Career Insight

Do You Have to be Good at Math to Code?

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Learning to code requires plenty of things: patience, problem-solving skills, a dash of creativity, and a love for technology. But do you have to be good at math to code? Not necessarily. While the roots of coding are embedded in numbers — binary to be exact — coding has come a long way from its numerical beginnings.

Unfortunately, there’s been a stigma built up that math and coding go hand in hand. After all, coding is technically a STEM skill, which in many peoples’ minds, means math is a foundational skill to have. And if interested and aspiring techies feel they aren’t good at math, they may turn away from making a career in the programming field because they feel they don’t have the proper skillset.

But do you need math skills for coding?

To quell your concerns, let’s go into further detail about why having an advanced understanding of arithmetic is a skill you don’t need to have to carve out a career in the industry. We’ll also touch on skills you do need to become a successful coder.

Coding is a Language, Not a Math Equation

We can break math problems down into three parts: problem, computation, and solution. There is one solution to a problem and based on your final answer, you are either right or you’re wrong. As much as you want to make 1+1=3 a thing, math just doesn’t allow it. In math’s most basic form, it’s that simple.

What’s interesting about coding is that you can solve a problem in many different ways. With coding comes the opportunity to be creative. In more ways than one, learning to code is similar to learning a new language (which is part of the reason they’re called languages!). Programming languages have their own vernacular and punctuation. They’re how we communicate with a computer to make sure it’s doing what we ask.

Think of it like your trusty lawnmower. You don’t need to know how the motor works for you to get out and cut the grass.

Sometimes, but Not Always

Don’t get us wrong, there is a place for math in coding. But, and this is a big but, some jobs use math more than others. Take for instance the field of data science. Jobs in this sector require a significant knowledge of math because analyzing data uses sets of composite mathematical algorithms to identify patterns and correlations within data.

Another area of computer science that calls for a person to be knowledgeable in math is artificial intelligence. In fact, there are three branches of math that established AI experts use every day: linear algebra, calculus, and probability. Linear algebra is a type of applied mathematics that people working in AI cannot function without.

For the Developers

In web development, your affinity for math doesn’t have to be extensive. That doesn’t mean being a web developer is completely void of any math application. For web developers, math can be used to align elements of a website or app in a nice order that enhances user experience and interface. Or through Javascript, math can be used to create fantastic animations. As a whole, being good at math isn’t a prerequisite for becoming a web developer, but it can enhance your body of work.

So, Do You Have to Be Good at Math to Code?

Short answer: no, you do not have to be good at math to code. Is there a strong correlation between coding and mathematics? Yes, but it really depends on the career you plan to pursue. Having a basic understanding of math will suffice and allow you to be a successful programmer. Focusing on problem-solving skills, having the ability to work in a team environment, logical thinking, and not being afraid to show off your creative side are top factors.

In the grand scheme of programming and development, the field is extremely diverse. There are plenty of paths you can take — all with their own amount of applied mathematics. Don’t be discouraged and think coding isn’t something you can learn if math isn’t your strong suit. Anybody can learn to code!

At Kenzie Academy, we help you find the right career for you and offer certificate programs that prepare you to flourish into the tech professional you strive to be. Don’t wait another day to take the first step and apply today. Your next chapter is waiting to be written!

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