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The Universal Language

Someone once said that coding is the universal language. Is this true? Let’s take a look.


Multiple definitions have been presented for “language.” Some say that language is a system of words or codes used within a branch of knowledge. Others say that it’s a system of communication using symbols or sounds. Linguist Noam Chomsky defined language as a set of sentences constructed using a finite set of elements. 


Regardless of which definition you use, language necessarily includes the following components:


  • There must be a vocabulary of words or symbols.
  • There must be a meaning attached to those words or symbols.
  • There must be grammar, which is a set of rules that outline the use of the vocabulary.
  • There must be a syntax to organize the symbols into a linear structure to communicate an idea.
  • There must be a narrative consisting of a string of syntax.
  • There must be a group of people who use and understand the symbols. 


Coding meets all of these requirements. While there are a plethora of different coding languages such as Python, Java, C#, and more, a software engineer in the US that understands Java (for example) will know and understand the code written by an engineer on the other side of the planet, even if they don’t speak the same verbal language.


The key to building an effective and profitable system is to have effective and efficient communication between the development team and the project manager. Assuming there is not a language barrier, sometimes a cultural barrier can stand in the way of good communication. An advantage of working with a team in Latin America is that the cultural similarities are such that communication barriers are rendered almost non-existent. A lot of the food and traditions that Americans enjoy come from this part of the world. Families are often spread over either side of our southern border. And Latin Americans have a close understanding of the American workplace culture. 


While the various coding languages may be universally understood amongst a variety of regions and cultures, it’s important to consider the cultural compatability that can drastically affect the profitability of your product or service.

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