Coding and Programming Simply Explained For Young Africans

Programming simply explained for AfricansSo you’ve heard your mates talk about programming or how they are able to write codes that you do not understand but seems to make so much sense to them.

You want to know what programming or coding is and at least say a few things the next time they talk about it.

Well, the truth is that you can do more than that if you carefully read through this post that explains the basic concepts of computer programming or coding in very simple terms.

Let’s get started!

What is programming?

The art of writing codes that are meant to be interpreted into actions, by a computer or other electronic devices.

The way you tell someone what to do and they carry it out, is just the way you need to tell computers what to do and they do it.

Computers, though do not have ears or understand the English, French, Chinese or any other language used by humans. Hence, there is a need to devise a means of transmitting your information to a computer in a language that they can understand.

Therefore writing in a language that computers can understand and do exactly what you want them to do is what we call coding or programming.

The language that you write in is called programming language while your instructions can be called a program if the computer understands it and executes it.

A collection of your instructions to the computer in the form of codes is called source code and represents the desired output of a programmer (you or any other person who writes the instruction).

Why Write Programs or Code Anyway?

The computer was generally designed to aid human operations but this would be almost impossible without someone telling the computer the exact problem they want it to solve.

Hence, programs need to be written as messages to the computer, instructing them on what specific problem they are to solve and how to go about it. These examples of computer and mobile phone programs (also called software or applications) will help you gain clearer insight.

Microsoft Word Office Document (A Computer Program)
  • Display characters that you enter using the keyboard.
  • Corrects errors
  • Allows you to format the entered text using different fonts, colors etc
  • Enables saving the document
  • Allows you to print the output on a paper.

There is no way our computer could do all these, without being instructed to do so through a program (Microsoft Word).

Media Player

Whether on a mobile device or a desktop computer, a media player is used to open and play multimedia files such as audio or video on the screen.

Basically, this action (fetching and displaying the files) is made possible because the program (media player) contains specific instructions telling the device to play the file.

The following actions take place –

  • The program fetches the audio or video from the device’s memory
  • It opens the file and shows the content on the screen.
  • Allows control of the sound
  • Provides options to pause, play, loop, repeat or move to the next file.

The computer or mobile device would not be able to do this on its own without having a program tell them to do so.

The downline

Programs or applications are written to enable humans to solve problems as is the case with the ones listed above. Without programs, computer devices are virtually useless to humans.

Other examples of computer or mobile application programs

  • Calculator
  • Web browser (Eg Mozilla Firefox, Chrome)
  • Photo and Video Editing Tool (Eg Adobe Photoshop)
  • Websites
  • Video Games
Rounding Up

The next time you see an application or program displayed on a screen, simply note that someone had taken so much time to compile the program as the solution to a particular problem.

Now you can do the same by learning how to write or code a program. Learning to write a program is a profitable computer skill and one we recommend for the African child.

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