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13 Words to enhance your Programming Vocabulary

Need to practice for a computer science exam? Or you keep hearing these programming terms but don’t know what they mean?
This article provides you with a selection of common programming vocabulary to enhance your personal programming knowledge.

Table of Contents


A program that reads human-readable source code and translates it into machine code, so the computer can read and execute it.


Programs written in specific programming languages (such as C# or Java) need a particular environment to run in, providing additional functionality. This is called runtime. Common examples are Java Runtime, .Net Framework.


Focusing on the crucial information only, ignoring irrelevant detail


A list of steps to finish a task.


A way of representing information using only two options.

Machine Code / Native Code

The type of code a computer can understand, consisting of zeros and ones (See Binary).


An abbreviation of “Binary Digit.” A bit is a single unit of information in a computer, typically represented as a 0 or 1.


An (often unexpected) error in a program prevents the program from running as expected.


The most common fundamental unit of digital data. A single byte consists of 8 bits.

Computational Thinking

Computers help us to solve problems. Before the computer can work on a problem, computational thinking helps us understand and break down the problem. This includes decomposition, pattern matching, abstraction, algorithms. See also dev.to for more details.


Statements that only run under certain conditions, for instance: if statement


The process of finding and fixing a bug (problem) in a program.


A placeholder for a piece of information that can change. It can be text, a number, or another data type.


A loop (forwhile) is a programming language construct that allows the developer to specific steps repetitively.

Final Thoughts

This is a small selection of common programming vocabulary. I recommend using this blog post as a template for your own personal file of vocabulary. Then, whenever there’s a word you don’t understand, add it to this list and either ask another developer for an explanation or look it up online.

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