Disciples of Code: Decoded, Part 1 -- Code

Code is everywhere. Coding is an essential language.

I say ‘code’, you say ‘program’. He says ‘script’, she says ‘app’. Does it matter? Putting aside the many technical definitions and nuances, in practice these terms are nearly synonymous — at least to a general audience. What we’re really talking about is machine language, or a way of communicating with machines (e.g., computers) by combining a set of symbols, words, and statements according to certain predefined rules.

Does this sound familiar? It should. It is identical to the way in which we learn any human language. Code is simply a machine language. While some human languages are moire difficult to learn than others, some machine languages involve trickier grammar or more complex syntax. The driving purpose for learning in both cases is {” whether the language learner can create something that makes sense to others “}.

Machine languages differ from human languages in many important ways. Speaking and listening aren’t often a crucial part of machine languages, but they are vital to human languages; speaking code is not usually performative. Human languages tend to be chronological and have a structural basis at the sentence level. Machine languages don’t require strict chronologies, and often encourage using conditional structures to branch off from the linear path — perhaps, infinitely.