Coding is at the heart of all digital advancements, as every action performed by a computer, application, website, or machinery is run by code written by programmers.
- Coding is used for writing, assigning, classifying, and communicating instructions in a computer program, website, or application.
- Computer code refers to the step-by-step instructions that a computer executes to perform a specific predetermined action.
- Computer programmers who write code are some of the highest paid careers, with a median annual wage of $93,000 as of 2021, which is almost twice the average wage of all other sectors.
Coding transforms computer instructions into a form that computers can understand and execute. Think of coding as the process of translating human language into machine-readable language.
You might be wondering why coding is such a lucrative career path and precisely what coding is used for. Well, this guide will answer all your coding-related questions.
What is coding?
The coding process is how humans communicate with computers by transforming human readable language into actions that the computer can understand and execute. Coding creates a specific set of instructions with a predetermined path using various computer languages, frameworks, libraries, and conventions. Computer programmers optimize code to make computer systems process data more efficiently and perform tasks faster.
How coding works
Coding works by instructing the computer to carry out specific actions. To better understand how coding works, we have to look into the computer language that programmers use to write the instructions.
Programming languages stipulate the rules for coding programs, websites, apps, and any other computer-based technology. Each programming language contains various rules for building specific tech solutions, and the code written with the programming language will perform particular actions. Each programming language has its benefits and caveats that make it possible for computers to execute the code written in the language and quickly process large and complex amounts of information.
In order for the computer to understand the code, it has to be translated into binary by compiling the code. In this process, binary refers to the portion of the programming language that a computer understands, and it’s simply made up of 1s and 0s. Compiling means merely converting the human readable p[art of the programming language into low-level machine code such as binary that the computer can then execute.
Types of coding languages
There are two types of coding languages that provide varying functionality, which are low levels and high-level coding languages.
Low-level programming languages
Low-level coding languages offer limited programming constructs and are harder to learn as they are time-consuming to code. There are two types of low-level programming languages; machine code and assembly language. When a program gets translated into binary, it’s called machine code. On the other hand, assembly language is written using abbreviated text commands and is slightly more user-friendly than machine code.
Assembly language is often used in embedded systems as it gives programmers complete control over system components to manipulate specific hardware functions. Assembly language translates to highly efficient code that can be written for specific processor architecture using less memory while also executing much faster. It consists only of binary digits, and it’s what the CPU executes. Each CPU architecture has its unique instruction set, which determines how the CPU executes the assembly language.
High-level programming languages
High level -programming languages are developed with reduced complexity making them much easier for programmers to read and write. These coding languages almost resemble typical human languages, and they are used to detail the instructions that a computer will execute to solve a predetermined problem.
High-level programming languages allow a coder to use iteration and selection constructs such as IF- ELSE, FOR-ENDFOR, etc. they also support boolean operators such as OR, NOT, AND to solve complex conditional statements. High-level programming languages such as object oriented programming language also support multiple data structures such as lists, tuples, dictionaries, and arrays.
Most coding is done using high-level programming languages such as Python, C++, Java, SQL, and Visual Basic. These are not only easy to earn but much faster to code in. These coding languages also look almost similar to the natural English human language, and they include mathematical operators that are easy to read, understand and debug.
What can you do with coding?
Coding skills can be classified into three major categories depending on the type of work required. These include front-end development, back-end development, and mobile development.
Front end development
Back end development
Back-end development refers to the coding work on server-side software or everything on a website that’s not visible to the clients. It’s the work of back-end developers to write code that keeps websites and apps working correctly, with a significant focus on servers, architecture, and application programming interface (API) integration. All this code helps the website communicate with servers and databases to store and manipulate data. Back-end development involves writing code in Python, Ruby, and Java.
Mobile development is the process of designing and writing code that is required by apps running on smartphones and digital assistants.] Most mobile development is spread across iOS and Android platforms, which make up the most significant chunk of all smartphones. Mobile development uses various high-level programming languages, such as Java, HTML5, C#, and Swift.
Where is coding used?
