All You Need to Know About Plagiarism in Coding

Plagiarism, as we know, is present in most types of work. Whether it is the work related to art, literature, or music, plagiarism is something everyone in the field of creation fears. Plagiarism is largely found in programming today. It is common knowledge that a lot of work is put into every program we use today, and the developer has to research and deal with problems to make the program work as intended. For this reason, most programmers, especially individual developers use libraries and repositories to make their work a bit easier. Ironically, the root cause of plagiarism in coding is these libraries.

Get to Know Various Programming Languages

Just like human beings, computers also have a specific language that they understand. Unlike us, they have only a standard language, which they can comprehend. The language is called the binary language, and it is also known as the language of zeros and ones. Being understood only by machines, it is also called machine language. To make coding easier, there are other languages, which in turn get translated to binary by a translator, exclusive to the language that the user is using.

Some well-known languages in use are:

  1. Python: Python is one among the programming languages commonly used by coders. It is well-known for its flexibility and the vast number of libraries and packages. Python is used in a lot of programs that we know today; however, it is mostly used in the field of artificial intelligence AI. This is one of the few reasons why python has gained so much reputation.
  2. JavaScript: A popular programming language, JavaScript is most commonly used to make interactive elements of a program. Other than this, the language allows you to program various other elements such as AI and other useful software. The examples of companies that uses JavaScript are Uber, Netflix, LinkedIn and even popular games such as Candy Crush.
  3. C++: The first ever programming language that most students have exposure to is C++. Apart from being a good starting point for young learners, it is a powerful programming language that promotes object-oriented programming language. It provides a lot of utility to its user and allows him or her to make applications and games. In fact, the popular game called Mine Craft windows 10 edition is written in C++ language.

These are a few popular programming languages that most coders use today, but these are not the only languages out there. There are countless other languages that can be equally good and worth learning.

How Does Plagiarism Occur in Coding?

Coming back to the topic of plagiarism, any code which is copied without valid authorization or credits to the original code shall be considered source code plagiarism. There are many ways this can happen. One of the most common methods is while referring to a code repository or a forum such as a stack overflow. Most cases of plagiarism occur in academic assessments. One among the few reasons for this is, in colleges and schools, students are assessed not only based on the completion of the assessment, but also in terms of academic integrity. Therefore, the student is expected to submit original work for the most part. Furthermore, while coding at home or at work, he or she is free to refer to any source material, and even copy it to some extent with or without providing credits.

Programming plagiarism is not prominent outside educational institutions because of the vast number of libraries and free-to-use codes available on the Internet. Moreover, there are dedicated communities on the Web that aim to help new and amateur coders. Though these communities are very helpful, there is a good chance that students exploit this fact. If all they have to do is to ask for the source code online and get the answer for it, there is no need to conduct the assessment in the first place. The major motive of assigning projects to students is to test their understanding and the use of repositories does not fulfill that motive.

Tips to Avoid Plagiarism in Coding

Having your assessment rejected for plagiarizing a line of code can be really frustrating, and this is why avoiding plagiarism is important. Here are some tips to write a program without plagiarizing.

  1. Using Plagiarism Checkers: If you think that plagiarism checkers are only for text files, then you are wrong. There are some advanced tools on the Internet that can find copied lines of code. These similarity checkers have the ability to find both partial plagiarism, as well as true plagiarism in your program. Moreover, it can find similarities even if you have used different variables.
  2. Learn When and How to Use External Source Code: This is one of the main issues that most students have. Even if you are allowed to use external repositories and libraries, there are certain limitations to it. You need to ensure that you keep your references within the recommended sources. Considering the fact that plagiarism detection tools can identify code similarity and provide URLs to the original source, your professor can easily see if you have followed the rules.
  3. Documenting Your References: When copying code from external sources is allowed, you should make sure that you cite your references. You can do this by commenting the sources in the main file itself. This helps your instructor know whether the particular block of code is copied or a unique code.
  4. Try to Code on Your Own: Though it is quite difficult to brainstorm and find solutions to the problems on your own, and not to mention the countless errors which may occur, it is quite safe as well as rewarding. Moreover, finding out the solution and rectifying errors is the essence of learning how to program.

These are some of the few tips that will help you avoid plagiarism in coding. Programming can be time consuming, but it is truly a rewarding line of work with endless possibilities.

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