Types of Computer Programming

Types of Computer Programming

Programming is a method of communicating with computers. More specifically, programming is how we instruct computers to perform a certain task.

As you can imagine, there are many different ways to instruct a computer. This means that there are multiple types of computer programming.

And this guide will explore the most popular programming paradigms practiced in the world today. But before we do that, let's first get a better idea of what computer programming actually is.

What is Computer Programming?

Basically, programming is the process of using a programming language to make the computer do the things we want.

We use programming languages because computers can't understand human language; they only understand codes written in 0's and 1's (known as Machine Code or binary code).

However, it is extremely difficult to write instructions entirely in 0's and 1's. So we have invented programming languages that are similar to English.

Once we write our programs in these English-like programming languages, they are translated into machine code upon program execution.

One thing to remember is that programming isn't giving vague instructions to the computer; it involves giving a series of systematic and logical sets of instructions.

In a nutshell, modern computer programming uses logic to instruct the computer in an English-like language, which is then translated into machine code.

To learn more, visit our blog on computer programming.

Different Types of Computer Programming

Now that we know what programming is, let's look at the four main programming paradigms that are popular today.

  • Procedural Programming
  • Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
  • Functional Programming
  • Logic Programming

Procedural Programming

This form of programming relies on giving a sequence of well-structured commands and statements to produce a certain result. The primary focus of procedural programming is on how the result is derived, i.e., the procedure.

This programming paradigm uses variables, arrays, loops, conditional statements, and functions to perform various operations.

The procedural method is an older programming paradigm, but it is still popular today. Programming languages that use this paradigm are called procedural programming languages.

Some examples of procedural programming languages are C, Basic, Fortran, Pascal, etc.

You can check our blog on procedural programming to learn more.

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

In this paradigm, problems are modeled in the form of classes and objects:

  • Objects represent things we encounter in the real world, such as employees, organizations, cars, electronics, or anything you can think of.
  • Classes are blueprints for creating objects, i.e., they contain everything the objects need (data in the form of variables, logic in the form of methods/functions). This is known as encapsulation.

    Thus, classes are small chunks of reusable code from which multiple objects can be created. This makes programs written using OOP easy to execute, modify, and debug.

Other important OOP concepts include

  • Inheritance - the ability of classes to inherit features from their parent class.
  • Abstraction - the practice of hiding irrelevant object data to reduce complexity.
  • Polymorphism - the ability of a method/function of an object to take multiple forms.

Languages like C++, Java, Python, C#, etc., are object-oriented programming languages.

This blog on object-oriented programming will teach you more about the topic.

Functional Programming

The Functional Programming paradigm is centered around the concept of functions. There is a special emphasis on how the function returns a value.

The primary focus of functional programming is defining the expected result rather than how we get the result.

Here, programmers treat functions similar to how they treat data in variables and constants, i.e.,

  • the functions can be stored in variables,
  • passed as arguments to methods, and
  • they can be the return value of a method.

Unlike other programming paradigms, functional programming uses conditional statements like if-else and function recursion instead of relying on loops.

Languages like Scala, Clojure, Haskell, Erlang, and F# are functional programming languages.

If you are still confused, check this guide on functional programming to learn more.

Logic Programming

This paradigm is based on formal logic. In Logic Programming, we use a base of existing logic (called predicates) to build a set of facts (called atoms).

We then use predicates and atoms to build formulas and run queries to display the required data.

Logic programming is extremely useful for machine learning fields like Natural Language Processing (NLP). They're also great for managing and running queries on NoSQL databases.

Prolog, Absys, Alice, ASP, etc., are logic programming languages.

Different Types of Programming Languages

Now that we're done with programming paradigms, let's look at programming languages from the perspective of how humans and computers understand them.

Using this perspective, we can classify programming languages into 3 main types:

  • Machine Language: It is a collection of binary, decimal, or hexadecimal codes that the computer can understand. Programming in machine language is extremely hard, so it isn't normally used today.
  • Assembly Language: It is the intermediate language between high-level programming language and machine language and is primarily used to program microprocessors.

    The numerical codes of machine language are replaced by English words. As a result, we need an Assembler to translate assembly language to machine code.
  • High-Level Programming Language: Machine and assembly languages are also called low-level programming languages (since they are very close to machine code).

    By contrast, high-level languages are much closer to English and are thus much easier for humans to use and understand. All modern programming languages are high-level languages. Thus, they use either a compiler or an interpreter to convert their programs to machine code.

To learn more, visit What is a Programming Language?

Different Types of Computer Programmers

Computer Programming includes all sorts of different professions such as web developers, database administrators, data scientists, AI researchers, and many more.

The table below lists some of the most popular programming professions and what they do:

Programmer Type

Job Performed

Front-End Web Developer

* Handle client-side functions of the site.

* Build the structure and content of the website using HTML.

* Add unique designs and layouts using CSS.

* Add functionality to the website using JavaScript.

Back-End Web Developer

* Handle server-side functions of the site.

* Handle the core logic of the website.

* Connect the website to a database.

* Ensure the signup/login features work properly, etc.

Software Developer

Develop programs and software for various devices, especially desktop computers.

Android Developer

Develop apps for Android mobiles and tablets.

iOS Developer

Develop apps for Apple devices.

AI Researcher

Use machine learning algorithms and other skills to develop and research artificial intelligence.

Data Analyst

Organize and statistically analyze large amounts of data for knowledge.

Database Administrator

Manage and manipulate databases.

Game Developer

Develop games for various platforms and consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation, PC, etc.

Cybersecurity Analyst

Test for security vulnerabilities and malicious codes in websites, software, and operating systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which type of programming language should I learn first?

You should choose your first programming language based on what type of programming you want to do. For example, if you want to become a web developer, you should start by learning JavaScript (a scripting language) combined with HTML and CSS.

But for other purposes, you should start with Python, which is a simple, easy-to-understand scripting language. This can be a good starting point even for aspiring web developers.

To learn more, check our guide on choosing your first programming language.

2. What do you mean by low-level and high-level programming languages?

Low-level programming languages are much closer to machine code, i.e., codes written in 0's and 1's (binary codes). As a result, programs written in these languages execute much faster. Machine language and assembly language are the two major types of low-level programming languages.

By contrast, high-level programming languages are much closer to English. As a result, they are easier to code and result in fewer errors. But they need a compiler or interpreter to translate the program into machine code, resulting in slower program execution.

All modern programming languages are high-level languages.

3. What do you mean by assembly language?

Assembly languages are low-level programming languages that use simple English words and numbers for programming. They are mostly used to program computer hardware like microprocessors and microcontrollers.

While assembly languages do make use of common English words such as ADD, SUB, JUMP, MOVE, etc., these keywords are usually non-descriptive and followed by hexadecimal numbers. As a result, assembly language is far closer to machine code than English.

4. What are the four types of computer programming?

The four types of computer programming are