Is there a semantic difference between learn to code and learn coding? Can both forms be used interchangeably?

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    I would vote to close as NR – user21032 May 15 '12 at 19:50
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    Come to think of it, I suppose the question could be expanded to a more general case: learn to drive vs. learn driving, learn to golf vs learn golfing, learn to pierce ears vs learn ear piercing, etc. But the latter phrases sound awkward - so, perhaps: learn to box vs study boxing? – J.R. May 15 '12 at 20:00

I believe there's a slight difference. I'm going to explain by comparing learn to program with learn programming.

To learn to program means the student (or trainee) will learn how to write software. If the training is successful, the student will become a proficient programmer.

To learn programming, on the other hand, means the student will learn about programming. This might include, for example, programming principles, theory, and best practices. If the training is successful, the student will have a better understanding of the various nuances of programming.

There is a lot of overlap, no doubt, but they are not exactly the same thing (not in my mind, at least).

A programmer must learn to code. A software project manager might benefit from learning programming. After all, even if a manager never programs, such knowledge might help managers better understand the challenges faced by their programming teams.

  • nice (in both senses) distinction! – JeffSahol May 15 '12 at 20:49
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    -1, I disagree totally. Learn programming and learn to program are the same IMHO; neither means learn about programming. – Jez May 15 '12 at 21:25
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    @Jez: Fair enough. We weren't given a lot of context, and I merely explained how it struck me, when pressed to consider possible differences. – J.R. May 15 '12 at 21:29

Depending on context, learn coding (or learn programming) may mean learn while coding, i.e. learn by doing, learn from experience (as opposed to learning from books or taking classes). :-)

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