Programming vs Coding

Olorunshola Tiwatope
2 min readJan 12, 2024


In this fast-paced world of technology, you often hear statements like “I can program; I can code.” We usually think they mean the same thing. Even if I ask some of my colleagues — computer science majors — some might tell me, “There’s no difference.” Coding and programming are similar and essential in software development, but they are different. This article aims to help you understand its distinctiveness.


Photo by Arnold Francisca on Unsplash

Coding is writing the instructions into a format the computer can understand. A coder works with a software design — this is the graphical representation of the solution to the problem and also known as an algorithm — it is a terminable set of precise instructions the computer carries in a sequence, using computer programming languages, e.g., Python, C, Golang etc., we turn the algorithm into the lines of code that make the software run and do what enables it to serve its purpose.

An algorithm is a terminable set of precise instructions the computer carries in a sequence.


Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

It’s a process that involves designing, developing, testing, implementing, and maintaining software. A programmer doesn’t necessarily do all the work alone. The sub-processes are

  • Analysis and understanding of the problem to be solved
  • Designing a suitable algorithm to solve the problem
  • Translating the algorithm into code — the coding process
  • Testing the code means ensuring the software serves its purpose. Testers do this.
  • Implementation: releasing the software for use.
  • Maintenance: Provide updates for errors found in the software. And add new features as innovations come along.
  • Documentation: This involves writing documents that help users understand how to use your software.

So while coding might involve writing the code, programming encompasses every activity that makes coding possible, for without system analysts, system designers, and testers, a coder won’t be able to get any work done, and even if he gets it done, how are they sure that the software does what it is to do?

The significant difference between coding and programming is simply writing instructions that the computer executes, that is, coding. In contrast, programming involves a more holistic approach to creating software, including analysing and understanding the problem to be solved, designing a suitable algorithm, translating the algorithm into code, testing, implementation, maintenance, and documentation. However, creativity, innovation and logical reasoning are skills required in both fields.