From Amps to Apps

From Amps to Apps: How Computers Work is an approachable, hands-on guide to understanding how computers work, from low-level circuits to modern software. Coming in 2020! To be published by No Starch Press.

The Book

From Amps to Apps cover art

From Amps to Apps: How Computers Work takes an informal approach to topics often reserved for textbooks. Each chapter covers one foundational aspect of computing. Exercises and hands-on activities throughout are designed to help the reader learn. Exercises mostly involve mental problem solving, while hands-on activities require the reader to actually try various aspects of computing: building a circuit, writing software, and so forth.

Readers will learn about electrical circuits, learn how to read a circuit diagram, and build a working circuit. They’ll learn how computer hardware like processors, memory, and input/output work and fit together; how low-level machine code runs on a processor and how to examine the machine code of software running on a computer. They’ll gain an understanding of the differences between programming languages like C and Python; examine operating systems; use tools to explore their local network and the Internet, and build a simple web page.

The book’s primary goal is to give the reader a broad understanding of how computers work; to offer a big picture view of computing and the foundational information needed to dig deeper into topics that interest them.

From Amps to Apps: How Computers Work will be published by No Starch Press.

The Author

Matthew Justice is a software engineer. He spent 17 years at Microsoft where he took on various roles, including debugging the Windows kernel, developing automated fixes, and leading a team of engineers responsible for building diagnostic tools and services. He has worked on low-level software (the operating system) and on software far removed from the underlying hardware (such as web applications). Matthew has a degree in Electrical Engineering. When he's not writing code or building circuits, Matthew enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, reading, arranging music, and playing old video games.

Resources for Readers

Items referenced in the book:


You can pre-order From Amps to Apps: How Computers Work from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book retailers.