If you are struggling with programming logic, you are not alone. Do “if-then” statements bring on panic attacks? Are you having difficulty choosing a logical operator to produce the desired result? Much of computer programming logic is based on formal logic, specifically mathematical logic. For example,
If A >B and B>C,
If A = 10, B = 6, C=4,
Mathematical operators such as greater than, less than, or equal to are also used in programming to create logical instructions for a computer to execute.
Using Logic in Programming
A program will use at least two of the five basic programming elements.
- Inputs are instructions and data given to the computer.
- Outputs are the results of the inputs as returned by the computer.
- Arithmetic operations perform mathematical calculations on data.
- Conditional constructs determine if a result is true or false.
- Looping instructs the computer to move through a series of instructions until a condition is met.
For example, the end-user inputs a card number into a form. The program checks to see if the card number is valid by counting the number of digits in the card number. If the number of digits does not match the set value, the computer outputs an error message. If the number of digits matches, an acceptance message displays. The program loops through the instructions until the correct number of digits are entered.
Breaking down the steps in the process results in programming logic for an if-then-else statement such as the following. The example statement is written in C.
if (card = 16)
printf( “Card Number Accepted”);
printf(“Invalid Card Number”);
Using logic means thinking through the individual commands executed to achieve the desired results, keeping in mind the five basic programming elements.
Logic is human reasoning that is conducted according to strict principles or rules. Programming logic is a set of principles that delineates how elements should be arranged so a computer can perform specific tasks. Logical thinking, whether programming or formal, means applying principles in a disciplined manner to achieve an acceptable result.
Logical thinking skills use progressive analyses to ascertain the available options and to decide on the best solution after weighing all pros and cons. Further, logical thinking is a skill that improves with use. The more opportunities you have to apply those skills the better your critical thinking skills become. That applies not only to logical thinking in general but also to logical thinking in computer science.
Practice is the only way to develop programming logic skills. Logic skills are always evolving as new features are added to programming languages or new development challenges appear. Programming logic is especially crucial in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning where the code is attempting to emulate the human thought process.
That being said, visualizing the logical relationships can help you see what the connections are among the different data points. Although there are plenty of programs to help with visualization, paper and pencil is often the better choice. There’s something about the physical act of drawing that helps keep a mind focused. Don’t worry about notations or conventions. This is a diagram for you to use as a way to develop your skills.
Code challenges are a great way to exercise your logical thinking skills. Many social platforms offer code challenges. Further, some platforms rank solutions or have other means of encouraging healthy competition. Here is a great article that lists some code challenge platforms.
Improving Your Programming Logic
Aside from practice, learn more about data structures, algorithms, and paradigms. Becoming familiar with existing methods can help you recognize possible solutions for specific logic problems in your code.
Studying proven solutions to programming problems helps your understanding, especially with documented pros and cons. By looking at existing algorithms and associated data structures, you will be challenged to follow the underlying logic which will improve your programming logic.
One place to start is a sorting algorithm. Use a deck of cards as a way to visualize the algorithm. Shuffling a deck of cards mimics the random numbers in a sorting algorithm. Use the cards and programming logic until you have a thorough understanding of how the algorithm works.
Cleaning Your Code
Cleaning up your code can help you identify ways to improve your coding skills. You can learn how to make your code elegant and easy to read. As you work on cleaning up your code, you will also be able to follow the logic more easily and identify areas for improvement. When you’re faced with reviewing the logic of 300 lines of code with single-character variables, you’ll appreciate clean code.
Programming paradigms are models that have distinct methods for solving problems. The four most common programming paradigms are:
- Procedural is a programming paradigm that uses procedure calls where statements are structured into subroutines, also known as a top-down paradigm.
- Object-oriented is a framework where objects are instances of classes. The objects contain the state and behavior of the class.
- Functional programming paradigms are mathematical constructs that use pure functions. Pure functions take a list of inputs and wait for an output of a return value.
- Logical paradigms use statements to express rules based on mathematical foundations.
Again there are ways to learn from existing constructs to better prepare to address programming logic. They are tools to keep in your toolkit when deciding the best logical construct for a programming problem.
How Logic Helps in Programming
Logic helps organize code and enables programs to run more efficiently when implemented properly. A well-written code helps the readability of the code. Without properly applied logic, programs cannot produce the expected outputs. If you are interested in learning more about programming logic, look into the software developer program powered by Woz U. Indeed, the program improves your programming logic.