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What is software coding: A Simple and Clear Explanation

Simple and clear is often not something you think of when you hear the phrase, software coding. I will give you a simple and clear explanation of coding and help you understand what it means to create software without going into details that often over complicate it.

Let’s get it right out in the open but stick with me.

Software programming is also called coding.

Software is in so many areas of our lives today but so few understand what it means to create it.  Let’s start there.


What is software?

Apps, which is short for ‘applications’, also known as software applications, are created because existing software programs cannot help accomplish a specific task.

Tasks can be simple or complex. These tasks can require amazing creativity to solve or  be used to automate repetitive ones.

Yes, CREATIVITY!  It comes in many forms. Some of the best examples of creativity come from the Pixar Animation Studio.  This is a great TED-Ed talk that gives you an idea of how software creates animation.  (Love the comments on Math!!)

What is coding?

Coding is a skill where you take instructions (the steps in a task) and translate it into a language the computer understands since computers do not communicate like humans. They communicate in a language called BINARY and it is uses 0’s and 1’s.

Coders write the instructions using a programming language.

This programming language translates human code into computer code known as software.

What does a "coder" do?

Coders are problem solvers.

They look at a problem, break it down into bite size steps and create solutions that solve the problem.  For me, I have always enjoyed this!

Those who possess coding skills will find that there are many jobs in many locations, salaries are very good, the ability to work away from the office space, and the field is growing. 

Even if you do not want to be a coder, knowing the basics of software programming will help you use computers more productively and since computing devices are appearing in so many careers, this will be very helpful to you.

What is a programming language?

When you write programming code, you use KEYWORDS, SYNTAX and OPERATORS.  These are common in all programming languages.

What programming languages exist?

There is a long list of programming languages with new ones appearing every few years.  Here are some that have been around a while.

Examples of programming languages:

  • Java
  • Python
  • C, C++, C#
  • COBOL (yes….it is still an active language)
  • Objective C
  • Swift
What is “Low Code” or “No Code” Programming?
Anki Cozmo Coding Lab
“Block Coding” Example – Note the colored blocks here on the tablet
When we think of programming some may think of typing lines of code in a software development tool possibly using the languages noted above but there are others.  There is also a large movement to develop software using tools that present the coder with graphical blocks that can can connect.  These are known as low code or no code tools as I describe here.
These tools don’t require knowledge about a particular programming language but you want to be able to think logically about solving a problem.
What are coding keywords?

A programming language allows us to write code using KEYWORDS that are familiar to us as humans (While, If, Else, Or, Do, and a number of others) and when ready, it is converted to the language the computer speaks.

This is easier and faster than writing all code as 1’s and 0’s (which by the way we do have that ability with the language know as Assember or Machine Language).

Code can be created by typing it as in the C++ Programming Language example below.

Or you can use a block programming tool like the MIT App Inventor and here at GetMeCoding’s Coding Courses.

What is coding syntax?

When we create the code using a specific programming language we have to follow rules called SYNTAX.

GetMeCoding Syntax RulesSyntax rules tell us which symbols can be used as part of the language. Think of how we use ! or ? when writing certain phrases or sentences in English.

Programming languages are constantly evolving and new ones appearing every year. This makes is very hard to learn every programming language.

What are coding operators?

Programming languages are often created to handle specific tasks like calculating complex mathematics. To handle specific operations languages have OPERATORS.

Many languages include basic math operators:

  • addition represented by (+)
  • subtraction the (-)
  • multiplication that uses (*)
  • division represented by (/)

If professionals need higher level mathematical calculations they use programming languages that have operators that can handle it.

What happens when the coding doesn't work?

GetMeCoding Debug
Debugging means fixing your code

If there is one thing I can say for certain, coders love to create funny sounding terms to along with anything.  That brings me to DEBUGGING.

Finding and fixing errors in code is called debugging.

When you write code, odds are it won’t work the first time.  That means you have BUGS.  Bugs can be errors caused by using wrong keywords, syntax, or operators.  Or because the thought process you used (aka logic) isn’t correct.

I have spent seconds, minutes, hours, and even days debugging code.  It is actually part of the challenge (and yes FUN) with coding.  Think…. problem solving!

How does the programming languages make software?

There are two ways that our human sounding coding language (see the C++ programming language example below) becomes computer or binary language.  Compilers and interpreters make it happen.

For the purpose of this post and keeping it clear and simple, a software program, app, or website is created by following these 4 steps:

  • Identify the problem you want to solve or item to create.
  • Create an algorithm that breaks the problem down.
  • Write your code and debug.
  • Convert to computer talk (compile).
Compiling/interpreting code requires the use of another software program.  Most of the time it is a feature provided by the software programming tool you are using to write your code.  One example of such a program would be Microsoft’s Visual Studio.

That is my simple and clear explanation of what is coding.  But having taught for over 20 years and working with software I know that what I posted here can raise some questions.

If you found this helpful PLEASE SHARE IT.  You may also find these posts helpful!

To that end, I am only an email away.  Contact me with any questions.

Happy coding, Mr Fred

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5 thoughts on “What is software coding: A Simple and Clear Explanation”

  1. Pingback: What is SQL? A Lesson Using Luke Skywalker - Get Me Coding

  2. Pingback: The Best Toys To Teach Kids How To Code - Get Me Coding

  3. Pingback: Coding - What Is Software Coding: A Simple And Clear Explanation

  4. you need to somehow insure yourself that the machine is not corrupting data as it flows through the machine. you need to create your own functions according to standards already laid out. you need to understand the differences between interpreter and compiled code. straight line or subroutines. counting of machine cycles for timing purposes. the use of microcode already belonging to hardware inside your machine. you really need directed learning in order not to waste your life running in infinite loops.

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