The importance of Pseudocode

Sin Wildy
3 min readMar 1, 2021

According to The Economic Times* the definition of Pseudocode is as follows: “Pseudocode is an informal way of programming description that does not require any strict programming language syntax or underlying technology considerations. It is used for creating an outline or a rough draft of a program. Pseudocode summarizes a program’s flow, but excludes underlying details. System designers write pseudocode to ensure that programmers understand a software project’s requirements and align code accordingly.”

In short, Pseudocode is the logical solution broken down into small parts using english language syntax. It is not a programming language. The Pseudocode is the initial stage before any programmer attempts to write any solution in an executable programming language. Pseudocode omits essential details that are required for machine understanding. Its sole purpose is to be readable by humans and used as a problem solving tool. Pseudocode is usually a step process in a top-down structuring approach. When used correctly, Pseudocode can minimize or eliminate conceptual errors.

Why is Pseudocode important even thought it is not an actual programming language?

The answer is simple. It is impossible for an individual to know all programming languages. The only way for an interviewer to determine whether the interviewee is suitable for the job role, is through pseudocode. Especially during an interview, when given a problem to solve, interviewers do not expect the interviewee to come up with the solution in perfect vocabulary and syntax in the language the job role requires. It is perceived, if the individual can draw up a good structured solution in pseudocode, then he/she has the ability to code in any language.

In a work environment, programmers use pseudocode to derive statements after gathering details, requirements, specifications and functionality. Those working on the same project regardless of job role, are able to scrutinize whether the pseudocode matches the design. Pseudocode is the stage where most of the errors are identified. Pseudocode may uncover unclear decisions, and side effects. It also allows the inputs and outputs to be defined. Once everyone involved is on board with the pseudocode, then the pseudocode is rewritten using the programming language.

I don’t believe there are any real disadvantages to using Pseudocode, except that pseudocode is not an executable program. However, the advantages are endless. The main advantages of using pseudocode is that it is universally understood by programmers no matter what language they specialize in. Even those that do not actually deal with code, such as Business Analyst are able to understand pseudocode. The theory remains the same for all programming languages. It allows programmers to break down on what is required to be done in detail to solve the problem. This allows programmers to focus on the actual solution, and leaves less room for errors.

Pseudocode is like a form of comments in the code which allows the programmer and the reader to understand what the code does. Not every programmer have the same coding style, Pseudocode can be used as an explanation to what the code does. This is particularly useful especially for complex code that involves nested loops.

Ain’t this fascinating, one can still ace the interview using pseudocode! So get practicing…

Pseudocode Examples**

1 -

If student’s grade is greater than or equal to 60

Print “passed”

else

Print “failed”

2 -

Set total to zero

Set grade counter to one

While grade counter is less than or equal to ten

Input the next grade

Add the grade into the total

Set the class average to the total divided by ten

Print the class average

*https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/definition/pseudocode

**https://www.unf.edu/~broggio/cop2221/2221pseu.htm

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