What Is Software Programming?

Software programming involves using a computer language to develop programs. Software programmers design these programs to carry out specific functions. Read on for more information about this field. Schools offering Application Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Programming Languages

The information understood by computers is in machine code, which consists of binary strings of zeros and ones. This type of programming is used in software engineering to tell computers what functions to perform. The programs must be written for a specific operating system or for cross-platform use. There are two kinds of languages used in programming, which are known as high- and low-level languages.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $95,510 (for software developers, applications)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 17% growth (for software developers)
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Similar occupations Computer hardware engineers, computer and information systems managers, computer network architects, computer programmers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

High-Level Languages

High-level languages use a format which helps to make coding more user-friendly by allowing a description of a solution in terms more closely understood by humans. Commonly used high-level languages are C, FORTRAN, Pascal and BASIC. High-level programming works independent of the machine language of the computer. High-level programming also allows the creation of large scale programs quickly.

Low-Level Languages

Programming languages that are more difficult to understand are called low-level languages. Included in this type of languages are machine and assembly languages. These languages offer predictability and performance in programming. Assembly language is designed for a specific processor. Machine language is binary code and is the only language a computer understands. All processes that a computer performs are converted into binary code. Programs written in low-level languages are more precise and efficient for the computer, though they may take more time to create.

High-Level vs. Low-Level Languages

There are advantages and disadvantages to both of the types of programming. According to Richard Mansfield, author of Machine Language for Beginners, machine-level programming has advantages for debugging programs. He says that BASIC is easy to understand but has limitations. Mansfield also says that having an understanding of one type of programming makes it easier to understand the other.

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