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Why Do Programmers Need Math?

By Annesha Mukhopadhyay

“Does programming require math?” is a question a lot of us have while starting out with programming.
Math in programming

And to answer simply: Yes.

Most of programming does require a basic understanding of mathematics.

However, you won’t inherently be bad at it just because you weren’t the best at math in high school. If you are intrigued and want to know more, read on as I dive into the various applications of this mysterious subject in programming.

What kind of math is important for programming

You don’t need to be very good at pen and paper math to excel as a programmer. It’s far more necessary to understand the concept of mathematics than to master how to solve a mathematical problem.

More often than not, you will use a library or a built in function that implements your algorithm or equation for you and your knowledge of math just needs to help you understand and develop it.

Take a look at the different branches of math and how they find a place in the world of programming.

1. Linear Algebra

Linear Algebra in coding

Linear algebra provides concepts that are crucial to many areas of computer science, including:

  • graphics
  • image processing
  • cryptography
  • machine learning
  • computer vision
  • optimization
  • graph algorithms
  • quantum computation
  • computational biology
  • information retrieval
  • web search

So, a basic understanding of mathematics will help you in the long run.

2. Calculus

calculus programming

Broadly speaking, calculus is the study of continuous change.

So, anything that changes in a continuous way will involve calculus. To optimize a machine learning algorithm, you’ll need to use multivariate calculus. You might also use calculus in simulation-based programs when objects have to interact with each other based on the laws of physics.

3. Statistics

Stats in coding

Statistics is another branch of math employed in a computer science degree. It utilizes:

  • quantified models
  • synopses
  • representations

It uses these for a given collection of actual studies or experimental data.

It also studies methodologies for obtaining, reviewing, evaluating, and forming conclusions from available data.

To Wrap it Up

Your understanding of mathematics won’t define your entire programming journey. But knowing the basic concepts will certainly make it a tad bit easier.


We have a few math geniuses in the house (including myself, hehe). I admit that we probably cannot do high level math but we know enough to figure out great algorithms. This knowledge eventually help in creating algorithms that have less time complexity and work a lot faster.

If you ever want to get in touch with us, or get your math homework done from Shivpreet, you can join the Crazy Codigo Discord Community and tag him.

That's all for this one. Cya!

~ Mijo

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