The push for greater levels of coding knowledge (even the President wants you to learn how to code) translates into increased opportunities for businesses to create a powerful online presence, but brings with it the need for owners and managers to better understand the software creation process.
But what, exactly, is coding?
Coding is simply using a software language to create a specific set of instructions that tell a computer what to do. In a sense, coding is the language we use to speak with machines.
The process itself is akin to writing a book or an email – software engineers write code based on what they want a particular program to accomplish. In fact, the actual process of coding itself looks like writing an email – only there are far more symbols on the screen than words generally. And just like writing a book, creating code is a mixture of individual input and teamwork. Code is edited (often called “auditing“) in order to ensure that the program does exactly what it was designed to do under a variety of circumstances, and to avoid any problematic side effects often called “bugs.” Interestingly, there is still some debate as to where the term “bug” in relation to software code first originated. Either way, just like the real-life kind, they are generally something you want to avoid.
One of the most important aspects of coding is the decision regarding which software programming language will be used for a particular project. There are countless numbers of programming languages, all of which have their particular strengths based on the final goal. One of the many advantages of using a professional web development firm like Shift One Labs is that you don’t need to speak the language, you just have to know where you want to go – much like having a guide in a foreign country. The choice of which software programming language is used should not be taken lightly, as it has a profound impact on the outcome of the final products. As we discussed in our first post, building a website or web application that takes potential future uses and needs into account will be a rewarding investment for businesses of all sizes.
If you want to understand exactly how coding works, one of the best ways is to try it yourself. This may sound daunting, especially to those who may consider themselves non-technical. The good news is that there are numerous sites that are designed specifically to introduce you to the world of coding through simple tutorials with a great deal of interaction. One of the most popular is Code Academy, which allows you to start off with very simple coding projects and advance to more complex languages. There are numerous other sites that can help you learn how to code, a nice collection of which can be found here.
The importance of coding, just like language itself, cannot be understated. Code is at the heart of every single computer you use – from the one on your desk, to the one in your pocket, to the one that controls the stoplights on your way home from work. At Shift One Labs, we understand the language of the web, allowing you to focus on expanding your business. We’ll speak to the machines so that you can speak to your customers.