Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

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#1 Dankwansere  Icon User is offline

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Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 12 April 2011 - 12:36 PM

Like the title of this forum says; "Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math"? I feel like i'm good at programming especially in java, but I just flunked a Calculus exam today and its making me really dreary. Is that a sign that maybe i'm not good in programming as I thought?
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#2 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 12 April 2011 - 12:52 PM

Math teaches you to think critically, analytically, and logically. All three of these skills are obviously useful to a programmer, but just because you aren't gifted at math doesn't mean that you can't be a good programmer.

The only reason not being great at Calculus would cause you direct trouble as a programmer would be if your boss wanted you to create a program to find the area under a curve or to find the most effective way to fence a plot of land or something like that. (Integration is lovely stuff!)
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#3 Shane Hudson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 12 April 2011 - 12:58 PM

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I will just link you to a few previous threads on this, save rewriting it all.

http://www.dreaminco...ramming-career/

http://www.dreaminco...-hell-of-maths/

http://www.dreaminco...aths-knowledge/

(All found using search of course)
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#4 AlbuquerqueApache  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:35 PM

View PostDankwansere, on 12 April 2011 - 12:36 PM, said:

Like the title of this forum says; "Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math"? I feel like i'm good at programming especially in java, but I just flunked a Calculus exam today and its making me really dreary. Is that a sign that maybe i'm not good in programming as I thought?



Slashdot actually did a good article about this.

http://developers.sl...In-CS-Education

It basically says that Cs has generally been taught as a mathematical discipline. I have noticed schools moving away from this trend i.e. offering more technology based programs that are more technical intensive and less focused on mathematics.

Don't get me wrong, I think math is a great tool, I do have to question if I need 3 levels of calculus however for a CS degree versus the applied calc. for a CIS or tech degree.
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#5 Fuingurth  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 12 April 2011 - 09:55 PM

View PostAlbuquerqueApache, on 12 April 2011 - 08:35 PM, said:

Don't get me wrong, I think math is a great tool, I do have to question if I need 3 levels of calculus however for a CS degree versus the applied calc. for a CIS or tech degree.


I agree with this. Also, I find it odd that to earn a BA in Programming Theory here in AZ, that one would take as many upper-level math courses as a Mathematic Theoretician would.
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#6 Dankwansere  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:01 PM

View PostBrewer, on 12 April 2011 - 03:52 PM, said:

Math teaches you to think critically, analytically, and logically. All three of these skills are obviously useful to a programmer, but just because you aren't gifted at math doesn't mean that you can't be a good programmer.

The only reason not being great at Calculus would cause you direct trouble as a programmer would be if your boss wanted you to create a program to find the area under a curve or to find the most effective way to fence a plot of land or something like that. (Integration is lovely stuff!)


Integral calculus was what i actually flunked in...I liked Differential calculus but Integral calculus just upsets me argggg...I don't know if it was because i had a bad prof or what...but I plan to do a lot of review on on it this summer so i can retake it.
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#7 creativecoding  Icon User is online

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:15 AM

I can program, find solutions, fix errors, all of that stuff. But what I can't do? Math. Anything above a ten and I get the calculator out.

Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Tapatalk
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#8 Dankwansere  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 14 April 2011 - 09:19 AM

View Postcreativecoding, on 14 April 2011 - 10:15 AM, said:

I can program, find solutions, fix errors, all of that stuff. But what I can't do? Math. Anything above a ten and I get the calculator out.

Sent from my T-Mobile G2 using Tapatalk


LOL hahah you're just like me, I'm very dependent on my calculator. so when one of my calculus started and the prof said we wont be using any calculators i was like wtf??? felt like my life turned upside down..with that said i'm trying to get out of the calculator dependent habit
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#9 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 14 April 2011 - 10:38 AM

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I scraped through the math requirement a CS minor called for. I have programming professionally for nearly 20 years. I also program for fun; longer than that.

Programs solve problems. They're very very simple, requiring little more than logic and organization. In any program, these are the challenges. Some applications require higher math, like game engines and CAD systems. Most programs barely rise to the level of basic algebra.

I must admit, as a non math geek, I fear that mathematics is used more as a discouragement, keeping potentially brilliant programmers out of the field. Clearly, math is a discipline that challenges reasoning skills. But so is programming and not entirely in the same way.

This post has been edited by baavgai: 14 April 2011 - 10:39 AM

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#10 D.Mulroy  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 14 April 2011 - 10:50 AM

Thanks Baavgai, this is extremely reassuring for me since I'm starting college and not a pro at math.
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#11 Awk34  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:35 AM

You don't necessarily have to be good at math to be a good programmer. Of course, you need to be good at basic math. The most important thing is that you need to be a logical thinker. It is great to be good at math, but if not, isn't that what calculators are for? I am also in Calculus, and I rarely use it in my programming. The do often use Calculus in 3D design, though.
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#12 MATTtheSEAHAWK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:08 PM

Like a few people said above, it depends on what you are developing. If you are developing a program for math then you will probably need some basic math skills in the subject. Most of the time I need hardly any math skills because I don't do a lot of math in my programming. I will some day probably but now I'm only 13. All I have now is algebra and that's simple.
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#13 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 17 April 2011 - 08:16 AM

What I think a lot of people don't realize is that math skills will help you both directly and indirectly as a programmer.

Check out this blog pots by macosxnerd101.

While we can code a program to output the nth number in the Fibonacci Sequence, macosxnerd101 shows us a much, much quicker way of doing so. Now the math that he is doing is rather simple algebra (he solves his problem using the quadratic formula) -- although he does reference differential equations at one point -- but the point is that having studied advanced math, he has a different way of thinking about how the problem should be approached.

That is one of the fundamental reasons for taking math. As baavgai said, programming and math both challenge your reasoning and problem solving skills, they just do so in different ways.

Consider math to be the syrup on your pancakes. Of course you can eat pancakes without syrup, but eating them with syrup makes it a much more pleasant experience.

This post has been edited by Brewer: 17 April 2011 - 08:16 AM

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#14 WaeV  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 20 April 2011 - 03:40 AM

The best part about math class is programming my TI calculator. Nuff said.
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#15 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Is it possible to be a good programmer without being good in math?

Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:30 AM

I just found out that effective this last semester, Calculus II students are no longer allowed to use calculators for any part of the course. Obviously they can't stop you from using them on homework, but it is strongly discouraged.

Supposedly in the coming semester the same will hold true for Calculus I.

I really think this is a good thing. You would be surprised how many people can't do simple long division.
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