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Vicki Langer
Vicki Langer

Posted on • Originally published at on

What is Programming?

What is it? Coding, programming, developing?

Coding, programming, developing. These are all the same thing. No matter what you call it, we need to know what it is before we get too far. If you don’t know what programming is, that’s okay. That’s why you’re here, right?

Imagine you get to tell a computer what to do. That’s what programming is. Though, it’s not quite as easy as just saying it out loud. Instead, we have to learn how to speak the computer’s language, then it will do what we say.

Programming is using code to perform a task. That task could be solving a problem, making a decision, or even building something cool.

What can I do with code?

I’m so glad you asked. You can do so many things. You can build websites, virtual reality spaces, calculators, launch spaceships, name generators, street lights, or even an automatic cat snack dispenser. You may not think about it but programming is used in so many things we use and see in our daily lives. Everything from your microwave to traffic lights, your watch to parking meters all have some code running their processes.

blue wrist watch with a digital display that says 16:53

Let’s look at how we could code a watch, that portable clock some people wear on their wrists. It has a few main functions: count seconds, update the display. That's not too many steps, right? Let’s break it down into even smaller steps.

  1. Every 1 second up to 59, add 1 to the seconds on the screen then
  2. Add 1 to the minutes on the screen up to 59 then
  3. Add 1 to the hours on the screen up to 12 then
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 forever and ever until the end of time or the battery dies

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