You’ve probably heard that code is the skill of the future and will open up many opportunities for your career. But how can you get started?
It all starts with setting clear goals and finding a community. There are many programming languages to choose from, so it’s important to find one that meets your specific needs.
What is code?
In computing, code is a set of instructions that tells a computer what to do. It’s created by programmers using a programming language. The process of creating these instructions is called coding or programming, though many people use the terms interchangeably.
A code is any system of symbols that stands for words, letters or numbers. Codes are used when speech or other forms of communication would be difficult, impractical or impossible. Examples include the use of letters standing for sounds in telegraph messages or the configuration of flags on semaphore towers to communicate a message.
Some medical facilities use codes to describe emergencies, such as code blue for cardiac arrest. Others use color codes to describe specific events, such as code orange for a hazardous fluids spill or code pink for an aggressive patient. Hospital associations are working to standardize emergency alerts so that all hospitals can use plain language, rather than multiple colors of code.
What is a programming language?
A programming language is the set of instructions that tells a computer what to do. There are 700+ programming languages, and each comes with its own set of functionalities. Python, Java, Ruby, C, and C++ are among the most popular programming languages.
Each programming language has its own vocabulary of keywords that follow a specific syntax to form and organize computer instructions. Unlike natural languages that we speak, programming languages are designed for computers and must have certain characteristics:
For example, it must be easy to read and understand, but at the same time it must offer enough structure to enable complex operations and structures. Programming languages also must be efficient so they can be converted into machine code and run quickly on a computer. They must provide tools for the development, debugging, testing, and maintenance of a program. Programming languages can be classified as high-level and low-level. High-level languages are closer to the way humans think, whereas low-level languages are closer to machine language.
What is a program?
In project management, a program is a collection of projects managed as one. This helps achieve efficiencies of scale by providing a framework for the work to be coordinated. The result is a group of individual projects working together towards common outcomes and benefits.
The word program can also be used as a verb, meaning to plan something, or to write the code and instructions that make computers work. This process is known as computer programming.
Computer programs can be as simple as two lines of code, or as complex as a whole operating system. They are generally written using a programming language, and then compiled or interpreted to run on a computer.
A computer program can be an application software such as Microsoft Word or a browser, or it can be part of a larger platform such as Windows or Linux. Some applications can even be used offline, such as Audacity, which allows you to record and edit sound.
How do I learn to code?
You can learn to code on your own with free online resources like YouTube tutorials, books and coding challenges. You can also find mentors on GitHub or other online forums to help you follow best practices.
Coding is an art form that requires a great deal of creativity. Whether you want to build a new app or start your own web development company, it’s important to understand how to express your ideas in the language of code.