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Pseudocode: Definition, Characteristics & Examples

Last updated: Nov 28, 2023

Pseudocode: Definition, Characteristics & Examples
Cover image: Illustration of pseudocode as a symbolic code composed in simple language.

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Pseudocode is commonly used by DevOps engineers, programmers, and software engineers in the programming world.

The use of pseudocode structure is much simpler, making it easy to understand for individuals with any background.

In software development, it is a highly useful code for planning and illustrating program algorithms before they begin writing the actual code in a specific programming language.

To better understand “what is pseudocode”, its characteristics, notation, and how to create it, make sure to read the following discussion below.

What is Pseudocode?

Illustration of a Developer Writing Pseudocode in Programming Activities
Figure 1: Illustration of a Developer Writing Pseudocode in Programming Activities

The act of writing code and working with programming languages has become an essential routine for both web developers and programmers.

In general, developer teams use various programming languages such as JavaScript, SQL, or Python.

In order to successfully develop and execute a program, a System Analyst must arrange and ensure that the code instructions and the flow of these instructions run smoothly and meet the specified requirements.

In the realm of programming, even minor errors in character writing can have severe consequences. That's why programmers employ this code to create a "blueprint" for a program.

Some programming languages, like JavaScript, which are primarily designed to be human-readable, can still be challenging to grasp. 

In such cases, this kind of code serves as a form of symbolic code composed in simple language to ensure it can be easily comprehended by individuals from diverse technical backgrounds.

The Characteristics of Pseudocode

To further understand the concept of what is pseudocode, it's essential to grasp the following characteristics:

  • It lacks standardized syntax rules, allowing development teams to compose it based on their own style and preferences.
  • It is typically written in English to facilitate integration into programming languages.
  • It is not considered a programming language; it solely serves as symbolic code with a temporary nature.
  • It is generally more concise compared to actual programming language algorithms.
  • It is not represented in diagram form, as it is often written in a sequential order to address specific events or issues.
  • It employs a universally understandable language to ensure accessibility and comprehension by various individuals, regardless of their programming backgrounds.

Pseudocode Functions

Illustration of the Usage of Pseudocode
Figure 2: Illustration of the Usage of Pseudocode

This symbolic code helps developer teams understand the flow and logic in the program development process before it is transformed into actual programming language scripts.

Now that you understand what is pseudocode, let's delve further into its functions for programmers through the following points:

1. Initial Program Documentation

Before programmers commence writing actual code in a specific programming language, they can outline the steps and workflow of the program using this kind of code. 

Consequently, its is highly beneficial in the planning and documentation of the work plan before more detailed implementation.

2. Enhanced Algorithm Readability

Compared to source code written in a programming language, it can be more easily understood by various individuals, including individuals who may not be familiar with a specific programming language. 

This is why the structure is often employed in designing prototypes and illustrating algorithms to be implemented in a particular programming language.

3. Interpreting Flowchart Logic

In the program development process, this code also helps in detailing the steps to be taken in a process without being tied to a specific programming language. 

With this code, developers can more easily comprehend the concepts present in a flowchart, along with the syntax and logic required in a specific programming language. 

This streamlines the software development process and can help reduce the potential for errors or misunderstandings when converting flowchart flow into actual code.

4. Facilitating Inter-Team Communication

One of the main purposes is to facilitate effective and efficient communication among developer teams. 

This code is not composed in complex programming languages, hence it is often used to explain logic and algorithm steps without being confined to a specific programming language.

5. Reducing Code Writing Errors

Fundamentally, this code is used to help navigate the presence of bugs in a program before the actual algorithm is constructed. 

Therefore, it can also help reduce the potential time wasted on debugging during software development.

6. Universal and Unbound by Programming Languages

Developers from various backgrounds can contribute to and understand algorithms without needing in-depth knowledge of the programming language used in the implementation.

Pseudocode Notation

These notations are a series of codes typically used to facilitate communication and functions in each programming code. In order to better understand what is pseudocode notation, ensure you grasp the complete explanation below! 


The "INPUT" notation is used to indicate the process of entering a value into a variable. This notation is commonly used in data retrieval from users or other sources.


