Monday, March 23, 2009

Programming != Math

There's a big misconception a lot of people have where they think in order to be a programmer, you have to be excellent at math or be a mathematician. This is absolutely false for most types of programming, or at least very misleading.

Rather than saying you have to be good at math, its more correct to say you have to be good at thinking logically or procedurally. When you program you have to think about the goal you want to accomplish within the program you're writing, and then think of the step-by-step way to achieve that goal using the 'instructions' made accessible to you by the programming language.

But notice that 'thinking logically' and 'mathematics' aren't the same thing. Of course being good at math is definitely a benefit to programming; if you know certain mathematical rules you might be able to simplify or optimize parts of your program, but its not a necessity for most types of programming.

Now there are some fields of programming where math is more crucially used, a 3d game programmer for instance is going to use more math than a programmer developing a word processor. But if you take all the types of programmers in the world, most programmers rarely have need for any advanced-math in their applications.

Personally I believe programming is more practical than mathematics anyways. Programmers create things that are useful to people, whereas mathematicians come up with theories that 95% of the time don't have any practical value.

I always wonder why people want to be mathematicians, what the hell are they going to do with that mathematical knowledge? I guess that's why most of them just go on to be professors or teachers, since they can't find a real job that practically applies that knowledge :p

So bottom line is:
1) You don't have to be a mathematician to be a programmer.
2) Knowledge is useless if its not put to a practical use.

1 comment:

  1. well at least you need a basic math...! so math still used...! even in your daily life...! exp : counting money...! how you can count your money if you doesn't now math... "LOL" "no offense"

    sorry for bad english...!