Do You Need Basic Math in Programming?

“Math isn’t all that important in programming.”  “I am so bad at Math. I can’t be a programmer.” these are notions debated in the world of tech development. Which is correct? Let’s find out in this article.

Often, people interested in programming have questions about whether they need math to be programmers. The answer is yes, but not like what you imagined.

You don’t have to be a Math Wiz to be a programmer.

Programming requires building logic around numbers, require reasoning and problem-solving; thus, mathematical skills are essential for aspiring programmers to master. Without a certain level of understanding of various mathematical concepts, coders and programmers are left without the tools to succeed in the field.

With that said, let’s clarify the misconception in the relationship between math and programming. You don’t have to be a genius in math to be a good programmer. Not all areas of programming require the most complex math, as you might think. Some developers even say they use very little math in web design and mobile app development. Still, it’s a different story when it comes to machine learning, 2D/3D Computer Graphics, or data science. 

Depending on which field of programming you intend to venture into, you need to understand Mathematics to thrive in the industry. Here is a list of the basics you should know to start your programming career journey.

6 Basic Mathematical Concepts You Should Know to Begin 

  1. Basic Operations – you only have to know the basic operations and when to do these operations. The computer will do the adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing for your program.
  1. Variables – a variable is a container for a particular set of bits or type of data. They are used to store data to be referenced and manipulated in a computer program. The data stored can be some known or unknown quantity of information referred to as value. You can label variables to represent what information it contains for clarity. 
  1. Functions Functions are “self-contained” modules of organized code that perform specific tasks; they contain instructions used to turn inputs into outputs. Functions take the stored data, process it, and return a result when the function is called. When a function is written, it can be used multiple times, over and over again. A function can also be “called” from the inside of other functions.
  1. The modulo operator – % is the symbol for the modulo operation. This means the remainder of one number when divided by another. For example, 13 divided by 2 is 6 with a remainder of 1, so the answer is 1. 13 mod 2 is 1.
  • The even/odd mod test trick – Numbers with a mod of 1 are odd numbers. It is even if the mod is 0. 
  1. Cartesian coordinate systems – Cartesian coordinates consist of numbered lines on two or three axes, dubbed the x, y, and z axes. These coordinates are widely used for graphics programming. They represent a specific point on the computer screen. 
  1. Numbering System – Numbers are the only thing that a computer can understand; anything a user does, like typing letters or words, computers translate it into numbers. Number systems help in representing the numbers in a smaller symbol set. Numbering systems include decimal, binary, octal, and hexadecimal.

Programming is a vast field to venture into. Mastering these basic mathematical concepts for programming is your proverbial first step to a journey of a thousand miles. It would be best never to stop exploring to discover what more you can do. Here is a list of Mathematics that will help you further your programming career.

5 Mathematics for Programmers 

1. Binary Mathematics

Binary mathematics lies at the heart of the programming field and is among the essential math fields for computer programming. The binary code simplifies the coding process necessary for low-level instructions used in hardware programming. To this day, computers still follow binary number patterns of 1s and 0s representing “On” or “Off,” respectively. 

Your skills in analyzing and deciphering math operations will get you a long way as a beginner-level programmer. Plus, computer science will always involve adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Master the binary number system to help you work on other number systems like hexadecimal numbers.

2. College Algebra

Introductory college algebra covers foundational concepts essential to programming. It focuses on equations and graphs and solving equations for unknown variables. Algebra is used in programming to develop algorithms and software for math functions. 

Being familiar with the basics of algebra helps you develop an algebraic way of thinking which includes recognizing and analyzing patterns, studying and representing relationships, making generalizations, and analyzing how things change, which will be helpful in programming. 

3. Statistics

While algebra is used to create algorithms, statistics help in understanding them. Programmers use statistics in speech recognition, data mining, data compression, image analysis, network, and traffic modeling. 

In computer science, statistics is used for data mining, speech recognition, vision and image analysis, data compression, understanding algorithms, network, and traffic modeling. Your knowledge in using Statistics in programming will assist you as you progress in the tech development industry. 

4. Calculus

Calculus studies rates of change by calculating derivatives and integrals of function and is divided into two subfields, differential calculus, and integral calculus. Differential calculus studies rates of change when a quantity is known, while integral calculus studies quantities when a rate of change is known. Calculus is needed to optimize machine learning algorithms and other simulation-based programs.

5. Discrete Mathematics

Discrete mathematics is considered the foundation of computer science; it turns concepts and computing methods into executable programs. We can say that it is a building block for logical thinking that is essential in this industry. Programmers and developers can use Discrete Math for software design, analysis of algorithms, and other practical applications. 

With all the different voices sharing their opinion on whether you need Math in programming or not, this is our answer: Math, and your knowledge and understanding of it, is essential to programming and tech development. Studying Mathematics will improve your mental strength and stamina needed to be a programmer.  It’s your mental workout for your analytical prowess.

No matter how simple or complex, you need Math in programming. It will be your choice to stick to the Math you know now or add to it. Remember that learning is a never-ending endeavor. Just be open to learning, and you’re good to go!

7 thoughts on “Do You Need Basic Math in Programming?”

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