City Lit Blog

An introduction to programming and coding

Story added 18th Sep 2017

Programming and coding: the basics

by Andrew Chu, City Lit Programming and Physical Computing tutor


What is programming?

Programming and coding are often described as emerging skills, particularly in terms of the digital economy. This is only a small part of the story, however…

Programming is a skill which is inherent in everybody; a skill that can be nurtured and grown in a whole host of ways, most of which are available at City Lit through the range of tutors available. Programming involves creating a series of instructions and putting them in order to achieve the desired result. Whether that statement makes it seem simple or not is all about practice and mind-set, rather than 'programming skill'. It is not innate, it is discovered!

When you decided to read this blog, you carried out a number of steps. You will have had to search for it, or click a link. You knew that you would make take an action (input) and there would be a result (output). We do this in every walk of life and in everything that we do. Putting our shoes on in the morning requires a number of decisions (Do they match? Are they suitable for the weather/activity? Are they the right way round? Do they fit?) and a number of actions (selecting the right pair; moving them to the correct foot; putting them on; doing up the laces). Putting on shoes is the desired result, and there are instructions that lead to your actions. Decisions are called selection, and when actions are dependent on the decisions, this is called flow control. So just by getting to the blog, or putting your shoes on, you are a programmer! Now, you just need to consider if programming courses are right for you...

We offer a number of courses in programming which will help you to harness the problem solving prowess that is inherent in us all… this leads us on to the 'digital' bit….

Programming and coding

What is coding?

Coding is the way that people interact with computers. Some codes seem simpler than others (clicking on a button), but they are all just commands that are given to the computer. There are hundreds of programming languages out there, which each are tailored to a specific task or application. Some are 'vendor-specific' which means they are made by and for a specific company (e.g. Microsoft). Others are customer specific (e.g. used within BT only), although this is increasingly rare.

Most often, because the 'programming' process (see above) is the same, learning one language will help you to unlock other languages. I personally learnt to program at a very early age, through a text based language called Pascal. This led on to a graphical language called Delphi, and onto Visual Basic, and then onto Python. Each time it was quicker to learn than the last!

There are many ways into programming and coding, and we are fortunate to have a large range of tutors with a range of backgrounds to choose from. I look forward to helping more people embark on their computing journeys!

Enrol on one of our programming courses and start learning more about this rewarding career path.

Programming and coding courses at City Lit

We run intermediate and advanced level programming and coding courses throughout the year.

Browse all programming and coding courses.