Do You Need To Be Good At Math To Code?

Sohan Dillikar
Apr 17 · 3 min read
Photo by Charles Deluvio

As a beginner coder, you might wonder whether or not you need to be good at math in order to code. In this article, I hope to clear that doubt.

Programming Is A World Of Its Own

First, I’d like you to know that coding is a broad term and it doesn't just refer to a single concept. What I mean is, you can do many things with code and the possibilities are practically endless. That said, here are a few things that you can accomplish with code:

  • Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Web Development
  • Web Scraping
  • Robotics
  • Mobile/Desktop App Development
  • Game Development

Coding Isn’t Math — It's A Language

The thing about math is that there is only one solution to a problem and based on your answer, you are either right or wrong. The cool thing about coding is that there is more than one way to solve a problem and in many ways, you get to use your creativity to find solutions. In more ways than one, learning to code is like learning a new language. Programming languages have their own vocabulary and punctuation, and we use them to tell the computer to do what we want. It's like asking a favor from a friend, in which there are many ways to do so. The only difference is this time, your friend is a computer, who is very loyal, and you will be using a different language.

When Would I Need To Use Math?

Before I move on any further, let’s not ignore the fact that math is very useful and is probably used very often on a daily basis, whether or not you are a programmer. That said, let’s think about when we would use math when we are coding. Perhaps you were thinking something along the lines of data science, machine learning, or artificial intelligence. In case you were, you are absolutely right. Data analysis does require much knowledge in math because when analyzing data, data scientists run complex mathematical algorithms on the data to identify patterns and correlations within data. Game development is another field of coding that uses lots of math. The realisticness of games comes from the math behind them. I think we can all agree, that games nowadays are starting to feel more realistic than ever. Here are some branches of math that are used in game development, according to

  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Calculus
  • Linear Algebra
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics

Of course, there are a lot of other times when you might need to use math, but I just wanted to let you know when you would need to use heavy mathematical concepts.

Math In Web Development

I’ve seen many people say that you don’t need to know math in order to become a web developer. While this is true for the most part, it doesn't mean that you can just completely ignore math and expect to become a good web developer. For example, math can be used to align elements in a nice order, using CSS and it can also be used to create dynamic animations with JavaScript, such as fade in on scroll. In other words, while math may not be heavily used in web development, I highly recommend that you don’t neglect it.

So Do I Need To Be Good At Math? No

The answer to this question really depends on what you intend to pursue in your programming career. However, generally speaking, you don’t have to be good at math to be a good programmer or to learn how to code. Simply knowing the basics of math will do the trick. That said, I hope I cleared your doubt on whether or not you need to be good at math to code.


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