What level of math is needed to program web apps?

9 replies
Will a solid grasp of algebra be enough? Do any of you know any good books on programming math?
#apps #level #math #needed #program #web
  • Profile picture of the author Zdenek Koukol
    I suppose that this depending on your skills in math and programming. I am sure that you will find some limits which will not easy to achieve. Check for books from Donald E. Knuth
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  • Profile picture of the author NateJasper
    How do I thank a post?
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    • Profile picture of the author David Beroff
      I personally think algebra is sufficient, along with a healthy dose of boolean logic/math.

      You should see a "Thank" button in the lower right corner of each post.
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  • Profile picture of the author NateJasper
    I don't see any thanks button.

    Edit. Now I do.
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  • Profile picture of the author phpg
    You don't really need any advanced math for general programming, just basic algebra / calculus. It might be needed for your particular app though, depends on what it's about.
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  • Profile picture of the author kyoo
    How much "math" you need depends on your domain. Most programming tasks requires almost no mathematics but do require an understanding of logic.

    Give it a shot at Try Ruby: learn the basics of the Ruby language in your browser. and just type "help"
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  • Profile picture of the author wayfarer
    I personally think pure logic and language skills are more important to general web development than anything else. Programming requires both language and mathematics, but general purpose web development requires less hard-core math than a lot of other general programming. What you do need is the ability to read documentation, and understand the basics of programming paradigms.

    People that are good at math do tend to be able to comprehend programming, but it's not a perfect rule. If you don't have other skills like the patiences to fix something without giving in to frustration, you won't get very far. There are lots of excellent math students that don't get very far because debugging is too arduous.

    It helps to be creative too! Programming is very much like an engineering discipline, in that you are building and creating tools or products to a specification, but you must be able to solve unexpected problems or create better solutions than originally specified when they are needed. This is something that is very difficult to teach or simply learn from a book.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
      Wayfarer is spot on. I was never all that great at advanced math in school, but I'd like to think that I've become a fairly decent programmer despite the fact. When you start getting involved in your more complex projects, you will run into plenty of challenges, and some of them (perhaps many of them, depending on your project) will be entirely unexpected. That's just the nature of the game.

      That's why I think that the most important skills you can have as a developer (besides your actual coding knowledge)... are being able to think creatively and logically, and having the patience and persistence to solve problem after problem after problem, while keeping a cool head the whole time, until the entire project is complete.

      Some tasks, you'll be able to fly right through without even hardly thinking about it. Other tasks will take far longer than you ever thought they would, and will have you questioning your sanity and fantasizing about throwing your computer through the nearest window (Especially in your first few years. After you've been at it a while, you'll find that the really frustrating moments become less and less common).

      So yeah... when it comes to essential skills for developing software/apps... creativity, patience, and persistence are considerably more important than needing to understand complex math, IMO.

      As a side note... in the few rare cases where I thought that I would have to use complex math in order to solve a problem... I was able to eventually figure out workarounds using only basic math, by approaching the problem from different angles and just brainstorming until I found the simplest solution. There's almost always multiple different ways to solve a problem, and sometimes the best/simplest solution doesn't hit you until after a bit of trial and error.
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  • Profile picture of the author MonopolyOnline
    Wayfarer and Brandon are 100% correct from my experience.

    Most of the time, math is not an issue. A good understanding of databases is most certainly helpful. Creativity is key. As you have to imagine what is not there and build it.

    Kyoo's recommendation for TryRuby.com is a great place to start.

    Also spend a day or two at Ruby.RailsTutorials.org and you will be able to build a simple functioning 'twitter lite' app, as well as, get it hosted online.

    And Rails for Zombies is a fun INTERACTIVE tutorial intro to developing with Rails.

    Click the "Watch Course Video" for a video overview of the course.

    CodeSchool.com/courses/rails-for-zombies-redux

    Have fun.
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