Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more


This step will provide us with a brief introduction to the concepts of data encoding, as well as some common encoding types.

In this step, you’ll be introduced to the concept of data encoding as well as some common encoding types.

Important terms in this video


In this scenario, decimal refers to a number system with a base grouping of ten numbers. Counting begins at zero, goes up to nine, and then starts again at zero.


Hexadecimal refers to a number system with a base of 16. Counting begins at zero, goes up to nine, then moves to the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F, before starting again at zero. The decimal number 16 would be represented with an F in hexadecimal, and 30 would be represented by the hexadecimal value 1E.


A binary number system has two possible values; zero or one. This is the basis for many computing and other electronic systems. A binary value of 11110 would translate to a hexadecimal value of 1E and a decimal value of 30.


The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is a character encoding standard for electronic communication. ASCII codes represent text in computers, telecommunications equipment, and other devices, and can be stored in a variety of number systems as described above.

For instance, the symbol Z can be represented in code as 101 1010 for binary, 90 for decimal, or 5A for hexadecimal.

Unicode Transformation Format-8/16

Unicode Transformation Format (UTF) -8 bit or -16 bit are encoding formats that store values in one to four bytes. UTF-8 is backwards compatible with ASCII and is the preferred encoding for email and web pages. UTF-16 is used in major operating systems and environments such as Microsoft Windows, Java, and .NET frameworks.

In the next activity, you’ll be introduced to the data storage options available on Microsoft Azure.

Note: To learn more about converting from decimal to binary or hexadecimal, take a look at this resource. Or, you can use a free online calculator such as this one. To learn more about encoding, have a look at this W3Schools document.
This article is from the free online

Microsoft Future Ready: Fundamentals of Big Data

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education