Why do you have to have high math credits for Computer Jobs?



I'm in high school at the moment and I'm planning entering the computer field, once I enter college. My guidance counselor at the school said I need high math credits such as Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry. Why do I need these high credits in math?

dave holbon

OSNN Veteran Addict
I don’t believe this to be the case at all. Mathematics is (at the end of the day) only adding and subtracting, nothing more. There are no starting or ending points in mathematics only a description of the differences between things. For instance it’s not possible to say that one and one equals two (this is mathematically incorrect) as this is the middle of an undefined equation, as where did the first object added to the second object and so on come from? Everyone knows that the answer is two but they don’t understand the reason why. Nor can this logic ever prove that 1 + 1 = 2.

If you can add-up and subtract you already know all there is to know about mathematics, but like time itself and It’s misconceptions it’s only a man made ruler with lots of short cuts (like logarithms, tangents etc) that enable us to define, not what is, but what is missing. Like a perfect circle (can’t exist in reality or defined using maths) it’s a bit of a blind ally.

There are of course many types of adding and subtraction (or positive and negative) systems like binary, but none of them are actually of any use if you are trying to find out (for instance) how to define an object like a universe in any sort of logical way, as there is no defined starting point and no defined ending point. In other word they are all different comparisons (differentials) between two unknown states. At least that’s my idea of maths. However until someone comes up with a better solution (algebra would be a good staring point as at least you would be aware of the missing bits) we are stuck with it.

dave holbon

OSNN Veteran Addict
Originally posted by AaronMcarthur
I'm in high school at the moment and I'm planning entering the computer field, once I enter college. My guidance counselor at the school said I need high math credits such as Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry. Why do I need these high credits in math?
I suppose it’s like most things to do with computing and associated knowledge patterns. Those that don’t know what they are talking about have a pre-conceived idea that everything to do with computing is difficult and can only be solved by people that understand mathematics, electronics and associated items. This is entirely false. Computing is hard because it now encompasses such a wide and diverse environment and it’s not hardware related but software as (believe it or not) operating systems like XP are so complicated that no single group (of say 20 people) can understand it or even describe it in any meaningful way. These systems are the most complex structures ever comprehended and built by man, indeed they are so complex that writing a written (text) description of the XP kernel, which is in fact Unix, would take you five lifetimes to read and understand.

We are already past the stage where one human can comprehend an operating system (like XP) or even a graphic cards transistor design, and into a new era where computers themselves are defining the next generation.

Mathematics is important here only in as much as it can set the from-to boundaries.
Think about it this way. Everything in a computer is broken down into binary -> numbers. So everything you do when you're writing software is manipulation of numbers -> math. Everything in graphics is made of pixels, with an RGB value. I'm a CS/Math double major at UConn right now, and if you don't start with Calc 1 your first semester, you're already behind everyone else. The CS major is incredibly math intensive, and actually is only 1 class short of a minor in math if you don't take any extra classes. Remember that a computer is only as smart as its programmer, so if you can't do the math, then it can't either.

Electronic Punk

Staff member
Political User
Hmm, ,part of my first year in Sheffield included a module in mathematics, I am a pretty advanced maths guy, so when they gave me somesimple stuff to do I actually thought they were taking the piss, getting 100% for several weeks...
Then you start converting to ASCII and binary etc...

Its all about numbers :)


OSNN Senior Addict
pre-cal and trig are important if you want to do well on the ACT and get into college. Its also looks good if you're taking calculus when you're applying for college. Continual learning is also the only known way to prevent alzheimers, or any other neurodegenerative disease. (i think i made that word up).

i threw that last part in becuase it won't hurt you for taking higher math. and in my case, it got me out of taking economics (a 4th year math or science can be takin in leiu of econ.) wow, i love JPS.


I'm sorry Hal...
Political User
It entirely depends on the job you eventually get. Some jobs require mathematical skill. Computer in general, even programming, does not.
As a professional programmer myself, i don't recall having to do any complicated maths. A few sums here and there, sure. But nothing major. i've never done anything graphical intensive like games, which may require more maths
As for conversions between things like HEX, Binary and ASCII. Although you often have to learn to do that by hand in schools or unis, its very rare to have to do that (by hand) in the working world. But it is a useful skill to learn. Also the chances of ever even seeing Binary are remote :) (unless you really like something like ASM for some bizarre reason)

As i said before, it does depend very specifically on what type of computer related job you want/get.
But maths is a generally sort after skill in most jobs because it shows a logical thinking, an ability to things things through etc.


Secret Goat Fetish
Political User
i'm doing maths @ the mo and it is HARD...hopefully it will help me when i look into a computing future though:cool:


OSNN Veteran Addict
Well speaking from xp-erience (<-----dig it), and having a Master's in Computer Information Systems, I can tell you that math is probably one of the most important aspects of anything to do with computer science, I don't do programming anymore, (well not much), however when I first started out in the computer field well over 15 years ago and was programming, math skills were used all the time. Now that I am a mananger of sorts, I still use math quite alot, budgets, forecasts, etc.

My advice is to get all the math courses you are able to in High School, it will pay huge dividends in College and down the road.



Bow Down to the King
Political User
I had to take Calc I and Calc II for my degree. Let me tell you, so much fun! Believe it or not, you do use mathematics in programming, even if you do not realize it. It's all science.


OSNN Veteran Addict
Originally posted by Iceman
Well speaking from xp-erience (<-----dig it), math skills were used all the time. Now that I am a mananger of sorts, I still use math quite alot, budgets, forecasts, etc.
of course with a calculator


OSNN Senior Addict
I'm in High school...Im taking algebra 2 and computer programming I. I only need 30 credits of math to pass high school. I took geometry two years ago...thats 10 credits. I'm taking algebra 2 this year...thats 10 credits. And...what...Im taking computer programming I. They say that isn't an elective...but a math class and I am getting 10 credits of math for taking that also!!! But I don't have to do anything in computer programming that remotely relates to math!!



OSNN Veteran Addict
Originally posted by Octopus
of course with a calculator
true, but a calculator is only as good as the person putting the figures in (ie. you have to know what your doing in the first place).

and quit using my special kewl smiley, or I shall thrash you



F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
don't ever let up on maths if you plan to do anything computer related.. if you are into computer science you may not end up using it as much as you might as a computer engineering major... but thats not a given...

when programming you never want to limit yourself in this day and age by your knowledge of maths or the lack thereof...

when you are in college... as a computer science major I can tell you the gist of what you will have to do... engineering calculus I, II and III, logic design (maths if you think about it) discrete maths, differential equations over and above what you do in calc III... may have more or less depending on the university and the course structure...

and trust me... you will need a fair amount of it... specially when setting up loops and what not... yah you can rely on calculators but think of how much time you can save by using your brain... thats the way I learnt my maths @ the a levels stage...

those who hate maths... give it a chance... it is actually fun... its basically logical :) as Spock would say...

with my A levels in maths I was exempted a lot of physics and calc I and II going into college because the same courses are covered in A levels... pure maths/mechanics et al :)

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