Do computer programmers need good math skills?

As a Programming Career Coach, one of the questions I often run into from people considering the challenging and exciting field of computer programming is “Do You Have to be Good at Math to Become a Computer Programmer?”The excitement of being a computer programmer and the potential for high pay draws many people to shift the course of their professional lives to this direction. However, one thing daunts them and prevents them from actually pursuing this path is the idea that computer programmers need good and possibly even expert mathematical skills.

The Short Answer
Do computer programmers need good math skills? The answer is: No. If you are thinking of building a career as a computer programmer, it is not imperative for you to have exemplary math skills. All of the mathematics that you need to know to become a good computer programmer, you should have learned already in high school. A healthy grasp of math and logic taught at high school level is enough for you to get through learning how to become a computer programmer.

Business Application Programming
The demand for Business Application Programmers to support corporate functions at every level is the area where the greatest demand is for developers. Unlike specialized areas of programming such as Data Mining or Statistical Analysis, regular software developers can perform all of their job duties with an average level of math skills.
Visual Software Development
With the advances in Visual Software Development (Visual C# etc) growing at such a fast pace, it is guaranteed that there will always be room for growth for good problem solvers who are thinking of venturing into the field of computers. Computer programmers will always be in demand to create and develop new software that will provide answers to needs that are becoming increasingly complex by the day.

Other Considerations
While Math is not everything when it comes to being a computer programmer, programming is not a career that makes no demands. There are many other things that you would need to focus on if you are serious about becoming a computer programmer.

  • You must be well-versed in various programming languages and methods, enough to be able to create your own software design. Not only must you be able to create your own software design, you must be knowledgeable enough to be able to wade through pages and pages of code, yours and those made by other programmers, without getting hopelessly lost.
  • If you want to be a good computer programmer, you must learn to work with people. Rarely is a computer programming project done by just one programmer; usually, a company hires a group of them to work on a project. Teamwork is an essential skill for a computer programmer. Also, with teamwork comes flexibility, the ability to perform and deliver despite mounting pressure, the capacity to take the initiative in performing tasks, and responsibility.
  • There is a small number of companies out there that prefer the programmers they hire to have knowledge in mathematics that is a little more advanced than high school level. It would not hurt to augment whatever skills you may have in order to get ahead of the competition if you are thinking of becoming a computer programmer and possibly venturing into data mining, statistical analysis, financial analysis etc.
  • You should enjoy programming. Period.

You don’t need an expert level of math skills to become a programmer. A good computer programmer is more of a problem solver and logical thinker than a math buff. And besides, the industry is peppered with many successful computer programmers who do not really know much about mathematics. You would be surprised to find out that there are many computer programmers who have done well with their careers and yet came from other, totally unrelated disciplines such as history, literature or theater. They just found their passion and niche (not to talk of good income) in computer programming.To learn more about becoming an expert programmer in months without math skills so that you can begin your computer programmer career begin to read “how to master computer programming.

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