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Learn computer programming

Build essential coding skills needed for front-end and back-end web development, machine learning, iOS and Android app development, and much more. Learn computer programming with online courses delivered through edX.

What is computer programming?

Computer programming is the process of writing instructions that are executed by computers. The instructions, also known as code, are written in a programming language which the computer can understand and use to perform a task or solve a problem.

Basic computer programming involves the analysis of a problem and development of a logical sequence of instructions to solve it. There can be numerous paths to a solution, so the computer programmer seeks to design the most efficient code. A programmer’s tasks include understanding requirements, determining the right programming language to use, designing or architecting the solution, coding, testing, debugging, and writing documentation so that the solution can be easily interpretable by other programmers.

Computer programming is at the heart of computer science. It is the implementation portion of software development, application development, and software engineering efforts, transforming ideas and theories into working solutions.

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Learn to code with online computer programming courses

edX offers a variety of courses tailored to different learner levels, including classes for beginner coders. Introductory computer programming courses provide learners with a step-by-step tutorial on how to code with a given language. They will also introduce algorithmic thinking and basic concepts in abstraction, data structures, and resource management.

HTML and CSS are the two basic languages used for the web. However, a course’s focus will depend on the overall objective. For example, a software development class may teach C languages while a data science course uses Python and SQL. Part of learning computer programming is discovering the similarities between different languages and gaining an understanding of which language is the right one for a particular task. Problem sets can be inspired by real-world domains such as biology, finance, and politics.

Learners who want a more structured educational format can enroll in an online bachelor's in computer science or master's in data or computer science

Careers in computer programming

People who wish to enter the world of computer programming can choose to specialize in any number of popular programming languages. The type of language a learner chooses and how they implement it may help determine their career path. However, there is some flexibility when matching jobs with programming languages.

Some careers in computer programming include:

  • Web developer

  • Computer programmer

  • Software developer

  • Back-end developer

  • Front-end developer

  • Full-stack developer

  • Database administrator

Take a beginner course in computer science or any number of programming languages and see if this exciting field is right for you. Introductory, self-paced courses are available to help you learn to code in many different languages. Enroll and start learning today.