When getting all the difficult programming assignments from school it is very reasonable to start wondering if coding for a company that you are going to work for one day is just as difficult. This is because most school programming assignments in College and University expect you to code everything from scratch, while at the same time solving a typically difficult problem that requires some thought. However, working in a company you will focus mostly on software releases of a product that has been out for some time and that the company will not even think about wasting time writing it from scratch.
One has to understand that for corporate programming you will be mostly looking at solving problems that represent of client needs. In school assignments however, you are given a problem presented by very intellectual professors that have been researching complex problems in both computer science and engineering for years. Now based on those two differences one should be able to see how the nature of the coding will be different. You are meant to practice the different concepts taught to you by actually going ahead and coding these concepts in the form of very hard problems. In more advanced years you will actually be coding whole operating systems and computer architectures yourself, which is a very complex and redundant task to do in the corporate world. So you can see how academic programming is mostly designed to help you exercise the concepts given to you in your textbooks that are often very difficult to figure out.
Now to understand the programming that you will do for a company you have to understand their client needs. Everything that you will be coding will be based on that almost completely. You will be solving the problems that clients present to you and then implementing them in your code in the form of improvements and defects. The planning phases involved with corporate programming focus on increasing the stability of the software product through rigorous testing as well. Testing is something that you will barely touch in school but in the industry it will have to be done by you at almost every step of a software release. There is daily, weekly and monthly testing that products go through that are designated to either permanent testers on the team or developers that have to do some of their own testing on the code they work on.
So I hope you saw the main differences between academic and corporate programming. So now when you make the transition from school to work you will see how these differences will affect the way you thought about programming and will either interest you more or or detract you since one is based on academic inquiry and the other on client needs.