A lot of individuals believe that in order to learn programming, you must have a strong math background. This is not the case, however. While mathematics may help you understand computer code, it is not required. In reality, many successful computer coders never took a single math class in their lives.
There are several specialized fields in programming, and most of them do not need a strong grasp of mathematics. You will not be able to code something complicated like a compiler, but you can earn a living as a programmer without ever needing to deal with difficult math.
If you’re weak in math, don’t give up hope. You may still learn programming and have a successful career in the field. Just concentrate on the areas that appeal to you and aren’t as reliant on mathematics knowledge.
You Don’t Need To Be A Math Wiz To Be A Programmer
I have worked as a software engineer in tech giants for close to 7 years, and I have honestly never used anything more than basic high school math. My job requires me to be able to solve a problem using existing algorithms, logic and business understanding. You can’t claim to be a good software engineer if you are strong at math but cannot understand the business context of the problem.
You do not need to be a math genius or have an innate understanding of complex equations to be a programmer. In fact, you don’t even need to like math. As long as you’re good at logic and problem-solving, you can learn programming without math and still be successful.
You are not expected to come up with a new algorithm to sort an array of numbers, for example. The point is to be able to understand the existing sorting algorithms and know when to apply them.
Similarly, you are not going to be building new math libraries from scratch. You will be using existing ones and incorporating them into your code. As long as you understand how to use them, you will be fine.
I don’t know where this idea of “you need to be good at math to learn programming” came from, but it is simply not true. It’s definitely conventional wisdom, but it is wrong. Maybe because the first “programming computers” were actually mathematicians, and the field has retained a bit of that reputation.
We also have a lot of math classes when studying Computer Science in college. That’s because, in general, it’s critical to understand Math in order to grasp the fundamentals of several computer science disciplines, and I am grateful that I did so. However, you do not need to know Math in order to be a good programmer.
That’s not to say that math is unimportant in programming. Mathematics can help you understand computer code, and a deep understanding of mathematical concepts can be helpful in some programming jobs. But if you don’t have a strong math background, don’t worry.
Programming Jobs That Do Not Require A Lot Of Math
There are plenty of other areas of programming that you can specialize in and have a successful career. Here are some of the programming jobs without needing much math at all –
Front End Development
Another popular field for those without a math background is mobile development. This area is exploding, and there are many jobs for programmers who know how to create apps for iOS and Android devices. The languages used in mobile development (Swift and Java) are relatively easy to learn, and you don’t need to be a math genius to do them.
System Administration (DevOps)
System administration is another great field for those who want to get into programming but don’t have a strong math background. This area generally requires more knowledge of computer systems than of mathematics. As long as you know how to keep a system running smoothly, you’ll do fine in this field.
Backend development is another field that doesn’t require a lot of math. This area deals with the behind-the-scenes operations of websites and apps, and most of the work is done using languages like Java, Python and Ruby. These languages are relatively easy to learn, even if you’re not a math whiz.
I have always been a backend developer, using algorithms to solve complex big data problems. I am not a math expert by any means, but I have done fairly well, and I have been able to grow my career without having to rely on my math skills.
Programming Jobs That Require A Strong Technical Background
There are some jobs in programming where a strong math background is needed. These jobs are typically in very technical or specialized fields. For example –
1. Data Science
If you are a data scientist using machine learning to understand huge data sets, you will need to be very good at math. Your day to day job will involve solving difficult equations and working with advanced mathematical concepts.
2. Creating New Algorithms
If you want to be a programmer who creates new algorithms, you will need to have an in-depth understanding of mathematics. This is because creating new algorithms generally requires a deep understanding of existing ones – something that can only be gained through extensive study of the subject.
3. Building Operating Systems
If you want to work on building an operating system, you need to have a strong math background. This is because operating systems are extremely complex, and require an in-depth knowledge of computer science concepts (which are heavily reliant on mathematics).
If you want to build a compiler for a programming language, you need to have a very strong math background. This is because compilers are responsible for translating code into a form that can be understood by computers. This is a highly technical process that requires a lot of mathematical knowledge.
Cryptographers also need to be very good at math. This is because they use mathematical algorithms to encode and decode information. Cryptography is a very specialized field, and requires a deep understanding of mathematics.
6. New Programming Language
If you are working on creating a new programming language, you will need to have an in-depth knowledge of compiler theory (which relies heavily on math).
7. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is another field where a strong math background is beneficial. This is because artificial intelligence is heavily reliant on mathematical concepts like probability and calculus.
8. Game Development
Game development is another area where math skills can come in handy. This is because game development requires a deep understanding of geometry and physics.
9. Computer Graphics
Computer graphics is another field that relies heavily on math. This is because computer graphics are created by simulating the physical world using mathematical equations.
10. Network Engineering
Network engineering is another field that requires a strong math background. This is because network engineering involves designing and maintaining computer networks, which is a highly technical process that relies heavily on mathematical concepts.
These are just a few examples – there are other jobs in programming that require a strong math background. But for the vast majority of programming jobs, math is not necessary.
What Type Of Math Is Needed For Programming?
Pre-algebra is needed in almost all programming languages . It is the basic mathematics that will help you understand how a computer works. You will need to be able to convert between different number bases, including binary and hexadecimal. Additionally, you should know how to use basic algebraic equations.
If you want to get into more complicated programming, such as game development, you will need to study algebra. Algebra is used heavily in physics engines, which are necessary for creating realistic graphics. Without a strong understanding of algebra, it will be difficult to create believable 3D worlds.
