Do I need to be good at math to be a programmer?

Here is a question I get asked all the time.  Do I need to be good at math to be a programmer?  The answer to this question is…MAYBE!  The field of programming encompasses many different forms of technology.  Some of these require very little to no math experience.  Others require advance levels of Algebra, Trig, and Calculus. In general, programming and math are coupled very close together.  If you are good at one, the odds are that you will be good at the other.

Depending on what you are interested in doing, math may or may not be required.  The truth of the matter is that you normally wont be able to predict what you will be doing until you are given the task.  This is why most companies require a degree in order to get a job as a programmer.  The degree insures that you have gone through and passed advanced levels of Calculus and Algebra.

However, you can still be a programmer without a degree!  There are many programmers that will specialize in certain fields and either do freelance work, or work for a company with a narrower scope.

Freelance can be a very rewarding.  You can accept projects that you feel comfortable in your abilities to finish.  There are many websites out there that give you the ability to check out listings of projects people want done, and let you bid on them.

Some companies may not require a degree, or will let you prove that your knowledge is sufficient for the takes they will be giving you.  These positions can be great, though advancement in your carrier can sometimes be hampered.

If you understand math at an elementary level, this is generally enough knowledge to get by with day to day if you are developing for yourself.  If you are looking to do things like calculate the trajectory of an arrow shot in a game, I would advise building on your math skill set.  My advise is to just jump into it! Never let your concerns with math knowledge hinder your per-suite in programming!



12 thoughts on “Do I need to be good at math to be a programmer?

  1. Math has never been a strong suit for me. lots of mismanagement in learning when I was young. poor school politics etc… after all that was a very long time ago. I did eventually learn to like math… while I was taking it here, but I never got the point of taking fun math… and now it’s been 10 years since my last math class again… and well I feel I would have to start over again to get any further… So I am happy to not need higher math skills.

  2. Forensics is much the same. I took a forensics class in high school and you had to do math to get the trajectory/angle of blood splatter.

  3. This was my second option in case if my Graphic Design major didn’t go well. This was always a question I had to ask myself with this major. Unfortunately, I just am terrible at math and anything related to it. I got all the way to MTH60 and had to stop after that, I did try 65 but it started to go way over my head. I do have options though if I still want to pursue this career. Thanks for clearing up this question.

  4. Do I need to be good at math to be a programmer? Well, yeah kind of. You need to be good at problem solving. That sort of thinking is developed in the higher level math classes. So while you might not need to use calculus inside your program, you will make use of the skills you get from that class and translate them into your programs.

  5. WOW! That was a lot of information, and most of it went way above my head. Good job with your post, and putting a lot of information on here.

  6. I can see how web programming you might be able to get away with the least amount of math, but most other programming I believe math is a crucial part of the learning process. I can already see it is with my C++ class!

  7. I literally looked through degrees to find the ones with the least amount of math possible haha. I’m glad I’m doing graphic design, but also thankful for the programmers. Without them, graphic design would be near impossible.

  8. Thank you. My son and I have asked that question. The answer was always yes, but I never seen programers use math. Of course these programers wrote code for websites, manipulate a program, or create a media site.

  9. As a programmer I can say that math really comes in handy when you want to develop algorithms to solve problems. However, on a day to day basis I rarely use more than a little bit of multiplication and addition :). But it really depends on what sort of programmer you want to be, I mean there there is crazy amount of math in artificial intelligence programming for example. Thought provoking post, thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *