Should Programmers Be Good at Math?

Blog Wednesday March 10th, 2021

Should Programmers Be Good at Math?


Programmers may seem very “scientist” because every day they struggle with coding. But then the question arises, “if I want to become a programmer, do I have to have strong math skills?”

Should Programmers Be Good at Maths?

“What if I’m not good at math but I’m very interested in coding?”

It cannot be denied that the first programmers were mathematicians. These mathematicians compiled the initial codes in the programming world. However, decades ago there was no programming department at the university, so the people who did programming at that time were probably people who studied mathematics.

Today universities have provided programming courses. Students studying computer science or computer engineering may indeed be struggling with a lot of math. But in everyday programming practice (especially in web development) mathematics is not that essential.

Mathematics is really needed in certain branches of programming, for example, if you work in 3D rendering engines, GIS applications, cryptography, blockchain, AI, and machine learning. But still, the math needed above is math that is not taught in schools.

Mathematics is needed for programmers to understand the complexities of an algorithm, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find new algorithms, at least in the first few years of your career as a programmer.

So what do you need most as a programmer?

A programmer needs skills, especially problem-solving. Mathematics taught in schools trains us to solve a problem which eventually makes us accustomed to being problem solvers.

Some mathematical concepts are sometimes needed, for example, calculus and algebra, or logic, but only the basics. You don’t need to know the complexity of numbers, probabilities, equations, graphs, exponentials, and algorithms, limits, derivatives, integrals, etc.

So, the conclusion is, to become a programmer you don’t need to be really good at math. So don’t be discouraged if your current math scores are mediocre, you can still have a career as a programmer. Mathematical basics are still needed.

What you need to know, being a programmer must be strong in problem-solving and the willingness to continue learning. Without it, it is impossible to have a career as a successful programmer.

Well, if you want to program in specialized fields such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, etc. then that’s where your math skills are taken into account. However, still, the math that is needed is not mathematics that is taught at school, but mathematics that is highly complex.


Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

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