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14 Essential Coding Definitions Parents Should Know
collaboration, ed tech, parents, STEAM

As we’ve mentioned before, communication is a vital 21st Century skill, even in coding classrooms! However, students first need to learn the language of coding before they’re able to communicate well in coding classes with peers, instructors, and machines.

With that in mind, we’ve created a small glossary of important coding terms and definitions that any coder should understand! Parents – use these terms to quiz your child, or learn them yourself to better engage with their coding education and ask deeper questions!

  1. Front-End Web Development: Developing parts of a website which the user will directly interact with and see – typically involves HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

  2. Back-End Web Development: Developing the “guts” of a website, like the core logic and features only accessed by users indirectly
    Example: When you put in your shipping information online, you’re putting it into the website’s front-end, but the data is stored in the back-end

  3. HTML: Hypertext Markup Language – the standardized language for web development; gives the site its basic structure

  4. Element: An individual component of an HTML website - examples include titles, texts, and images

  5. Tag: HTML code that defines elements (like headers, paragraphs, and images), and helps determine their basic properties
    Example: <h1> means Header 1, and its basic property says to be a larger font-size than <h2> (Header 2), which should be a larger font-size than <p> (a paragraph)

  6. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets – the language used to control how HTML elements are displayed on a website; gives elements their formatting and layout
    Example: If you have a vertical line of photos on a page, HTML says which order they should go in, but CSS decides their height, width, border, and more!

  7. Classes: Names a developer gives to groups of HTML elements in order to inform CSS styling for that group
    Example: if you have three images you want to have the same border, but you don’t want ALL the images on your site to have a border, you give the three images a class and style the class

  8. Box Model: Representation of how elements are displayed on a website in boxes - each element consists of content, padding, border, and margin

  9. JavaScript: Programming language typically used to create interactive effects in websites; controls the functionality and behavior of websites

  10. Variables: Used to hold values for later use in functions, loops, etc. - data types include numbers, strings, and boolean (true/false)

  11. Function: “Subprograms” that take in input values, run pre-assigned actions, and return an output

  12. If-Else Statement: Conditional statements that run code based on the truth or falseness of a given parameter
    Example: If it’s past 5pm, say “Good evening.” Otherwise, say “Good day!”

  13. Loop: Repetition of an action for a predetermined number of cycles

  14. Visual Programming: Programming done via blocks rather than using programming language syntax
    Example: See MIT's Scratch program and Ardublock (learn more about our fall Scratch and Arduino classes!)

We hope this list will inspire some great conversations with your code-savvy children!

At Generation Code, we always make a point of helping students master relevant vocabulary to boost their technical learning. If you’re interested in learning more about our Vienna, VA after-school and Saturday classes, check out our Fall 2017 Schedule!

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