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What Is Coding?

Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook, and this website – they’re all made with code.

Computer programmers are the specialists who use programming languages to code just about everything in our technology-driven society. Code is used for everything from building websites and keeping the internet functional to developing new apps and software.


A computer can only understand two distinct types of data on and off. In fact, a computer is really just a collection of on/off switches (transistors). Anything that a computer can do is nothing more than a unique combination of some transistors turned on and some transistors turned off.

Binary code is the representation of these combinations as 1s and 0s, where each digit represents one transistor. Binary code is grouped into bytes, groups of 8 digits representing 8 transistors. For example, 11101001. Modern computers contain millions or even billions of transistors, which means an unimaginably large number of combinations.


There are literally dozens of languages a person can learn to code in. Although a few languages are all-purpose (or multipurpose), most serve a specific function. CSS, for example, functions primarily to make things look pretty on websites. JavaScript, a relatively old language, exists to make web pages more functional. Depending on what you want to accomplish, you’re going to have to choose a specific language.

Here are a few common ones that you might want to work with, especially if you’re just learning to code.


Short for Hypertext Markup Language, HTML works as sort of the bones of the Internet. It tells web pages what should be displayed where and how they’ll fit within a given style sheet. It also tells your browser where to look for content like images and videos that you might want to include, as well as where to find the style sheet you’re working off of.


CSS (Cascaded Style Sheet) is the stylesheet that supports web pages. If you open up a CSS file, you’ll see a lot of references to font families, colors, bold or not, etc. When your browser loads a page, the HTML tells it “Hey. Make this part of the page look like a header. OK?” It also says “Here’s where to look to understand what a header should look like.” This will always be a CSS file.


Javascript is a language that brings interactivity to the web. It’s a language that makes things happen on a web page. When you click a button on a web site, for example, it’s JavaScript that makes the button seem to click. The controls for video players on the web, animations, etc. Most of these are JavaScript of some other dynamic programming language.

Ruby on Rails and Python with Django

Ruby on Rails and Python are both programs that are used to develop web applications. These languages create programs that allow web pages to do things at a high level of interactivity. For example, you can build a bot to automatically create an automatic payment system with one of these languages. They’re great programs to learn to work with because they are extraordinarily versatile and there is a lot of example codes for you on the web to begin playing with this.

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