Ars Technica writer Matt Ford published a very interesting piece on programming that everyone — I do mean it — can follow and understand. It basically explains how computers work and it explains that very well.
At their base, even though they run much of the world, computers are one thing: stupid. A computer knows nothing. Its brain is little more than a large collection of on/off switches. The fact that you can play video games, browse the Internet, and pump gas at a gas station is thanks to the programs the computers have been given by a human. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the basic concepts of computer programming: how a person teaches a computer something and how the ideas encapsulated in the program go from something we can understand to something a computer understands.
First, it needs to be said that programming is not some black art, something arcane that only the learned few may ever attempt. It is a method of communication whereby a person tells a computer what, exactly, they want it to do. Computers are picky and stupid, but they will indeed do exactly as they are told. Therefore, each program you write should be like an elegant recipe that anyone—including a computer—can follow. Ideally, each step in a program should be clearly described and, if it is complicated, broken down into smaller steps to remove all doubt about what is to happen.