What is Computer Programming?

Programming is the art of telling a computer what to do through a set of instructions. In this section, you can start learning about the basics of computer programming and find tools to begin programming.

Some of the basics

Code

A written set of instructions that tells the computer what to do.

Programming

The act of writing and organizing code (sometimes referred to as coding or computer programming).

Computer Science

The study of how computers work, and how to write good code.

Computer Program

A group of instructions (many lines of code) that complete a specific task. Websites, games, and apps are all examples of computer programs.

App

An app (or mobile application) is a computer program on your phone or tablet.

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers (also called programmers) are the people who write and organize code.

Programming Language

Programmers write instructions to let computers know what to do using languages that the computer will understand. Programmers use different languages depending on what they are asking the computer to do. Most times, programmers will focus on becoming skilled in a few different programming languages.

Software and Hardware

Computer hardware is a physical device such as a computer or mobile phone. Software is a collection of code or programs installed onto your hardware.

Interface

An interface is a program or device with which two components of a computer system exchange information. The exchange can be between software, hardware, humans and combinations of these. An example of an interface is a touchscreen.

Network

A network is a group of computers that communicate with each other using phone lines or wireless connections. The internet is a global system of computer networks.

Code
Programming
Computer Science
Computer Program
App
Computer Programmers
Programming Language
Software and Hardware
Interface
Network

How to use TechPrep to learn programming

TechPrep will match you with tools to learn how to code.

Step 1: Find the right learning tools for you

We've collected all kinds of resources in the Start Programming section of the site. Based on your age, experience level, and interests, TechPrep will identify learning tools to help you start programming.

Recommended
Learn More

Our recommended tools for learning computer programming

Reference materials
Learn More

Online courses & books

Live & in-person instruction
Learn More

After school & mentorship programs, technology boot camps and summer camps

Games
Learn More

Collection of games to learn important programming concepts and practical skills

Tinker & toys
Learn More

Fun and innovative toys that can help you learn programming without a computer

Local events & community
Learn More

Events and activities you can do with others

College, career prep & scholarships
Learn More

College programs, scholarships and career preparation resources

Step 2: Save your favorite learning tools

Explore the resources that are most interesting for you and save your favorites. In the My Tools section, you can come back at any time to visit your top tools.