What is Computer Programming?

what is computer programming? Computer Programming is simply the act of instructing a computer’s processor (CPU) to perform a task.

Computer Programming is simply the act of instructing a computer’s processor (CPU) to perform a task.

6502 CPU
What is Programming? The famous 6502 CPU

In effect, the Computer is your servant, it will do exactly what you tell it to. If something goes wrong it’s your fault!

So What is Computer Programming? Computer Programming is just you telling the machine what to do. Simple eh!?

Sort of.

At a very low, machine level, Computers largely perform binary arithmetic which is pretty much the opposite to how us humans work.

To overcome this problem we have developed ‘Programming languages’ which are attempts to abstract all those numbers with words, grammars and syntax that we can understand.

So instead of us having to write long lists of 1’s and 0’s, programming languages let us write statements like this:

20 GOTO 10

Which if you grew up in the 80’s should be very familiar, if not, it’s a BASIC program that prints “BARRY IS ACE!” to the screen. Forever as dictated by the line “20 GOTO 10” i.e. when you get to line 20 go to line 10 and start again, which is what we call a loop. Actually it’s an infinite loop but that’s for another day.

To recap ‘What is Computer Programming’ is the act of giving a computer a list of things to do. The list usually solves a specific problem or task we’re trying to achieve.

Arguably, modern programming is now largely about interacting with other files and programs (such as databases, libraries, APIs, web services, etc) more than with the low level machine.

This is why most modern development, particularly application development, doesn’t really require strong maths skills.

Computer Programming is about understanding time, resources, networking all tied to strong logical thinking. Sometimes these things follow on from being good at mathematics, but not always.

If you can think laterally about problems and enjoy solving them, chances are you’ll make a good programmer.

Give it a go.




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