When you google coding and math, an example of search results include using coding to teach math or the question of do you need to be good at math to do coding. In this post, I want to address that question where so many people ask about: do you need to be good at math to do coding. The answer: it’s complicated.
I have experiences in both fields. I was an applied mathematics major my first year of college (call me crazy) and since the beginning of this year, I had been teaching myself coding via Codecademy, but now I am currently near the end of my web-publishing summer school course. So what I have observed is that conceptually, the materials are nowhere the same. They are quite similar when it comes to actually doing the work. What do I mean? Based off of my own experience, you need to have: discipline, patience, accuracy, and a plan.
Math and coding have core concepts that apply to a lot of the more advanced materials. You need to be able to understand thoroughly the concepts or else when you get to the more advanced materials, it simply falls apart. With math, its the adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing. With coding, its the skeleton of your HTML, knowing your tags and attributes, and always remembering to close your tags.
To truly excel in anything, you need to have the time and patience to actually hone in on your skills. This is particularly true for math and coding. In my later years in high school and my first year of college, I had a math notebook for my notes and another notebook dedicated to practicing and testing my knowledge. It was tedious and unnecessary (to some), but it paid off big time.
Coding requires a lot of practice and playing around with the tools, figuring out what you like and do not like, and googling. Because the language of coding is the same no matter where you are in the world, there are bound to be questions you might have that another person had already asked on online question forums like StackOverflow.
Like math, there are different ways to get the result you want with coding, which brings me to the point of not being afraid to ask for help. There is NO shame in asking for help. As mentioned previously, there is bound to be another person who is wondering about the same question. On multiple occasions, there were times where I was frustrated because I was not getting the result I wanted. Those were the times I reached out to my professors and friends to ask for help #AskAndYouShallReceive.
Every step matters, no matter how big or small because one mistake can affect the entire result. Take for word problems in math. There is usually a part A, B, and C in which in part C, they ask for the answer that requires you to have solved part A and B. If you do not have the right answer starting from Part A, you basically got the entire problem wrong by the time you get to Part C. It is devastating when you figure out where you went wrong and it started from the beginning, which means redoing the entire problem.
With coding, it is not as devastating compared to math, but being meticulous is crucial. You need to make sure you are closing the tags, have the correct file names, and correct spellings of tags, classes, ids for example. If you’re interested in knowing more ways on how you can butcher your CSS specifically, check out this article that basically sums it up.
When you are faced with a big problem, you can either just dive in or step back and break down the problem. Usually people break it down and that logic applies to math and coding. Let’s use the word problems in math again. This time, the problem does not explicitly state the Part A, B, and C. You do know there are multiple steps involved in order to solve the main question the problem is asking meaning you need to break it down.
Breaking down my goals when I am coding has helped me immensely in being able to making baby steps toward the big goal and saving my time. I am currently building a website for my final project and for each page, I draw out ideally how I want the page to be laid out. I also consider usability and the styling of the page. When I start coding then, I can quickly lay out my page and then go back to work in more detail for each section.
These four skills are applicable to many disciplines and life skills. I choose math and coding because I have interest and experience in both fields, which led me to noticing the similarities I talked about.
What are your thoughts on coding and math? Do you agreee or disagree? Comment down below!