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Coding vs Programming: Difference Between Coding and Programming

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27th Jan, 2022
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Coding vs Programming: Difference Between Coding and Programming

We often mix up the terms programming and coding and use them interchangeably to imply the same thing. Let’s get this out of the way right away: coding and programming are not the same. They’re pretty distinct. Despite both their objectives being common, they’re two different terms with separate meanings for a software engineer who works various real-world issues.

Programming, generally speaking, is a subset of coding. That is to say, every aspect of coding is a component of programming. There have been several debates and discussions on this subject among IT professionals.

This article outlines the contrasting differences between coding and programming for anyone who finds it confusing to differentiate.

Programming: What Does it Mean?

Programming is the process where instructions are outlined for a computer to perform a specific task. This task is accomplished by using programming languages such as – 

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  • C
  • C++
  • R
  • Python 

You can do anything with programming, from programming robots and virtual assistants to apps that trade vast volumes of stocks daily.

A programmer must follow the following stages to construct a program that will implement their idea:

  • Organizing the app’s structure (with the help of tools like Trello)
  • Creating it (by using tools like Figma or Adobe xd)
  • It is being developed (by using their programming language of choice)
  • Putting its features to the test
  • Putting it into action (on either free or paid hosting services)
  • After it has been completed, it must be maintained

As you can see, programming encompasses more than just the process of writing code. It also entails utilizing data structures and algorithms and dealing with the broader spectrum of designing and creating complex products in general.

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Coding: What Does it Mean?

The process of writing and translating codes from one language to another is known as coding.

You’ll need a basic grasp of programming languages if you want to work as a coder. Python, Java, Go, PHP, and JavaScript, to mention a few, are examples of programming languages.

As there are so many programming languages available, a coder must have basic knowledge of computer science fundamentals and experience to become an expert coder eventually. Coding is a subset of programming since it is the initial step in any software development process, and it is also only a part of the process.

Coding Vs Programming | Difference in the Tools Used

For coders, your text editor will be one of your most crucial tools for writing the codes (like Notepad, or something more complex and feature-rich like Visual Studio Code, Sublime, Atom, or Vim).

On the contrary, when it comes to programming, we require different tools. As a programmer, you’ll use advanced code editors, modeling algorithms, debuggers, modeling frameworks, assemblers, analysis tools, and other tools to assist you with tasks like designing applications.

You’ll need a lot of expertise with these tools as a programmer and more exposure to the methods that programmers use to create apps and other products.

Coding Vs. Programming | Difference in the End Products

As a coder, you usually expect a simple solution that, if compiled, would successfully produce the desired result. The example we can showcase here is — converting concepts into mobile applications. 

Programmers aim to develop a fully functional program or piece of software for commercial usage. They’re also in charge of following up and maintaining what they’ve created to ensure that everything is running correctly and that the application has few defects.

Coding Vs. Programming | Difference in the Knowledge Required

Gaining thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of any programming language serves as an ideal initiating point for beginners looking to venture into coding. This knowledge also makes it easier to familiarise yourself with other languages after you’ve mastered a beginner-level language. A coder aims to translate and feed the computers with real-life problems and solutions. 

Programmers require a higher level of understanding. You’ll need to know how to write algorithms and work with them and how to design websites, debug and test code, manage projects, and work with computer languages. When designing complicated systems, the focus lies on critical problem-solving abilities. 

Coding Vs. Programming | Difference in Scope of Application

The process of turning required logic into machine-readable code is known as coding. On the other hand, programming demands the study and conceptualization of many aspects of a program and the resolution of any challenges that may develop. The process includes debugging, compilation, testing, and implementation.

Summing up the Differences Between Coding and Programming  


Coding is simply participating in the programming process.Programming is the process of creating complete software.
A person should have a thorough understanding of programming languages and syntax fundamentals.Algorithms, issue modeling, and project management are the essential skills that someone should have to progress with programming. 
There are no prerequisites.Here, proper planning and time management are important considerations to get started.
The end product is a code snippet.The end product is a fully functional application. 

Interdependence of Coding and Programming 

Let’s presume that you are provided with the responsibility of developing an application that monitors a person’s daily activities, expenditure, and related stuff.  This is how you will complete the mission by utilizing the notions of the two worlds.

You’ll need a programmer who can do the following:

  • Make a plan for the app’s structure (with the help of tools like Trello).
  • Make a list of the app’s primary features, what users should accomplish with it, etc.
  • Create the app (by using tools like Figma or Adobe xd).

The coder’s role begins after these steps are completed. They take the concepts that the programmer generates and turn them into machine-readable code that performs the defined tasks. The programmer reappears after the miraculous process of coding.

The programmer will then examine the code and look for flaws and perform tests to ensure that everything is in working order and that the code is producing the desired results. If everything checks out, the application is now ready for deployment and maintenance, which is still in the programmer’s hands.


Programming and coding are crucial for delivering efficient and potential software for the end-user, as seen by the preceding definition and comparison. None of them should be given precedence over the other since both are interrelated.

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Those interested in logic might declare themselves as programmers, and those skilled at memorizing and interpreting information can be excellent coders. It’s entirely up to you to decide which one you wish to investigate. Computer Science is an ever-evolving field that offers ample scope for coders and programmers.

If you are interested in learning full-fledged programming and finding out about interpreted language vs. compiled language, we recommend you join upGrad’s Master of Science in Machine Learning & AI offered in association with IIIT Bangalore and Liverpool John Moores University. The 20-month course is designed to help you build competence in up to 20 programming languages, tools, and libraries like Python, Keras, Tensor Flow, MySql, Flask, Kubernetes, etc.

So, book your seat today!


Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Which is better, coding or programming?

We cannot say which is better, as both are among the highest paying jobs in the world. But, we can enlist the comparisons of coding vs. programming. Coding is less intimidating and time-consuming because it just works with codes. In contrast, programming is related to using a program to interact with computers and similar tech gadgets to generate profitable results. Coders are essentially in charge of converting requirements and logic into a machine-readable language, but programming involves much more. It is used not just to research and write codes but also to engage all of the system's various artifacts for it to work effectively. Coding is significantly easier to analyze and grasp than programming since it is the initial stage in constructing any software. Programming interacts with several complex circumstances and programs to guarantee that the product is effectively executed.

2Can anyone learn coding by themselves?

Yes. There are a lot of good self-taught programmers out there. So coding or programming can be self-taught from the content available online. However, becoming a self-taught programmer is a matter of hard work and dedication. It is a long and arduous process. It's been said that mastery in a field takes thousands of hours of practice, and it holds true even for both coding and programming.

3Does programming require exceptional mathematics skills?

It would be better to say that Maths is helpful, but it is not required for programming. To become an expert programmer, you'll need to understand a few mathematical concepts. While Maths is not a required talent, there are other skills that a programmer should possess in addition to industry-level experience. To carve out a successful career in web development, you'll need professional assistance. This means that while a greater understanding of mathematics catalyzes one’s career in programming, it is not a deciding factor for the eligibility of a programmer.

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