Cover image for It all begins from Abacus

It all begins from Abacus

joshualevy84 profile image Joshua Levy ・2 min read

For me, starting out as a total beginner was getting to grips with the whole 1 to 10 numbering system and "transforming" it to 0 to 9. Therefore, for me to understand this, I took a look at the abacus, an adder.

The abacus, also called a counting frame, is a calculating tool that was in use in the ancient Near East, Europe, China, and Russia, centuries before the adoption of the written Arabic numeral system. The exact origin of the abacus is still unknown. Today, abacuses are often constructed as a bamboo frame with beads sliding on wires, but originally they were beans or stones moved in grooves of sand or on tablets of wood, stone, or metal.

Tracing it's origins dating back 5000 years, I saw there is no number 10. It begins from 0 and ends with a 9, for creating the number 10, you need two lines - 1 + 0 which effectively reads as 10. Here lies the origins of the computer system and all it's science associated with it.

As I embark on my degree-less journey to computer science. It is important to debunk some of the myths surrounding this field of science, which I observed during my research.

1. Mythbuster - You must be mathematical genius

Contrary to what most people, no you DON'T have to be mathematical genius. Any person, from the street, clever, idiot, foolish or anyone who you might think can do computer science. The only thing what matters is the thinking mindset, I will come to this a bit later.

2. Mythbuster - You become a computer engineer by getting an engineering degree!

No you don't!, the main reason is that computer science is applied science, which means you need to apply what you learnt during your course at a university or a college. I know many engineers who call themselves engineers, and yet don't know how to code properly or think analytically.

3. Mythbuster - You think you are an engineer by randomly start learning some programming language, just because it's the most popular language.

Again this is not true! and let me explain, learning a language (be it C, Python, English, Japanese, Russian, Hindi, C++, etc..) is one thing, and applying it in reality is quite another thing. The most important thing is what can you do with it, and this will effectively command your respect and income with employers and peers. It's like saying I can speak English, by learning from some English grammar book, but I cannot hold conversations in English!. The same principle applies in computer language as well. Our brain uses the simple principle in learning, there is absolutely no difference either learning physical language or computer language, for your brain it's the same thing. If you are good in whatever language you learnt, you be employable.

For me, it is important to understand the very basics of computers, i.e., getting down to 0s and 1s and understand how they work and how I can work with them. In the next section I will outline my learning process and roadmap.

Please feel free to add your viewpoints in the comments below.

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joshualevy84 profile

Joshua Levy


I'm Joshua Levy an eager and inquisitive person looking to "get my hands dirty" in computing. I would like to become a computer engineer, or something to that equivalent using self-study.


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