How Important Do You Think Math Is To Programming? - Psychology, Philosophy, and Licenses

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Like @xero said, being able to setup the equation is more important, but if you know how to setup the equation, then you know the steps needed to solve the problem in the first place (you're just slower than a calculator/computer). So in that sense, math is important, at least up to college level algebra (university level for you Europeans).

I've worked in a few different areas of Software Engineering, and here I'll list roughly the amount of math needed in each. Keep in mind, this is based on my experience, so others may furnish different weights for the same areas:

* Web Development (Sites, "apps", APIs, etc): Rarely used math save for a few times where I needed to implement some GIS formulas into an API to validate GPS points and guess their distances, then write the tests that verified the formulas were implemented correctly.

* (Systems) Integration: Induction / inductive reasoning are really important when working in integration, because you have to be able to prove consistent behavior for many cases, especially for low-level integrations and those integrations that need to be able to expect variable input. This is mostly an issue in CRM and ERP integrations where you could end up with accounting data similar to quantities of work due to one of the applications having a bug that pulls from the wrong table because the original writer didn't account for latin-1 characters when the client bought the CRM system... (I'm still butthurt about that bug!)

* Embedded Development (GPS and WiFi devices): Most of the math I used here was simple arithmetic (for WiFi, IP address and latency related calculations), GPS devices required more algebra, trig, and geometry. The devices needed to be able to guess where they would end up given speed, angle of approach, current position, past position, etc. Interesting problems to solve, understanding how to apply various formulas helped out a lot.

All of that said, my coworkers in each of those areas had different ways of solving the same types of problems. Some of them used more math than me, others avoided math like the plague and still ended up with great production code. The phrase "There's more than one way to skin a cat" comes to mind.
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Messages In This Thread
RE: How Important Do You Think Math Is To Programming? - by darthlukan - 29-09-2015, 01:22 PM