“Computer: Alliance of an inexact science and a fallible human activity” - Luc Fayard
Are you taking classes in coding or web development? Are you ready to make your first program or app? Do you see yourself as a bit of a web developer?
These are all good ideas because those with coding skills are less likely to be unemployed and more likely to earn a decent wage. In 2020, the average salary for a web developer was £25k. The unemployment rate amongst web developers was only 1.79% in 2018 and wages had a yearly growth of 3.8%.
Running and maintain websites, building mobile apps, or creating computer programs are all projects with several steps so in this article, we’ll look at the running order of coding projects and how people making software should tackle a project to ensure they run into as few problems as possible.
Of course, you should know that with programming and coding, there are always bugs!
Define the Project Specifications as Early as Possible
Firstly, before you outline the specifications and create a design brief, you need to outline your project.
Whether you do this yourself or it’s given to you by the client, this is something that you’ll need to do.
Depending on the size of the project and businesses involved, the CEO and COO may have some say, the Content Manager may be involved, and marketing and SEO specialists may be given some control.
Defining Your Project
During the preparatory phase, the developers, programmers, and project managers will probably want to talk about their goals for the project, how it’ll be used, what it’ll look like, etc. This is often known as the planning phase or the analysis phase and is where a lot of the research will be done. The programmer will be asking questions about the program or project’s objectives, too.
Then, they’ll need to think about the relation between the data and functions and the users. These types of jobs are becoming increasingly focused on the user experience. Coding is about making something that works for both the computer and for the end-user. In IT, the user experience is called the UX. During this phase, you’ll also need to start thinking about how long the project will take.
Finally, you’ll need to think about how the program and coding will meet the objectives.
Making the Design Brief
You’ll need to outline how the program will work, the devices it’ll work on, and several other factors such as:
- Client and server.
- Storage type.
- Operating system.
- Single- or multi-platform.
- Network configuration protocols (HTTP/HTTPS).
Has the design brief been signed off?
Once it’s been approved, you can get started.
Development Phases for Programs and Apps
During this phase, the coding can begin. Coding is often done in a basic text editor and for this phase, a simple text editor like Windows’ Notepad can be used.
There are also more advanced text editors now like IDE (Integrated Development Environment), Sublime Text, Atom, Notepad++, TextMate, UltraEdit, Coda, CodeShare, etc.
- Sublime Text is one of the most popular. It allows you to edit text and distinguish keywords, punctuation, numbers, links, etc. by colour.
The source code is the lines of code written by humans.
- After C++, Python is the most common programming language used.
- Python is the most commonly used programming language.
- PHP was one of the most commonly used programming languages in the world because it’s used to create websites and is commonly used with WordPress.
- Finally, Java is an object-oriented programming language.
Once the source code is written, it needs to be translated into a language that the device, either a computer, smartphone, or tablet, can understand.
This can be done in one of two ways:
Interpretation goes through the code. This process can take time because the machine has to translate each line before executing it.
Compilation, on the other hand, translates the source code in one go.
There are several stages to this:
- Lexical analysis
- Syntax analysis
- Semantic analysis
- Code generation and optimisation
This phase sorts the code to make it function more quickly at the user level.
The source code can also be referred to as “source modules”. Once compiled, these are “object modules”. They need to be brought together to create an executable program. The “linker”, as it’s known, brings together object files.
Learning to program and master certain programming languages can take years of study.
This is a field where self-study is king. You need to constantly be studying and improving and keeping up with trends.
In programming, you can never slow down. During the linking phase, you need to know that the compiler can’t tell where certain variables are found. This is why certain modules are relocatable.
Next comes the assembly. With an assembler, the object modules are brought together in a way the machine’s architecture can understand.
Debugging and Testing
Debugging and testing is a fundamental part of the app and program development.
Even with high-level programming, you need to check that what you’ve coded executes quickly and effectively. You’re going to look for errors in the code, bugs in the database, and generally see what works and what doesn’t. Debugging a website or app, for example, is also part of editing the code itself.
To improve your programming skills, you’ll need to debug everything you write. It’s almost impossible to code error-free programs and apps for the first time of asking. You’ll always have to go back to fix or improve the code.
There are certain questions that you’ll need to ask yourself:
- Why is the script reacting this way?
- Why is the error occurring?
You’ll need to test various hypotheses to see where the bugs are coming from. This phase will have you questioning how the project, modules, variables, etc., work. It’s about fine-tuning the code rather than large brush-strokes. Some devs foolishly ignore this part as they refuse to believe that there’s anything wrong with their code. However, this is an essential part of coding.
There are many good tools to help you with debugging and testing. They’ll find errors and show you where your code needs looking at. These tools can show you how the program works and whether it acts unexpectedly or not as you had envisioned.
If you're interested in learning programming skills, becoming a software engineer, or finding out more about how the world of modern technology works, consider learning with a private tutor.
The courses offered by private tutors will be tailored to you and the skills you want to learn while also ensuring that the course content is interesting and taught in a way that works well with your preferred learning style.
You can learn about a variety of different skills and subjects from private tutors and there are various ways to get private tutorials from the tutors on Superprof: face-to-face, online, or in groups. Each type of private tutorial comes with pros and cons so think carefully about which would be right for you and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials allow the tutor to focus on you as you'll be the only student in the class. This also allows them to plan every session with you in mind, ensuring that they're tailored to you, your preferred learning style, and your level. Of course, this high level of service isn't free and face-to-face tutorials will usually be the most costly option as you'll be paying for the tutor's time and expertise. However, since all the time and expertise is focused on teaching you in the best way possible, these tutorials are often the most cost-effective, too.
For those on a budget, group tutorials are an effective way to reduce the cost of private tutorials. By sharing the cost of the tutor's time and expertise, you can save money on private tutoring. Of course, this does mean that the lessons won't be tailored to you but rather the group as a whole. Similarly, you'll have less overall control over the course content as there'll be other students each with their learning objectives.
Finally, if you can't find any suitable tutors in your local area, you can always broaden your search. You can find online tutors all over the world ready to teach you about programming and coding as long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection.