What Is Coding? 3 Things You Should Know
You may be wondering What is coding anyways?, How does it work?, or Why does any of this matter to me? Maybe you want to get as far away from technology as possible. But here’s the thing: If you’re reading this blog, chances are your world runs on technology and coding surrounds you — powering your media, your modes of communication, and perhaps even your business. And not understanding the basic mechanics of programming languages is like undertaking a massive road trip without first learning a thing or two about cars: It’s possible but also a debatably silly thing to do. So let’s break down the three most important things to know. I promise, you’ll grasp the basics of coding a lot more easily than you may think.
What Is Coding and How Does It Work?
Like most professional fields, you could spend a lifetime learning about code. Understanding the basics, however, happens fairly quickly. I won’t be going into too many of the technicalities (I’d highly suggest Codecademy, freeCodeCamp, or Skillcrush for beginner-friendly intro courses) but I will be listing three things that are helpful to know. Think of these as the equivalent to understanding that you’ll need to have your oil changed, keep your engine from overheating, and know how to find a mechanic. So let’s get started!
1. There Are Many Coding Languages and Different Types
Because there are so many different things that you can do with code (from making websites to making software like PhotoShop) there are also many different coding languages. For instance, coding an Android app would require different knowledge and tools than coding an iPhone app. In practice, this means that someone who makes video games won’t necessarily be able to help you with that website error you’ve been getting. Someone who speaks Spanish probably wouldn’t be able to help you translate something in Japanese, would they? However, that same person could more likely assist in understanding Portuguese or Italian since these languages are closely related to Spanish. In the same way that romance languages can be grouped together, coding languages can be segmented. Understanding two languages in the same group is easier than understanding two languages in different groups. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Computer Languages Are a Lot Like Human Languages
3. Coders and Developers Are Polyglots
Like meeting someone with just one tattoo, it’s uncommon to meet a developer who only knows one language. Why? Unlike human languages, a fair number of computer languages were built to work with or enhance other languages. They’re the social creatures in the world of linguistics. Most developer end up specializing in a particular language or two (or three or four), but it’s crucial for them to understand others as well. Different developers will know different “stacks” or language sets dependent on their particular field. Websites and other applications are usually built by, well, stacking these languages on top of each other to create the final result.
In Case You’re Still Wondering, “Okay, but What Is Coding?”
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So there you have it! You now can answer the question: “What is coding?” with a solid understanding of the basics. Do you have any follow-up questions? Feel free to leave a comment below. And if you want to share your new-found knowledge you can forward this to a friend or share it on social media.