What Is Coding and What Is It Used For?

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Electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, and tablets require code to function properly. Coding allows humans to communicate with these devices. Modern technology such as traffic lights, calculators, smart TVs, and cars use internal coding systems.

Since computers do not communicate like humans, coding acts as a translator. Code converts human input into numerical sequences that computers understand. Once computers receive these messages, they complete assigned tasks such as changing font colors or centering an image.

Read on to learn about how people use code to communicate with computers and develop electronic devices, machines, and other technologies.

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How Does Coding Work?

Computer programming languages, developed through a series of numerical or alphabetic codes, instruct machines to complete specific actions. Computer coding functions much like a manual.

A programmer or developer writes instructions describing the information and tasks needed to create a visual or to perform a task. Computers scan extensive coded manuals very quickly, executing the tasks that create and run a successful website or application. Displaying an image or section of text, changing font styles, and opening emails all require instructions included in the coded manual.

Programming languages provide the rules for building websites, apps, and other computer-based technologies.

Users interact with websites and apps with the help of these coded instructions. The code itself does not show up on the screen. Instead, people see the words and images a developer or programmer asks the computer to display.

Coding tells a machine which actions to perform and how to complete tasks. Programming languages provide the rules for building websites, apps, and other computer-based technologies. Each programming language helps humans accurately communicate with machines.

Types of Programming Languages

Binary code comprises a series of zeros and ones, used to communicate instructions. This code is a low-level programming language. Each digit in a coded sequence connects to a switch in your computer. Each switch connects to an action, and together thousands of switches operate a device.

High-level code, a computer communication process that works much like human language, allows programmers to operate entire systems simultaneously. High-level programming languages convert human language from programmers into binary code that computers understand.

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What is Coding Used For?

Developers use a variety of programming languages to build websites and applications. Front-end developers typically use HTML, CSS, or JavaScript code to create website layouts and design functions.

Websites with user accounts, like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, require back-end developers to write computer code that connects websites to databases. Back-end developers often write code using languages such as SQL, Java, and Python.

Developers use other languages like Python, Objective-C, C#, Swift, or Ruby on Rails to create apps for cell phones and computer software.

Below, we list popular programming languages and their most common uses.

  • C: Used for developing software operating systems and databases
  • Python: Used for building websites and software programs and performing data analysis
  • HTML: Used for creating the structures of a webpage, like paragraphs, links, and tables
  • Ruby on Rails: Used for developing websites and applications and performing data analysis
  • C++: Used for creating and developing games
  • C#: Used for creating desktop applications and web services
  • Scala: Used for data engineering, data processing, and web development support
  • Perl: Used for text manipulation, web development, and network programming
  • PHP: Used for managing databases and creating dynamic webpages
  • SQL: Used for communicating with databases and managing and organizing data
  • JavaScript: Used for creating webpages and supporting front-end and back-end development
  • Swift: Used for creating apps, most commonly for Apple platforms
  • Objective-C: Used for writing software for Apple products

Learning How to Code

Coding requires critical thinking and creativity. Learning to code may prove a difficult computer science practice for some, but it can also be rewarding. Whether you want to create your own website or step into a computer science career, there are multiple options to learn coding skills.

Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps offer beginners and advanced learners short-term courses from expert teachers. Students receive regular practice opportunities to apply their new and developing knowledge.
Degree Programs
Web development degree programs and computer programming degrees provide intensive, long-term learning opportunities for students seeking a four-year education. Degree programs also connect students to internship opportunities and can provide ongoing career support.
MOOCs
Massive open online courses offer professionally taught courses. Most MOOCs are free, with videos and lessons you can view as often as desired. Many prestigious colleges and universities provide MOOCs across a wide variety of topics.
Self-Guided
You can teach yourself to code through a variety of flexible options. Website platforms like Treehouse and W3Schools and apps such as Mimo and CodeAcademy teach coding skills and programming languages through self-paced tutorials.

Free coding bootcamps Explore degrees in computer science

Careers in Coding

From 2020-2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a much-faster-than-average growth rate for software and web development jobs. Securing these jobs means having a solid foundation in coding. These skills enhance your portfolio for careers in and outside the tech industry.

Jobs in computer science significantly benefit from coding skills. Career options that use coding include web developers, software engineers, and game developers. After attending a bootcamp, you can gain experience in junior-level positions before advancing into higher-level roles.

From 2020-2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a much-faster-than-average growth rate for software and web development jobs.

You can expand your career options with advanced education. Consider a computer science degree program or specialized MOOCs to increase your skills and enhance your resume.

Stepping into a coding career places you in the center of technological advancement and offers a wide variety of career options to pursue. Find the right computer science career path for you and begin your coding journey.

Reviewed by:

Portrait of Monali Mirel Chuatico

Monali Mirel Chuatico

In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor’s in computer science, which gave her the foundation she needed to excel in roles such as a data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor.

Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at a nonprofit called COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on their professional development journey.

Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women, and educating youth. Monali’s goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.

Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.


Featured Image: skynesher / E+ / Getty Images

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