What is Binary Code and Binary System

Binary code is a computer language that helps enables the computers to communicate as well as to process the information that it is provided with. Human being communicates with each other using signs, numbers, symbols, letters and even sounds – we use all of our sense to communicate with the people or even animals in our environment. However, computers do not have that luxury. As such, they use a very different method. They use 1s and 0s. The 1s and 0s are what we call binary. Binary code is the method of communication i.e. a string of binary numbers

Understanding the Binary Code

With technology having its grasp in almost all parts of the earth, the term binary has become close to a household name, though not literally. However, not many who know the term binary understand what it means as such, the internet is often flooded with this question, ‘what is binary?’. What you should understand in the world of computer is that the term binary is never used alone. It always has another word following it. As such, there is a binary system or even binary code, which is what you will learn about. Trying to understand the term binary in itself can be pretty challenging if you are not a tech guy or a geek.

How the binary code works

This code works by representing colors, letters, and symbols i.e. general content, in the form of any computer system and it is able to understand. It does this by splitting the content into a numeric string of numbers consisting of only two digits, 1 and 0.  The computer is able to do this as it passes electrical impulses and can either be on or off. These two digits are used to represent the two states. To understand this more, you should first understand how a chip works in the computer.

The chip of a computer is made up of millions and millions of transistors that behave more like the switch that operates the bulb that you have at home. If you want some light, all you have to do is switch on the transistor and current will flow to the bulb lighting it. However, if you switch it off, the bulb goes off due to the interruption of the current. The switching behavior is similar to that of the chips in the transistor in that they only can be on or off.

Each and every command is given to a computer is interpreted into the binary language and the computers put up on the screen can be understood easily after conversion of the binary numbers to letters. For instance, the first three letters of the alphabet, A, B and C and are represented as; 01000001, 01000010, 01000011 respectively.

As you would imagine, humans do not use 0s and 1s to communicate. As such, it would take us eons to understand a single simple statement from a computer. The computers, on the other hand, understand them easily and take only seconds to translate our language.

The faster the processor of a computer, the faster it will translate and communicate in the binary form.


For as long as most people in the current generation have lived, computers have been around. There is no doubt that over time they have changed to become smaller, better looking, faster and even possess better display and features, however, not much in their basic programming and interpretation has changed and this is thanks to the binary system. Unfortunately, not many people understand what this term means unless one is a programmer of course and this is because, most of the people are more fixated on what gives them a better experience like speed, storage space, and graphics and not really what makes the computer tick. However, you’re about to get an inside look at that and finally understand how the computer works.

As you may already know, the term binary refers to anything that comes in twos. While the number two does not feature in the binary system, there are two numbers that are constants and come in very handy in making the computer function. Binary is a system of 0s and 1s that are used in an alternating form to help you communicate to the computer so that it is able to relay the information that you’re inserting. In a simpler form, the 0s and 1s are the basis and foundation of the language of computer programming.

Why is the Binary System the preferred method in Computer programming?

Initially, computers were not designed to use the binary system. However, after much deliberation and contemplation, the binary system was the system that was deemed fit and realistic for use in the computers. Here are some of the reasons as to why this was the case and perhaps the same could serve as benefits of the binary system.

Digital computers understand only one of two things no more no less.

The modern era of computers operates in two states. Take for example either being on or off. In this case, the ‘On’ is given a value of one and the ‘Off’ is given a value of 0. With that in mind and the fact that the binary system is composed of 0 and 1 which are referred to as bits, you should also know that each of this numbers represents a switch. If you put together enough of these switches, then you have limitless possibilities as to how you can pair the numbers to pass different messages.

Storage is standardized.

The other reason as to why binary is considered is primarily because as opposed to what many may think, all numbers will be stored in binary and hence the storage capacity is more or less the same. Take the number 150 for instance which in binary appears as 10010110. It’s binary phase may sound and feel much larger but either way, they both get stored in the binary form since it is the only one that the computer understands and hence the issue of storage being overused by binary is never raised.

It is simpler for the machine.

Finally, the other reason why the binary system is the preferred method of communication between a computer’s hardware and software is because it is easy enough for the computer. As stated earlier, the computer understands either on or off which is dictated by the presence of current or lack thereof. With that in mind, all the computer’s processor has to do when presented with the bits (the binary) decides which ones to turn on and which ones go off. Take the earlier example of 150 for instance. In a processor, this will be represented as 10010110. Therefore, the processor will supply current to the ones and cut off power to the 0s since the 1s refer to the on the state.

That sounds pretty easy, especially for a computer right? That is because it actually is. That is why the binary system is the most preferred language for a computer and it may not be taking a hike anytime soon.