The "OUTPUT" notation is generally used to show the output or result of an algorithm.

3. FOR

The "FOR" notation depicts a counting loop with a clear iteration. Typically, this loop will execute for a specified number of iterations.


The "WHILE" notation is a vital element used to outline loops in an algorithm. With this notation, a process will repeat as long as a specific condition is met. In this process, the code is responsible for detailing the looping condition clearly.


This notation is used to describe a loop with an end condition. In other words, a process will repeat until a certain condition is met. This sets it apart from "WHILE," which requires the initial condition to be met.


The "IF-THEN-ELSE" notation is used to illustrate decision-making based on various conditions. If a condition is met ("IF"), a certain action is taken ("THEN"), and if not, an alternative action can be taken ("ELSE").


Use '#' or '//' (similar to programming languages) to provide comments or explanations for each step (e.g. # Example comment text). 

8. Variable Initialization

This notation can be used to indicate how variables are initialized and given initial values. (e.g. x = 0).

9. Functions and Procedures

Using FUNCTION_NAME(parameter) to indicate the call of a function or procedure (e.g. total = CALCULATE_TOTAL(x, y)).

Pseudocode Structure

In general, the structure of this code consists of five main parts: 

  • Program Title: Contains the primary title of the algorithm or program to be executed.
  • Declarations: Encompasses essential information such as constants or variables within the algorithm.
  • Algorithm Implementation: The core part that contains processes, steps, or commands. You can organize the algorithm into multiple sections like loops (FOR), operations, and conditionals (IF/ELSE).
  • Output: After processing the algorithm, the code may include steps for displaying output or storing results in variables.
  • Error Handling (Optional): If the algorithm requires error handling, the code can also be used to address such situations.

Tips on How to Make Pseudocode

This symbolic code has no standard syntax. Hence, if you are a beginner in the world of programming or currently learning about the definition and how to implement it, here is a series of ways on how to make pseudocode: 

1. Understand the Purpose of Programming

The first step is to understand the purpose of a programming activity. In this regard, you need to identify the basic steps required to achieve that goal.

2. Write The Code Descriptively

In this stage, you need to write simple text descriptions that explain the algorithm or the steps of the program's solution. 

Ensure that the code is specific and consistent, especially in the use of capital letters. Use capital letters for command codes, such as ELSE, IF, THEN, FOR, or other notations.

3. Use Indentation

Some programming languages like Python are often written using indentation. Although this code does not have its own rules, using indentation can make it easier to read its notations.

4. Keep the Code Simple

Then, make sure to keep the code simple and easily understandable by avoiding too many technical terms. 

By doing so, you can help readers, especially those with limited programming knowledge, understand the program's logic and flow.

5. One Statement per Line

This approach can help you focus on solving one problem at a time. One clear and specific statement typically describes one step in the algorithm. 

Therefore, the "one statement per line" principle can facilitate understanding and program development while minimizing the potential for errors in software development.

6. Provide Space Between Blocks

To ensure that all the components are well-organized and easy to read, you can use spaces between algorithm "blocks."

7. Review Your Pseudocode

During this review, you can examine several aspects, such as:

  • Ensure that the code is easy to read and understand by others.
  • Ensure that the code’s logic, steps, and statements are consistent, unambiguous, and non-overlapping.
  • Scrutinize the code to check for errors or bugs in the logic flow, and correct them immediately if any are found.
  • Make sure that the code’s logic can be converted into a specific programming language.

Example of Pseudocode

To further enhance your understanding, here is a simple example of such code in a program for calculating the area of a circle.

Illustration of Pseudocode Example in A Program
Figure 3: Illustration of Pseudocode Example in A Program

That concludes the comprehensive explanation of what is pseudocode, its characteristics, structure, notations, and how to create one to support programming activities.

After reviewing the discussion above, you should now understand that this symbolic code can be used in problem-solving or optimizing a website with SEO strategies. 

If you lack credible resources in the field of programming and need assistance from a professional full-stack developer team in website development, consider the SEO Services by cmlabs.

The SEO services by cmlabs will help you create a website that can dominate the digital search space through the empowerment of SEO-friendly articles. Let's collaborate and contact cmlabs Marketing Team now!

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