Is Mathematics Crucial as a Software Developer?
Maths encourages you to think in a logical and linear fashion, it can help with problem-solving and analytical thinking which will help in the long run.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Mathematics has been seen as a universal skill that every industry can benefit from, but how crucial is it exactly when put into practice? Software developers may seem like a highly technical field in which math skills will come in handy, but the truth is that while it can be beneficial, it isn’t highly necessary. However, it also depends on which facet of software development you are talking about. When it comes to networking or performance, maths may not be high on the list of necessary skills, but if the developer is focused on creating algorithms and trees or graph theory, it may be something that you cannot do without.
According to professionals in the field, there are certain math-heavy niches in software development that may require the use of maths such as statistics and probability, but if you’ll be largely dealing with data science, it may accelerate your grasp on certain concepts as well as evaluating your data and results, but you can also use A.I. or machine learning techniques in order to bypass the need for mathematics.
Certain fields such as binary or hex and decimals will require you to make mental conversions, but with technology as rampant as it is today, there is definitely software out there that can help ease your burden, especially if maths is not your strong suit. However, graphic design, though not something that is highly technical or scientific, might surprise you to know, actually requires the designer to have some understanding of maths.
Ratios and proportions, such as the golden ratio, are concepts that enhance the appealing nature of artwork and design, which are all highly important in the sphere of software engineering because humans are visual creatures by nature and require aesthetically pleasing interfaces in order to be more productive. But this also touches on the usability and how intuitive a design is, all of which will take maths into consideration. A button, moved a few degrees south or if its size is inappropriate, will somehow look wrong or simply be overlooked, degrading the entire user experience.
If you do have a passion for maths, it does no harm for you to cultivate your passion. But if you don’t have that particular tendency, then there is a solution waiting for you to discover it. Mathematics is largely like a language. According to studies, being multilingual enhances the way we think and communicate, it offers us a broader range of concepts and the ability to think on our feet far better than monolinguistic people.
Other benefits of knowing another language include enhanced memory and cognitive skills. Maths and language exercise the brain to think and it’s true what they say, the brain is a muscle, so it goes to reason that the more you use your brain, whether linguistically or through the application of mathematical thinking, you are exercising your brain and expanding your intellectual capacity.
As far back as the 1960s, there have been research groups focused on the effects of language and how different languages impact the way that we think. When we think in a particular language, we unconsciously embody its culture. While maths is not as complicated as that, it is a universal language understood by all and it can help our brains achieve a different way of perceiving the world around us. Some may say it helps them think better, but it doesn’t mean that being bad in maths means that you are handicapped in any way. We always find solutions and grow when we are challenged, so if you find yourself incapable of following one person’s particular train of thought, that isn’t to say that you won’t be able to arrive at the same conclusion following a different approach.
In fact, logic has been said to come before mathematics. Perhaps see maths as a means of comprehending logic on a different level or in a different language. When you understand the concept of logic in a few perspectives, it offers you a broader insight into pinpointing solutions and coming up with solutions, simply because you have greater exposure to the same topic.
At the end of the day, knowing maths can help you in your endeavors of becoming a successful software engineer or developer, not because it is paramount to software engineering, but because maths encourages you to think in a logical and linear fashion, it can help with problem-solving and analytical thinking which will help in the long run. However, not possessing these skills does not mean that you will be left in the dust.
All roads lead to Rome, after all, and there is more than one way to get where you are going. When it boils down to it, mathematics can be helpful, but no, it isn’t crucial to be a software engineer.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.