instructions to run.

A coder only needs to translate logic into a binary language that a computer can understand, but a programmer has to do more.

Let's look at the differences between coding vs. programming.

Basic Difference

Coding refers to converting the natural language we speak to a binary language that a computer can understand. Coding is an integral part of programming, but it is not the only integral aspect.

On the other hand, programming refers to the process of creating a program using a set of instructions without an error. The software you create should follow certain standards and perform a particular task.

white screen


One of the differences you can see between coding vs. programming is in the scope of what they do.

The coding covers a limited scope of translating natural language into a machine-understandable code. A coder only requires to have knowledge and skills in programming languages and the rules involved. It involves understanding the writing codes of different languages such as python.

On the other hand, programming requires conceptualization and analysis of different aspects of a program. As a programmer, you must also find solutions to any problems that may come up as you develop the program.

Additionally, programming involves other vital parameters in creating a program, such as compiling, debugging, testing, and implementation.

a helping hand


A coder doesn't require a lot of software tools to code. With just a simple text editor like a Notepad and WordPad to get started and you are good to go.

Today, you can also use IDE and debug tools such as Bootstrap, ATOM, Delphi, and Eclipse.

Programming involves deeper activities such as document review and performing analysis. As such, it requires more tools than coding. Some of the tools a programmer will need for effective programming include code analysis tools, databases, testing frameworks, code generators, code editors, GUI designers, and linkers. You may also need performance analysis tools, debuggers, assemblers, etc.

Programming also requires advanced Git and GitHub concepts, analytical tools, database tools, presentation tools, and cloud tools.

tools needed

Skills Needed 

As a coder, you only require knowledge of programming languages. With that, you can code depending on the requirement of the programming language.

On the other hand, programming requires you to have more knowledge of math models, creating algorithms, data structures, and data processing.

Unlike coding, which requires basic knowledge in programming languages, programming requires a specialized degree. You need to have the experience to analyze, write logic, design, and write complex programs.

As a programmer, you also need to apply your imagination and analytical skills to solve specific problems that may arise during the programming process. You should also understand and create complex algorithms and data structures.

A coder should follow the technical specifications of a programmer to write and translate codes to ensure the programming outcome fits the requirements.



Coding and programming also differ in terms of the outcomes or results that you expect.

For instance, in coding, the expected outcome results from applying a set of instructions to a machine.

In programming, the expected result is a software product, an application, or a website.

outcome is a website


Although coding and programming are sometimes used interchangeably, they have quite a clear distinction, as we have just found out.

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