The Difference between a Programmer and a Coder

Code Programmer Difference
Code Programmer Difference

People working with the computer and the programming world will easily recognize terms like “coding” and “programming”. These are quite common terms, in fact. Anyone will understand that.

We all just love to use them interchangeably. Like, a LOT. However, at the fundamental level, both of these words represent different concepts and tasks. Both of them are related, however. You can find out millions of forum posts discussing the topic, having hot debates, brainstorming at 500 mph.

The digital era is a dramatic shift from the analog (mechanical electronic) age. Not too long ago, we depended on telegraph for sending messages, compared to emails today! The dramatic shift put a ton of challenges in front of developers. That’s why programming and coding were invented. They now dominate the current world.

But how the heck do coding and programming differ? It’s really difficult to tell because the borderline is so fine that it’s easy to misinterpret them.

Let’s find out what coding and programming are and where the border lies.


When mentioning the term coding, we mean writing code. As a coder, we mean by an individual who writes code. Essentially, it’s coding one language into another using certain syntaxes.

Most commonly, we understand coding by the scenario of someone writing complex code using a certain programming language for building a certain app. For example, someone efficient in Java writing a certain app consisting of hundreds of lines of codes.

However, coding isn’t programming. Coding is more like the language part. For example, there’s an application written in Java. A coder with a deep understanding of Java can easily understand the coding. Now, if the same person is also a good one with C++, it’s possible for him to translate the entire app into C++ with almost the exact structure and functionalities.

If you have a certain set of instructions, it’s possible to express it in different ways. For example, a German-speaking person will express his thoughts in German. The same thought will be expressed in Japanese if the person is Japanese-speaking. If someone’s proficient in other languages, the same thoughts will have different expression methods.

That, my friends, is coding.


What do you think about programming? It’s a really complex thing to do but the concept is simple.

Essentially, programming is the process of checking a computer problem and solving it systematically, step-by-step. Programming is making the recipe; the way a certain task is going to be performed.

For a quick example, let’s think about the coffee machine sitting at the coffee shops. It’s capable of delivering coffee in different flavors, right? Each of the flavors requires different step-by-step procedures. Now, the job of the programmer was to tell the machine to do certain things one by one. The machine follows the instruction and voila! The coffee is served!

I’m a food lover, so accept my humble apologies for another food example. Do you guys love biriyani? It comes in thousands of varieties, each offering different taste and amazement, despite all being biriyani! All the recipes are different. The ones who invented these recipes were programmers in a sense. In the search for new tastes, they derived these recipes (step-by-step guides).

Let’s look at a simpler example. When you think about something to do, say, writing an essay, you think about the topic, you arrange the information and then, you write. Irrespective to the language you express the essay, the thought process is taking a topic into account, dissecting it, taking help of necessary information and elaborating on it. You also have to write down the essay in an orderly manner.

Programming requires creating new things – analyzing a problem, developing logic and implementing it where it’s needed.

That’s called programming.

Difference between coding and programming

Now, let’s change the perspective. When we’re talking about coding and programming, it’s 99.99% related to the computer field. Computers are the most common electronic devices we have at our home. Both “coding” and “programming” are used to refer to the coding and programming of computer programs.

Coding means writing code and programming means developing the steps and solving the problem. In that sense, both are highly related. Without programming, there’s no coding. Without coding, there’s no meaning for programming.

Concepts aside, let’s check out the real differences between these two.

  • Coder vs programmer: It’s another common misconception people seems to believe in. If you’re a good coder, that means you’re efficient in expressing a given algorithm in a certain programming language. If you’re a good programmer, it means that you’re efficient in figuring out an algorithm for a certain task.
    In most cases, the programmer has to learn to code for maximum efficiency. A poor programmer can become a really good coder. Similarly, a good programmer can be a poor coder.
  • Experience level: When you’re in need of writing code, all you need is just enough knowledge of the target programming language and implement all the given ideas.
    However, if you want to be a programmer, you need to have a good amount of skill and understanding of the programming concepts. There are plenty of ways that evolved over the course of time. These tricks offer extreme features like data security, performance, simplicity, better program management, and others.
    Often times, a good programmer needs all the experience – good command over programming language(s) and a good understanding of all the programming concepts. Sharpening your skills in these things require good work.

Coding vs programming: comparison chart

The process of writing code from one language to anotherWriting instructions for a machine to perform a certain task
The primary method that facilitates communication between the machine and humanThe formal act of writing code at a much higher level
Coding is a part of the computer programming procedureProgramming is the bigger picture involving everything – compiling, debugging and testing the implementations
Coding is the initial level of programming, so coders can have less expertise than programmersProgrammers are skilled professionals working with substantial logic for solving complex problems
Initial level of complex tasks, so it’s easier than programmingTakes different complex situations into account and develops the right pathway for the machine to provide relatable output. Thus, programming is way more complex than coding.



If you’re willing to jump right into the world of coding and programming, there are things you must consider beforehand.

Before you jump into the world of coding and programming, it’s necessary to understand the consequences. It’s a pressurizing task that will push yourself to your maximum limit. Make sure that you’re compatible with all the mental pressure and effort necessary. If you really wish to become a good programmer, you need the dedication and willpower to stick with it. It’s a good practice to lay out a plan first. You must take things slow and steady and speed up later on the journey. Some concepts are complex and your progress may seem to slow down. Take things easy and stick to the plan.

Sometimes, people become extremely hyped about coding and programming. Too much hype isn’t good for learning, especially programming and coding. You’ll end up burning out too fast. You need to distribute that energy equally over the period of time for the best outcome.

Final thoughts

Programming and coding both are different concepts. However, they’re closely related than you actually think.

If you’re interested in diving into the world of programming, then it’s the best time to get started! There are tons of tutorials available for free on the internet. Programming is becoming more and more available to everyone. There are also a number of paid courses you can take to improve yourself as a master programmer.

If you’re looking for a complete guide for learning programming, then paid courses are the best. Of course, there are numerous free courses that can teach you programming and coding just the right path. However, if you’re serious, you can find some of the best programming courses on Udemy.

Programming and coding are both terribly fun. They will push you to your limits very easily. Whatever you do, just don’t mix these terms again, please.



I am a full-stack web developer with over 13 years of experience. I love learning new things and are passionate about JavaScript development both on the front-end and back-end.

Recent Posts