With the near-universal presence of computing devices such as phones and PC’s all around us, we come across various types of software both for utility and entertainment. Utility applications would be something as simple as the alarm clock on the phone or something complex like Adobe Photoshop. Entertainment programs can range from games to video streaming apps to countless other programs. Behind the pretty user interface and polish of these programs lies a complex mess of code allowing the software to work seamlessly. These complex pieces of code are known as programming languages. And it is a way for humans to instruct or program the computer to their specific needs.
At the heart of computers are very small devices called transistors. They have the ability to either be in an on or off state. These can correspond to 0 or 1 values. Since these are only two values, they are called binary numbers. Hence a transistor can store one piece of binary data. When a lot of these transistors are used together, they can allow a computer to store and compute information which gives rise to everything we see around us digitally.
Early computers had a very small amount of transistors thus limiting their computational power. But over time with rapid development in computer parts and design, more and more transistors were fitted onto a single chip. Modern computers consist of billions of transistors making them extremely fast and efficient. This has led mankind to achieve new feats such as space travel, the internet, seamless communication, etc. Hence computing power is of paramount importance in the development of technologies going forward.
But computers are not intelligent on their own, everything they do is based on a set of core instructions programmed into them by a programmer. Programming languages are a way to speak to the computer. Since computers only understand binary code and it is extremely inefficient for humans to directly program in binary, programming languages were born. There are many types of programming languages such as C, Python, C++, Go, etc. They are primarily divided into two types: low-level and high-level. Low-level languages are converted to binary code very fast but are tougher to write. High-level languages have a high degree of abstraction and convert binary code much slower but are also easier to write.
Software development usually tends to be a long and arduous process as writing code, implementing it and bug fixing takes a considerable amount of resources and time. But if you plan to continuously integrate new features into your application, the work doesn’t just end there. When trying to identify which software features work better, developers might need to use tools such as a feature flag that allows certain features within the software to be enabled or disabled at any point in time even after they have already been made available to customers.
Moreover, large software has dedicated teams for managing different aspects of the software, such as implementing a Dev-ops model to help with quality and efficiency. More can be learned about over here for those who would like further background. Programming languages are just one of the primary tools used in software creation. There are various other teams like quality assurance, bug fixing, UI/UX developers, etc. that will be involved n the process.
Most of the widely used business software systems, as well as the software we see on our phones and computers, go through the same software development process to finally be available for us, the end-user. Programming languages are the best method to get into learning about it. One of the easiest and most powerful languages to pick up currently is Python. Python is a high-level language with a high degree of readability and a powerful library making it highly useful in almost every situation. The only downside being it’s slower than low-level languages like C. Other powerful languages are currently in use are Java and C.
Web development is similar to software development except for it being always online which is not necessarily the case for a software. Web dev involves creating a front-end part intended to be seen and interacted with by the user. Whereas the back-end part concerns itself with the implementation of technologies to make it work, storing and propagating data. To assist with web development, companies will turn to specialists (check it out) to discuss with them how they can help and shape the webpage/website to the right specifications needed. This will help it look professional and function the way it should for customers/clients.
Hence in software development, there are various ways to go about doing what one wants to accomplish. The possibilities are limitless due to the open-ended nature of programming languages.