Trigonometry is another branch of mathematics that is used in programming, particularly in 3D graphics rendering. Trigonometry is used to calculate the positions and angles of objects in three-dimensional space. If you want to create 3D graphics, you will need to have a strong understanding of trigonometry.
While calculus is not necessary for programming, it can be helpful. Calculus is used in many complex algorithms, such as those found in machine learning. If you want to go into artificial intelligence or data science, you will need to know calculus. However, if you’re just starting out in programming, you can probably get by without it.
Geometry is another branch of mathematics that is used in programming. In particular, anything which uses graphics, like gaming, will require a good understanding of geometry. Geometry is used to calculate the shapes and sizes of objects in two and three dimensions. By understanding geometry, you can create better looking games and graphical user interfaces.
6. Linear Algebra
Linear algebra is a more specialized field of mathematics that is used in programming. Linear algebra is used to solve systems of linear equations, which are often used in matrix operations. If you want to get into image processing or scientific computing, you will need to know linear algebra.
Statistics is not generally used in programming, but it can be helpful in some cases. Statistics can be used to help make decisions about how to program an algorithm or data set. Additionally, statistics can be used to analyze the results of a program. If you are in machine learning or big data, you will need to know statistics.
Probability is another branch of mathematics that is used in programming. Probability is used to calculate the likelihood of certain events occurring. This can be helpful in making decisions about how to code an algorithm.
Additionally, probability can be used to analyze the results of a program. If you are in machine learning or big data, you will need to know probability.
9. Discrete Math
Discrete math is a branch of mathematics that deals with discrete objects. Discrete objects are those that can be counted, like integers or points on a line. Discrete math is used in programming to design algorithms.
Additionally, discrete math can be used to analyze the efficiency of an algorithm. If you are interested in data structures or algorithm design, discrete math will be very helpful.
10. Functional Notation
Knowing how to write a functional notion is helpful if you want to use functional programming. A functional notation is a way to write mathematical functions in a more concise way.
E.g. F(a) -> a + 5, is a function that adds 5 to the argument passed to it.
Knowing how to write functions in a functional notation can be helpful when working with complex algorithms. Additionally, it can make your code more readable and concise.
11. Graph Theory
Graph theory is a branch of mathematics that deals with graphs and networks. A graph is a collection of points, called vertices, and the lines connecting them, called edges. Graph theory is used in programming to design algorithms. Additionally, graph theory can be used to analyze the structure of a program.
If you are interested in networking or data science, you will need to know graph theory.
Analytics is the branch of mathematics that deals with the analysis of data. Analytics is used in programming to analyze the results of a program. Additionally, analytics can be used to make decisions about how to code an algorithm.
If you are interested in machine learning or big data, you will need to know analytics.
Skills More Important Than Math In Software Engineering
While math is an important skill for software engineers, there are other skills that are more important. Below we will discuss some of the most important skills for software engineers.
1. Problem-Solving Skills
One of the most important skills for software engineers is the ability to solve problems. Software engineering is all about solving problems. Whether you’re working on a new feature or debugging a bug, you’ll need to be able to think critically and solve problems.
2. Communication Skills
Another important skill for software engineers is communication. As a software engineer, you will need to be able to communicate with other members of your team, including developers, testers, and project managers. You will also need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely.
3. Writing Skills
In addition to communication skills, software engineers need to have strong writing skills. As a software engineer, you will be responsible for writing code, documentation, and specifications. Your writing should be clear, concise, and easy to understand.
4. Debugging Skills
Debugging is an essential skill for software engineers. When something goes wrong with your code, you’ll need to be able to find the bug and fix it. This can be a difficult process, but it’s important to be able to do it quickly and efficiently.
5. Time Management Skills
Another important skill for software engineers is time management. As a software engineer, you will need to be able to manage your time effectively. This includes being able to prioritize your work, meet deadlines, and avoid distractions.
6. Business Skills
Although it’s not strictly necessary, having some business skills can be helpful for software engineers. This is because many software engineering projects are done in a business context. If you understand the business goals of a project, you’ll be able to better design and implement solutions.
7. Leadership Skills
Finally, leadership skills can be helpful for software engineers. Although you may not always be in a position of authority, being able to lead and motivate others is a valuable skill. If you can inspire and guide your team, you’ll be able to achieve great things.
Related Post: Learning Programming As A Hobby
Is Coding Harder Than Math?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the skills that are more important than math for software engineers, let’s answer the question: is coding harder than math?
The answer to this question is a bit subjective. Some people may find coding harder than math, while others may find it easier.
I personally find coding to be much easier than math, and I am glad I do not have to use concepts like probability, set theory, differential calculus on a daily basis, otherwise I would have quit coding long ago.
However, in general, coding is considered to be harder than math. This is because coding involves understanding both the syntax and semantics of a programming language. In contrast, math is primarily about solving problems using equations and formulas.
That being said, there are many people who have been successful in both coding and math. If you’re interested in learning either discipline, don’t let the difficulty dissuade you. With hard work and dedication, you can excel in both coding and math.
So, Can You Learn Programming Without Math?
While math is an important part of programming, you don’t need to know everything there is to know in order to get started. By focusing on the basics, you can gradually build up your knowledge over time. And if you ever get stuck, there are plenty of resources available online to help you out.
So don’t let the fear of math keep you from learning programming – it’s definitely possible to do without it!