What Is Computer Programming?

Rear view of computer programmers working at office

Just about everything in our world relies on computers in some way. You would not be reading this if not for a computer. Consider how often you use programs such as a word processor or open browsers on your computer. Perhaps you use 5G on your phone or Wi-Fi with your laptop to connect to the internet, allowing you to search for information online.

Computers have much more complicated tasks, as well. Financial institutions use computers to control most of the money in the world. Most modern cities rely on computers to keep their infrastructure running smoothly.

So how does it all happen? How do computers know what they are supposed to do and how to react when you use them? Those things all happen as a result of computer programming. Let's learn more about computer coding and what you need to know about earning a computer programming degree.

What Should I Know About Computer Programming?

The simplest way to explain computer programming is that it is a way of giving a computer instructions. These instructions tell the computer how to react and what it should do next. Computer programming takes the form of code. A person who earns a computer programming degree learns to code in order to get a computer to perform tasks.

Coding allows a computer programmer to create something on the computer. This might be a web page, an image, a piece of software, a database or even a simple document. Computer programming is both technical and analytical. Coding in technical languages requires precision. It is also creative. 

What Is Code?

Before you earn your computer programming degree, code may look like lines of numbers, letters and symbols without meaning. However, throughout your programming degree, you will learn how to create and interpret code.

All of those lines of code are written in certain languages. Most computer programmers know several computer programming languages. The top programming languages include:

  • Java
  • C Language
  • C++
  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • Ruby

When it is time to decide which programming language to learn, you will usually follow the sequence provided in your computer programming degree program. However, learning additional programming languages will make you more marketable in the field. Knowing which programming language to learn is not necessarily straightforward. It will vary based on what task you want to achieve or what problem you want to resolve through code.

Some languages are easier to learn than others and some are used more widely. Knowing a range of common programming languages, as well as a few of the lesser-known ones, may allow you to develop your programming capabilities and problem solving skills.

What Is a Front-End and a Back-End Computer Programmer?

A person works with code to create what users can see and interact with is considered a front-end developer. They focus on how websites and applications look and how the user experiences them.

A back-end web developer is a computer programmer who ensures that the website or app behaves the way that it should. The results of the back-end code are not usually directly seen by users. Instead, back-end development may include things like creating a database to store information like customer details or building out how the app will interact with different servers.

Both front-end and back-end web development are critical components of computer programming, and are included in computer programming curriculum. However, what you choose to focus on is up to you and your interests. Both front-end and back-end programming are technical as well as creative. Front end developers may need to have more of an eye for things like design and color, but back-end developers need to create ways to share and store information.

Computer programmers who work primarily on front-end development may focus on different computing and coding languages than back-end developers. Common coding languages for front-end development include HTML, JavaScript and CSS. These languages allow the computer programmer to easily determine how images are positioned and sized. They also take into consideration text aesthetics. A front-end developer also ensures that content is usable across many different devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Common back-end development languages include PHP, Ruby and Python. Back-end developers use this code to keep the site or applications running smoothly. These languages also help back-end developers ensure that users can have safe and secure interactions online.

Why Should I Get a Computer Programming Degree?

Earning a computer programming degree is an investment in your future career path. Even in an uncertain economy, technical roles are usually in high demand. Computer programming can be done in just about every field. Some fields with demand for computer programmers include the arts, science, healthcare, finance and even nonprofit work.

If you enjoy technical and logical work that also has a creative spin to it, then working in computer programming may be a great career choice for you. Join us for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming at Grand Canyon University to get started as a front-end or back-end developer today. To learn more about this degree program, click the Request Info button located at the top of this page.

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