What Is The Difference Between Coding & Programming?

Posted by Sarah Ohanesian on Jul 31, 2018 2:19:00 PM

People often confuse coding and programming and use these two terms interchangeably. Let’s just get this out of the way now — they’re not the same thing, and in fact, they are quite different.

The purpose of this article is to define both of these terms clearly, so there can be no mistake, and find out what the difference is between coding and programming.


Coding vs. Programming - Definitions

At the most basic level, programming is a broader discipline whereas coding is a narrower one.

Coding involves writing many lines of code in order to create a software program. Programming involves not only coding but also other tasks, such as analyzing and implementing algorithms, understanding data structures, solving problems, and more. Programmers are typically technically-minded and have strong analytical skills.

To put it simply, all programmers are coders but not all coders are programmers. Some experienced programmers use the word “coder” as jargon that refers to a beginner (junior) software developer.

Now, let’s cover more differences between coding and programming:

1. It is easier to become a coder than a programmer

There are plenty of coding lessons and tutorials all over the web that allow learners to master basic coding terminology and learn to write simple apps or websites. On the other hand, programmers need a specialized degree and years of experience to obtain the skills and knowledge that are required to write complex programs.

2. The work has a different scope

When coding, you transform the requirements in a human language into a language that your application will understand. When programming, you give an app or a machine a set of instructions to be carried out. A programmer is typically responsible for an entire software product whereas a coder is responsible for a certain part or parts of the software product.

3. To be a programmer, you have to create more

Coders typically follow given instructions and requirements to write code whereas programmers often use their own imagination and analytical skills to solve specific problems. To be a coder, one should know the syntax, but to be a programmer, one should understand and complex data structures and algorithms as well as be able to create such algorithms.

4. Programming involves higher-level thinking

Another difference between programming and coding is that programming involves a lot of complex thinking. Programmers should be able to come up with abstract solutions to a problem before they even start coding. Besides, they should think proactively and be able to predict as many potential issues as possible. Finally, programmers use code to express their thoughts of how to solve a problem.


Programmers often write or ask technical writers to provide technical specifications – documents containing requirements that the final product should meet and problems that it should solve. Coders then follow those specifications to write code, but do not work on specifications themselves. Programmers are also involved in compiling, debugging, testing, and implementation of the code. In other words, the duties of a programmer can go far beyond coding.

5. Programming is creating a book, Coding is writing a chapter

To find the difference in the programming vs coding discussion, we can compare a programming language to a human language such as English. Such comparison shows that a programmer is a person who knows English perfectly and can produce a lengthy work in English. On the other hand, a coder is a person who knows English at a basic level and can write a short story in English.

Another real-world example is programming a household appliance, such as a microwave, to heat up or cook your food. A microwave user who presses the buttons on the device according to a predefined instruction can be compared to a coder. A person who wrote those instructions and made the microwave respond to them can be compared to a programmer.

Opportunities to Get Started with Coding

If you want to learn how to code and perhaps become an experienced programmer in the future, then consider getting involved when you are young. There are several opportunities to get started on your path of becoming a programmer.

One of the best options is spending part of your summer at Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs.

To start with the basics, you can enroll in Julian Krinsky Coding Academy. Located on the premises of the Villanova University campus, this intensive two-week program is aimed at high school students who want to make their first steps towards a career in information technology. The first week of the course is dedicated to learning the app and website development concepts. Students will learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. During the second week, the students will work together to build their own web based app.

Another opportunity to make first steps in coding is to participate in JKCP’s Xploration programs for middle and high school students. The Xploration programs consist of several sections called “tracks”, and students can choose ones that suit their goals and interests. For example, the Technology Track includes the Intro to Coding & App Development course where the students can learn the basics of Android development. The Intro to Coding & App Development course is also a part of JKCP’s Enrichment programs.

Furthermore, the Engineering Track of the Xploration program provides a deeper dive into programming and shows the difference between coding and programming. For example, the Inventioneering course teaches students logical thinking and problem solving skills, which are crucial for future programmers. Another course within the Engineering Track is Robotics, where the students get an understanding of how to “train” a robot to complete the assigned tasks. This understanding will be helpful if they decide to pursue a career in complex software development. The robotics course is also included in the summer Enrichment program at JKCP.

Technically-minded students can also try their skills by participating in the dedicated Engineering course that is a part of JKCP’s Enrichment programs. This course is perfect if you want to go beyond just coding by using imagination to write high-level software. The instructor will present a problem scenario to the students, and the students should come up with a solution within a specific time limit. As a result, the learners will enhance both their creativity and critical thinking abilities.


Another course aimed at engineering skills is 3D Modeling & Printing within Enrichment. The course will help the students transform 2D ideas into 3D creations. They will learn the 3D modeling software and how to bring their 3D models from computer screens to life.

Learn Coding and Programming at JKCP

Now that you know the difference between coding and programming, you can get started on your way toward a possible career in those fields.

As you can see, JKCP offers a wide variety of coding and programming courses to choose from. Feel free to explore all of our summer camps and programs and find one that suits you and your dreams best.

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Topics: Pre-Professional Programs, Generation Z

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