Coding: Jargon Buster

Coding can be complicated. To start with, it can be very simple though. If you’re moving into a teaching role which now expects knowledge of coding… don’t fret. In this blog, we’ll discuss some commonsense words which relate to everyday language and also quite a few unique words which relate only to the computer science world.

We’ve gathered the key terms that it’s helpful to know when it comes to basic programming, hopefully this will improve understanding for you and your class and ease you into setting challenges and projects for them.

Abstraction

A simple version of something which is more complex

Accessibility

The ease of use for users around products, services, devices and programs. This includes limitations around compatibility with older technology or even the physical and mental disabilities of the user

Algorithm

A group of steps within a task

Binary

Computer language, information represented using only two options

Binary alphabet

The two options used in binary code (as above)

Bit

Single unit of information, usually shown as a 0 or a 1. The word is a shortened version of “binary digit”

Block-based programming language

Any language for programming that allows its users to drag ‘blocks’ rather than the traditional code writing method. The most popular example of this is today is Scratch. Can also be referred to as ‘drag-and-drop’ or ‘visual coding’

Bug

An error that prevents a program from running successfully or completing as planned

Byte

A measure of digital data, 8-bits go into a byte. Scaled up as kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB)

Call (variable)

Use a variable in a program

Call (function)

Code that’s added to a program to tell the program to run code inside a function at a certain time

Code

The language used to tell computers what the user wants it to do

Command

Commands that are strung together can make up algorithms and computer programs and are ultimately instructions for the computer

Computational thinking

Facing a problem so it can be modelled and solved by a computer. Made up of four key strategies: decomposition, pattern matching, abstraction, algorithms

Computer science

Using computing power and technology to solve problems

Conditionals

Statements that only run under certain conditions e.g true/false, if/then

Crowdsourcing

Reaching out to a wider group of programmers/coders to complete a task quicker

Cyberbullying

Potentially upsetting or distressing acts performed against another person via the internet

Data

Digital information, the inputs and outputs of computers

Debugging

Discovering and solving problems within algorithms and programs

Decomposing

Assessing and breaking a problem down into more manageable pieces

Define (function)

Understanding the detail within the problem that you’re trying to solve

Digital citizen

A safe, responsible, respectful user of the Internet

Digital footprint

Information that is found about individuals on the Internet

Domain Name Service (DNS)

The service that translates URLs into IP addresses

Event

An action that causes something to happen in computing

Event handler

The most common is the mouse-click. Event-handler coding only comes to life when a certain action is performed by the user

For loop

A loop with a predetermined beginning and end which can be repeated if certain conditions are met

Function

A piece of code that you can easily be called repeatedly

Function call

Added to a program to indicate that the program should run the code inside a function, at a certain time

Function definition

The code inside a function that instructs the program on what to do when the function is called

If statement

Engages ‘conditional statements’ within code or programs, a common programming structure

Input

The term for giving information to a computer

Internet Protocol (IP) address

A unique number assigned to any piece of technology that is connected to the Internet

Iteration

A repeated action, usually part of a programming loop

Loop

The action of doing something repeatedly

Output

The term for information which is given out by a computer

Packets

Smaller pieces of information that have been formed from larger pieces of information

Pattern matching

Finding similarities between code and actions

Parameter

Additional information for a function to customise it for a particular need

Pixel

A single point of digital colour or image. Contraction of "picture element"

Program

An algorithm that has been coded and can be run by a computer or machine

Programming

The skill and job of creating a computer program

Run program

Action the computer to begin the commands that you’ve coded for it

Universal Resource Locator (URL)

A simplified way for calling a web page, also known as a web address

Variable

A placeholder made for a piece of code that is likely to change

While loop

A loop that continues to repeat while a condition is ‘true’.

Workspace

A digital working place where you would write code or perform drag-and-drop coding

 

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