A paradigm is a  way of looking at something, the closest name to paradigm is a model  or a blueprint.

Programming paradigms are different ways in which a program can be visualized and organized. 

Each paradigm describes how a computation problem should be tackled. The same programming problem can be viewed and solved differently depending on which  paradigm is being used.

A paradigm is not  a tool or a programming language and you can't use it to build anything  but understanding various paradigms can help you visualize programming problems in different perspectives and make informed decision on which is the most suitable way to tackle the problem.

most widely used programming paradigms

We cannot be able to cover every possible paradigm here, but we will look at the most popular ones.

Imperative programming

Imperative means giving an authoritative command according to the dictionary.

Imperative programming describes how a program operates step by step. Unlike Declarative programming which offers high description of the expected results,  imperative programming  issues step by step  commands on how to achieve the expected results.

One can also argue that any program  as a whole is still imperative  since in the end,  the statements to be executed are arranged in the order of execution.

The most basic example of an imperative language is machine language.

Other languages includes:

  • Pascal
  • C

Procedural programming

Procedural programming is a type of imperative programming  which  focuses in grouping statements  into procedures i.e functions.

C and C++ are commonly regarded as procedural languages. In these languages, every statement must be organized within one primary function called 'main'. The main function is required and acts as the entry point of the program.

Functional programming

In functional programming, functions are treated like any other datatype.You can assign  functions to  variables, pass them as arguments to other functions and even return them from other functions.

popular functional languages include:
  • Clojure
  • Racket
  • Haskell
  • Elixir
  • Common Lisp


Declarative programming

Declarative programming is the opposite of imperative programming.While imperative programming gives commands on how a problem will be tackled, declarative programming avoids dictating how to achieve the results.Declarative languages aims to describes the required results without describing the commands or steps that should be followed to achieve the said results.

types of declarative languages:
  • Query Languages e.g SQL 
  • Regular expressions(REGEX)

Object-oriented programming

Object-oriented programming is arguably the most powerful programming paradigm and most programming language though not all supports OOP in one way or another , in fact some languages like java  are entirely object-oriented so in such languages everything is viewed as an objects with properties and actions.Python is also one of the most popular object oriented languages though it also supports other paradigms.

in most programming languages including python, OOP is implemented using classes.

In OOP , entities are viewed   as object  akin to how we view physical objects. Each object will have a set of information known as properties or attributes and actions known as methods  associated with it. For example a person in OOP will have attributes such as name , age, gender, buddy etc and methods such as walk, cry , eat etc.

The power of OOP stems from how it creates a logical and intuitive way to simulate real life objects and activities. Objects can have relations with each , for example a person can have a pet associated with him , he can have a buddy which will be an instance of person object. 

advantages of OOP
  • offers high code reusability through inheritance.
  • Viewing programming entities as physical objects is more logical in most cases.
  • It is easy to break the work  into objects thus allowing us to wok with one object at a time.
  • It is more intuitive .
  • By using object inheritance we can eliminate redundancy in our code.
  • Easy to maintain and modify
  • Low development cost.
Disadvantages of OOP
  • Steep learning curve.
  • We cannot view every programming problem in terms of objects.
  • Require's high level of problem solving to create sophisticated objects.