Coding vs programming

Hack Reactor

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What is the difference between coding and programming? 

The answer to that depends on who you ask. For many in the blogosphere, the terms are interchangeable with each other, as are terms like software engineer and computer scientist

Many in the industry contend that coding is different than programming in that “coders” are well-versed in the one programming language they specialize in, while “programmers” know more than one language and how they all relate to and interact with each other. Programmers make sure that the programs they develop work on all systems and interact well with other programs on the system. 

According to and other career sites, programmers and coders are interchangeable, with a couple of key differences.

Programmers are responsible for making sure the programs they develop stay in working order. They are the first ones called when codes fail. They are often in charge of building and testing the computer hardware itself and making sure there is a good interface between the hardware and any software that is run on it.

Coders, on the other hand, may only work with one small piece of a larger programming project. They need to understand how programming works and be able to implement their ideas, but the coding isn’t as intensive, and they pull extensively from computer-assisted software engineering tools. explains the differences as “Coding is the process of translating and writing codes from one language to another whereas Programming is the process of building an executable program that can be used to carry out proper machine level outputs.”

Both coders and programmers use a variety of coding languages to do their job, including Java, which is used to build mobile apps and video games, Python, which can be used for just about anything, JavaScript, C, Ruby, C#, PHP, Objective-C, and SQL. 

Coders’ programming language of choice is often Javascript. JavaScript is the most popular language. According to a report from Stack Overflow, JavaScript was the most commonly used programming language in 2019, for the sixth year in a row. 

Python, used heavily in data science, is also popular.  Python is easy to learn and can be used to build games, software, and web applications. Knowing Python also makes it easier to learn other programming languages and how they function.

Frank Burkholder, a lead instructor and principal data scientist at Galvanize, says that in his field at least, a degree program isn’t as important as boots on the ground experience no matter if you call yourself a coder, programmer or data scientist.

Degree programs are more theoretical, more academic, he says. That’s why “Galvanize and other coding bootcamps have done so well.”

Individuals can get into coding by taking the Hack Reactor Coding Bootcamp or Coding Bootcamp Online, advanced coding bootcamps that churn out software engineers who are ready to take on tech industry jobs when they graduate. Both programs teach cutting edge technology like React, ES6 and Blockchain, Full-Stack Javascript and computer science fundamentals. 

In speaking with former students who went through the Hack Reactor coding bootcamp, most said they found a good-paying job in coding fairly quickly after they completed the intensive program. 

The appeal of taking a bootcamp to learn how to code is that it is a “rapid process to re-skill and people do get jobs out of it,” says Dr. Jarred Bultema, a graduate of Galvanize’s data science bootcamp. Bultema already had a Ph.D. in biochemistry before he enrolled in the program.

He admits that he was considered for some more advanced coding jobs because he had prior research experience and a background in teaching, but the project experience he gained by taking a bootcamp helped him gain some much-needed hands-on experience. 

Coding bootcamps are cheaper than going back to college for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, and if you have an interest in coding or programming, we teach both at Hack Reactor.