I was wondering a lot recently about whether a person who's bad at math could ever be a good programmer. I've asked around the internet and gotten a variety of responses. This is what I've learned:

  • Why a person is bad at math is probably relevant. If you're bad at math because you're bad at mathematical-type thinking, then you may very well also not have what it takes to be a good programmer. But there's a lot of reasons that a person might be bad at math that have nothing to do with that. I suspect I'm bad at math because of an undiagnosed learning disability, so my poor math ability may not really be affecting my programming ability at all.

  • Some people don't think good math ability is important for programming as long as the actual programming you're doing doesn't have much to do with math. My particular branch of programming, web programming, doesn't. But other people pointed out that programming and math require similar types of thinking skills, so even if the programming you're doing doesn't have much directly to do with math, being poor at mathematical thinking can hold you back as a programmer. This makes sense to me.

I think I'd like to get tested for learning disabilities, because I'd like to get confirmation for my suspicions. I also would like to learn more about how my brain works.


Sir Scholar McRationalPants

August 2011

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