Coding is used on all digital devices where communication with computers is required. Besides creating software, websites, and smart apps, coding is also used in electronic devices such as smart TVs, smart watches, pacemakers, calculators, ovens, digital cameras, and any electronics and household items that rely on user input to function. All digital services run on code. These include social media, instant messaging, video conferencing, communication tools, e-banking, word processors, spreadsheets, and other web-based platforms. Transportation systems also rely on coding to function correctly. These include car driving systems, traffic management, electronic parking meters, ticket machines, barcode scanners, GPS systems, CCTV systems, elevators, and autonomous driving systems.
Careers in Coding
National median wage (2021): $120,730
Software developers code the applications and programs that run on computers. Most of the code is designed to address specific problems that consumers face. Hence, it is the applications software developer’s job to know the user needs and code software solutions that address the issues. They are also responsible for monitoring the performance of the software and issuing regular updates to add extra functionality and fix bugs.
System software developers design system-level software that’s geared towards enterprise organizations. This also includes coding network distribution software and compilers for various industries that rely on computer systems, such as the military, aerospace, communications, scientific computing applications, and the medical industry.
National median wage (2021): $77,030
Web developers write website code and design web pages that perform efficiently and reliably. It’s their job to make sure that the website is easy to navigate and visually appealing to visitors while also optimizing the performance and content capacity.
Computer Systems Analyst
National median wage (2021): $99,270
Computer systems analysts design computer systems and processes for a company by harnessing their information technology expertise. Beyond understanding the client’s unique needs, they must select the best software, networks, and hardware configurations to effectively and efficiently perform all of the company’s commuting needs.
Part of the responsibilities of a computer systems analyst involves deploying and testing systems that require coding proficiency. The analyst should also have deep knowledge of technical requirements and planning system flows. This position also requires interacting with customers and users to determine which sections of a computing system need upgrades. Problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills will come in handy when troubleshooting and debugging computer systems. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology is needed to become a computer systems analyst, as well as basic coding skills.
National median wage (2021): $101,000
Database administrators direct and perform all maintenance activities on an organization’s database environment. A database administrator’s primary objective is to ensure that all databases and linked applications are functioning efficiently. Mission-critical workloads that rely on large databases cannot afford downtime as it might cost the business actual customers and revenue.
As a database administrator, you have to understand and manage the company’s database environment. The role also requires developing and implementing a strategic blueprint for deploying databases within the company.
A database administrator requires technical coding skills in database management implementation, configuration, data extraction, transformation and loading, and database design. A deep understanding of SQL is a must-have for this position. It would help if you also had experience working with APIs such as SQLJ, JDBC, ODBC, and REST. Programming skills in >NET and Java EE will also improve your chances.
Network Systems Administrator
National median wage (2021): $80,600
Network systems administrators plan and set up computer networks within a company and undertake regular maintenance work to keep the network secure and functioning as needed. A network system administrator’s job is to perform periodic network system upgrades installing new hardware and the latest networking software programs.
The network maintenance tasks, especially in an organization with multiple computers, will require some programming experience. Python will come in handy when you need to automate processes and deploy testing tools. Shell scripting skills will make the overall job easier, but you will require a basic understanding of coding using C, Perl, and Net::Telnet. A degree in computer science and CISCO certification are the bare minimum for an entry-level job as a network systems administrator.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is computer coding used for?
Coding is used to create sets of instructions for computers to follow. These instructions are how we communicate with computers, making it possible for coders to develop computer programs and applications.
What are coding skills?
Coding skills refer to the knowledge and understanding of programming languages, frameworks, and processor architecture fundamentals that allow a computer programmer to write code that executes seamlessly.
What computer programming languages are used for coding?
The programming language used to write code falls into two categories: low-level languages, which include binary code, and high-level languages, which include C++, Python, Java, and R, among others.
Is coding hard to learn?
Coding is more demanding compared to traditional forms 0of education, but with consistency and determination, Learning code as long as you are disciplined about it.
Is binary code a programming language?
Binary code is a form of low-level programming language that uses ‘0’ and ‘1’ symbols to instruct the CPU.
Coding skills make designing computer software, applications, games, and websites possible. While learning to code is a continuous process, in a digitally connected world, it’s one of the few technical skills that are future-proofed, as there will always be a demand for coding skills. You don’t have to work exclusively in the tech industry to learn how to code. It’s increasingly becoming clear that in almost every sector where computers are involved, having coding knowledge is essential. Coding innovative digital products is a sure way to stay ahead of the competition, and as a bonus, you get to develop creative and analytical thinking skills.