Do Programmers need to know hexadecimal

Do Programmers need to know hexadecimal?

Most programmers should not bother about learning hexadecimal except those working with low-level programming languages like Assembly, C, or C++. Frontend developers will also find Hexadecimal helpful when working with colors.

In my third year of Electrical Engineering, I took a Digital Electronics class, where we learned more about Binary, Hexadecimal, ASCII, and other numbering systems. Even though hexadecimal is used a lot in the computing world, I have not used it much in my programming journey.

For most programmers, hexadecimal is not something you will use every day, and not knowing hexadecimal will not affect your programming experience or your chances of getting a job.

You can easily make reference to hexadecimal values in case you need them, there are a lot of resources that will help you to understand and convert hexadecimal to any form you need or vice versa.

DECIMALHEXADECIMALBINARY
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
A
B
C
D
E
F
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
1A
1B
1C
1D
1E
1F
0
1
10
11
100
101
100
111
1000
1001
1010
1011
1100
1101
1110
1111
10000
10001
10010
10011
10100
10101
10110
10111
11000
11001
11010
11011
11100
11101
11110
111111
Hexadecimal example
Hexadecimal example

If you are interested in working with systems, microcontrollers, and other low-level stuff in digital electronics, being able to work with hexadecimal is a great advantage. A bonus point is there is not so much to learn about hexadecimal, they are easy to understand and convert.

WHY IS HEXADECIMAL USED BY PROGRAMMERS?

Programmers use hexadecimal because it is easier and more readable than binary. It is much easy to read 1a than 00011010, in case you are wondering, 1a (hexadecimal) is 26 in decimal, and 00011010 (binary) is 26 in decimal. You can see that 1a is easy to read and understand than 00011010.

Plus, you also save a lot of space and time using hex. You will be able to convey a lot of information without taking a lot of space using hex than binary. for example, with only 2 hexadecimal digits, you can denote any number from 0 (0) to 255 (FF).

To represent 255 (11111111) in binary, you will need 8 digits. Think of what this will be for very large numbers. You can easily see that hex is very helpful in such cases.

Though computers understand only binary, it is much easy and more convenient to work with Hexadecimal than binary. Most of the programmers will not write binary code in their programming journey.

USES OF HEXADECIMAL

Hexadecimal is useful for a number of things in programming, it can be used in machine code or assembly language to denote memory and network addresses.

Hex is also useful for colors in programming and other design software. For example, #FFAA54 helps programmers to understand how much red, green and blue has been applied.

DO PROGRAMMERS NEED TO KNOW BINARY?

Knowing binary for programmers is not necessary, but it is helpful to understand how binary works and convert binary to other numbering systems. You will most likely never write a computer instruction in binary

From the time I learned about Binary in Digital Electronics, I have been programming for years and I have never written a single digit in binary for any of my programming projects. It’s helpful to know binary but that’s just it, no need to bother.

CONCLUSION

Programmers do not need to know hexadecimal save for system programmers coding at a very low level using machine code, assembly, C, or C++. Hexadecimal is also useful for frontend developers working with colors, it helps them to understand the amount of red, green, and blue that has been applied.