Discussion on: How important is math in computer programming?

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Max von Hippel

It completely depends what you are doing. I used Quaternion.slerp in Unity3D on an almost weekly basis in my part-time job for 2 years during high school, and only just learned what Quaternions were and how to use them mathematically this year (and I'm a junior pure mathematics major in university now).

Likewise, you could make it pretty far into using something like Torch for AI/ML without learning abstract or linear algebra, I think.

Understanding boolean algebra - which is a lot simpler than it sounds - is very useful. It lets you write shorter and more concise logical statements and better understand overall how computers work. It is absolutely essential to even starting to understand computer hardware at the chip level - for example, CPU design. But a lot of people work for years and years as software developers/engineers and never encounter any of that stuff.

In university, I often learn more in my free time on Stack Exchange and from extra textbooks than in class. Classes provide tests, structured learning, and homework sets, but at the end of the day we have to learn a lot of the material on your own. So not going to college for math or CS isn't necessarily a big deal - it just means you have to learn a bit more on your own than most people.

One area where I feel math really helps is any sort of scientific modeling. I can't imagine doing modeling without having 2 semesters of fairly advanced linear algebra under my belt. That said, a lot of statisticians do similar work from a statistical perspective, and I'm not sure that they all know about metric spaces, vector spaces, fields, groups, etc. etc.