Hi, guys,

I just found this post on Tumblr and thought you'd like it. The original source is






The sentiment is probably related to the statement “Everybody should learn to code“: When newbies ask in forums if they need to be good at math to be a coder, they get the answer “No“. This either means “Don’t worry, you can pick up the required math as you go along“ or “I never needed to solve for X when I built Drupal themes“ or even “I got a C in Category Theory II in uni. As long as you remember the basics from high school, like proofs and equations, you’ll be fine”. It does not mean “No”.

You will definitely benefit from knowing math, because the skills used in math in school are very similar to those you need when learning to program. You need to manipulate formal symbol systems in your head. You need to build an abstract mental model of a deterministic but ridiculously complex machine. Skill in math is strong evidence of talent for programming.

Even “word problems“ are important. You need to formalize requirements from the real world in a way that a computer can understand them. This is what “word problems” are all about.

All programmers use certain mathematical concepts all the time, even when they don’t call it math. Set theory, classical logic, proofs (mostly by induction), polynomials and limits hide in every program.

Beyond that, you need probability, statistics, linear algebra and calculus if you want to do any kind of machine learning.

You need vector algebra and trigonometry in computer graphics or robotics.

You need to understand linear and non-linear dynamical systems if you want to design economy-heavy video games.

You need to understand statistics if you want to understand the performance under stress of operating systems, databases, load balancers and routers.

You can learn what you need while you go along. As I said, you don’t need to have an A in Category Theory to start learning. But even Category Theory really helps. Maybe you don’t see now how this abstract nonsense will benefit you, but I use the math I learned all the time.

This is one of my biggest pet peeve about the campaigns that attempt to get more people to code.  Please be honest about the math :/


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