Computer Programming Explained

Computer programming is an interesting, challenging, fun, and sometimes frustrating task. A computer program is set of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Programs are also called software.


System Software

Describes the programs that operate the computer. Examples include operating systems such as  Microsoft Windows,  Mac OSX  and  Linux.


Application Software

Describes the programs that allow users to complete tasks such as creating documents, calculating pay checks, and playing games.


The physical devices that make up a computer system are called hardware. Internally, computer hardware is constructed from circuitry that consists of small on/off switches.


The most basic circuitry-level language that computers use to control the operation of those switches is called machine language. Machine language is expressed as a series of 1s and 0s. 1s represent switches that are on, and 0s represent switches that are off. If programmers had to write computer programs using machine language, they would have to keep track of the hundreds of thousands of 1s and 0s involved in programming any worthwhile task. Not only would writing a program be a time consuming and difficult task, but modifying programs, understanding others’ programs, and location of switches vary from computer to computer, which means you would need to customise a machine-language program for every type of machine on which the program had to run.


Fortunately, programming has become easier because of the development of high-level programming languages. A high-level programming language allows you to use a limited vocabulary of reasonable keywords. Keywords are predefined and reserved identifiers that have special meaning in language. In other words, high-level language programs contain words such as “read”, “write”, or “add” instead of sequence of 1s and 0s that perform these tasks. High-level languages also allow you to assign reasonable names to areas of computer memory which means that you can use names such as hoursWorked  or  payRate, rather than having to remember the memory locations (1s and 0s) of those values.


Thank you for reading.

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