From the beginning, programming is about working with computers at different levels. You are getting into a world of issuing commands and orders that your computer will execute through compilers. In the programming world, this is referred to as giving instructions.
Programming, therefore, is an act of organizing assignments issued to a computer through instruction sequences. This is where algorithms come in. At a later stage in your programming career, you will delve deeper into algorithms. An algorithm is simply a sequence of steps the computer follows to accomplish an assignment.
There are different programming languages in the market today, responsible for the programs we use on our computers, smartphones, and other devices. Everything you use online is written in some programming language.
Programming languages are written to control computers at different levels. We have languages that are reported to instruct computers at the lowest levels. An example of this is an assembler. We also have languages that are written to interact with computers at the system level. Such languages instruct the computer through the operating system running.
A good example is C. Beyond this, we have programming languages used to interact with computers through programs and applications. These are the languages in which the programs are written. Such languages are known as high-level languages. In this category, we have C#, PHP, Python, C++, Ruby, Java, and Visual Basic, among many others.
Programming in a high-level language like C# involves having access to, and controlling most computer services, either through the operating system or by directly assigning computing resources to the services. This overview will give you a glimpse of different software development aspects, helping you understand the programming process better.
Any programmer you come across might tell you how time-conscious and complex their assignments are. There are times when you have to work with other programmers from different departments or even collaborate online with programmers in different locations.
To meet the collaboration needs, programmers use different practices and methods to make their work easier. In any of the procedures applicable, you will go through the following steps:
Step 1: Understanding the assignment and gathering all the information and resources necessary
In the beginning, you only have an idea of the project you are about to write. The concept includes a list of instructions, requirements, or the kind of interaction expected between the computer and the user. This information is defined correctly. At this point in time, there is no programming expected of you. It is about identifying and clearly defining the problem at hand.
Step 2: Preparation and planning the structure and design of your program
Having understood the requirements, your next step is to prepare and plan the program design. You come up with a technical plan that will guide the implementation of your project. In this case, the technologies, platform, and architecture of the program are designed. This is the first point in the development process where your creativity comes in.
In this stage, some of the decisions you make will include the type of application, for example, a client-server, desktop application, or web application. Today a lot of clients seek mobile applications to bring their products closer to the target audience.
You also have to think about the development architecture, whether you plan on using single, double, or multiple layer architecture, and so on. You will again think about the programming language within which you will write the program, including C#, Python, Ruby, or Java.
Having settled on the programming language, you also have to think about the technologies and development frameworks. In terms of technologies, you will be looking at platforms like .NET, a database server such as MySQL or Oracle, and user interface technologies like ASP.NET and Flash. You can consider lots of other technologies for your project, depending on your implementation process and the parts of the software system you wish to build.
On the technical front, you will also have to consider the development framework for your project. Say you are writing a Python program; you might want to consider Django or Rails if you are programming in Ruby.
Away from the technical aspects of the project, think about the composition of your development team. How many developers are part of the project? How confident are you that their skills will suit the project development requirements?
Step 3: The implementation stage (writing the program)
This is the programming stage. You write the program in line with the architecture, design, and client instructions. You will note the source code for the program.
Step 4: Product testing and trials
Testing and trials are a crucial stage once you have written the program. The idea here is to ascertain whether all the program requirements are met accordingly. While you can test your program manually, it is always advisable to automate tests. Automated tests are small programs written to make the trial process seamless and efficient.
Quality assurance engineers often work with programmers in this stage to identify and fix bugs in the program. Note that in this stage, the objective is to identify defects in your code, and for the most part, you will not write new code.
Step 5: Deployment
After passing the testing and trials stage, the program moves to deployment. In this stage, the product goes into exploitation. The program’s complexity and the number of people it serves to determine how fast this process will be and the costs involved. In most cases, you will create a small program known as an installer. Installers ensure the easy and fast installation of the program.
Once the schedule is deployed successfully, the next step is to train users to use it effectively. This is where deployment experts come in. Deployment experts include system administrators, system engineers, and database administrators. While you don’t need to write new code at this stage, you can tweak and configure the existing code accordingly to ensure it meets the client requirements for successful deployment.