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Basic Coding Terminology

Posted by Natalie Martin on Jan 17, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Learning coding and computer science terminology is basically learning a new language – computer language! While things can get a little tricky and confusing, here is a list of the most common and popular words you’ll see most often.

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  • Algorithm
    A list of steps to finish a task. A set of instructions that can be preformed with or without a computer. For example, the collection of steps to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is an algorithm.

  • Binary
    A way of representing information using only two options

  • Block-based programming language
    Any programming language that lets users create programs by manipulating “blocks” or graphical programing elements, rather than writing code using text. Examples include Code Studio, Scratch, Blockly, and Swift. (Sometimes called visual coding, drag and drop programming, or graphical programming blocks) 
  • Bug
    An error in a program that prevents the program from running as expected. 
  • Call (a function)
    This is the piece of code that you add to a program to indicate that the program should run the code inside a function at a certain time. 
  • Code
    One or more commands or algorithm(s) designed to be carried out by a computer. See also: program 
  • Command
    An instruction for the computer. Many commands put together make up algorithms and computer programs. 
  • Computer science
    Using the power of computers to solve problems. 
  • Conditionals
    Statements that only run under certain conditions or situations. 
  • Data
    Information. Often, quantities, characters, or symbols that are the inputs and outputs of computer programs. 
  • Debugging
    Finding and fixing errors in programs. 
  • Decompose
    Break a problem down into smaller pieces. 
  • Define (a function)
    To add code inside a function so that the program knows what it is supposed to do when the function is called. 
  • Digital footprint
    The information about someone on the Internet. 
  • DNS (domain name service)
    The service that translates URLs to IP addresses. 
  • DSL/cable
    A method of sending information using telephone or television cables. 
  • Event
    An action that causes something to happen. 
  • Event-handler
    A monitor for a specific event or action on a computer. When you write code for an event handler, it will be executed every time that event or action occurs. Many event-handlers respond to human actions such as mouse clicks. 
  • Fiber optic cable
    A connection that uses light to transmit information. 
  • For loop
    A loop with a predetermined beginning, end, and increment (step interval). 
  • Function
    A piece of code that you can easily call over and over again. Functions are sometimes called ‘procedures.’ A function definition is a segment of code that includes the steps performed in the function. A function call is the code segment, typically within the main logic of the program, which invokes the function. 
  • Function call
    The piece of code that you add to a program to indicate that the program should run the code inside a function at a certain time. 
  • Function definition
    The code inside a function that instructs the program on what to do when the function is called. 
  • Internet
    A group of computers and servers that are connected to each other. 
  • IP address
    A number assigned to any item that is connected to the Internet. 
  • Iteration
  • A repetitive action or command typically created with programming loops. 
  • Loop
    The action of doing something over and over again. 
  • Pattern matching
    Finding similarities between things. 
  • Parameter
    An extra piece of information that you pass to the function to customize it for a specific need. 
  • Programming
    The art of creating a program. 
  • Run program
    Cause the computer to execute the commands you've written in your program. 
  • Servers
    Computers that exist only to provide things to others. 
  • Toolbox
    The tall grey bar in the middle section of Code.org's online learning system that contains all of the commands you can use to write your program. 
  • URL (universal resource locator)
    A relatively easy-to-remember address for calling a web page.
  • Username
    A name you make up so that you can see or do things on a website, sometimes called a “screen name.” 
  • Variable
    A placeholder for a piece of information that can change. 
  • Wi-Fi
    A wireless method of sending information using radio waves. 

Interested in coding? Sign up for our Coding Academy 

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