On Tue, Aug 08, 2006 at 09:25:07PM +0900, casa wrote:

- Do I need lots of math to become a good programmer?

Only if you want to code math.

It’s unfortunately not quite that simple.

Familiarity and comfort with algebraic logic is invaluable to a

programmer. That need not come from extensive formal instruction,

though that’s where (most?) many programmers get it. That’s more a way

of thinking than anything else, and as such can be learned from any

number of sources, however.

Learning to program is a good way to learn that manner of thinking,

though, I think. As long as it’s a hobby, and you’re willing to follow

tangents, I think that no more than a very basic understanding of the

principles of algebra is really strictly necessary. As others indicate,

however, knowing more math would likely help, even if it’s not exactly a

prerequisite for learning to program.

I know for a fact that all the calculus California universities force on

computer science students is not necessary, or even particularly

helpful, for most programmers. Spending three years in calculus classes

distracts from learning the sort of mathematics that is actually of

direct use to programmers in general (such as linear algebra).

Unfortunately, in addition to a specific, institutionalized coursework

requirement for calculus, California schools also tend to artificially

specify an absurd number of calculus credits as prerequisites for linear

algebra as well.

C’est la vie.

The upshot, in any case, is this: don’t worry about the math if you just

want to learn to program for your own purposes – at least not at first.

Navigate on over to the pages for Why’s (Poignant) Guide and Chris

Pine’s Learn to Program, and have fun. Competency with arithmetic is

all you really need to be able to get started.