One of the best ways to gather knowledge is to ask questions. And more questions. And even more questions. Of all the questions people ask who want to break into the tech industry, “What is a programming language?” is a common one.
Programming languages are extremely essential tools used for software and web development. Learning about the fundamentals and core elements of programming languages can help you better understand what they are and how they work.
A programming language is a set of instructions that computers can understand and execute. Because computers “think” in machine code called binary – strings of 1s and 0s – these languages are designed to allow humans to comprehend the data and write it out in code. These coding languages are composed of letters, numbers, and characters that enable humans to translate our thoughts into instructions for computers to carry out.
There are several fundamentals a prospective coder could learn in-depth through one of Kenzie Academy’s programs. Let’s take a look.
High-Level and Low-Level Programming Languages
There are two types of programming languages: low-level and high-level.
- High-level: High-level programming languages are what make the magic happen. These high-level languages replicate how humans communicate as they use words like object, class, request, order, etc. The most common application of high-level languages is to develop software that runs on many different types of computers.
- Low-level: Low-level programming languages (or what’s considered a computer’s “native language”) are more challenging to understand because they closely resemble machine code or binary. Low-level languages work primarily with a computer’s hardware elements and limitations. The allure of low-level languages resides in the fact that they’re fast and offer precise control over a computer’s functionality.