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Is Advance Math knowledge necessary

Muhammad m khan
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 04, 2012
Posts: 3
Hello guys,

As a greenhorn to java language, i have a question to experts in JavaRanch, Is it really very important to have knowledge about Advance Math, or computer science background to be a good Java developer. because i am really interested in java, but i dont have any of those skill i mentioned. Need some hope

thanks

Khan
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18546
    
  40

Muhammad m khan wrote:
As a greenhorn to java language, i have a question to experts in JavaRanch, Is it really very important to have knowledge about Advance Math, or computer science background to be a good Java developer. because i am really interested in java, but i dont have any of those skill i mentioned. Need some hope


Not sure what you are asking...

If you are asking whether it is possible to be a developer without an university degree in the sciences or engineering, I'll say sure. I know many people without technical university degrees.

If you are asking whether it is possible to be a developer without an university degree, I am not so sure. I don't know a single developer without a degree.

If you are asking whether is is possible to be a developer without knowledge of math or computer science. I would lean toward no. You need math, and while it is possible to be a developer without it, you will need it -- in my opinion, it is a weakness that will need to be fixed.

Henry

Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Muhammad m khan
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 04, 2012
Posts: 3
Henry Wong wrote:
Muhammad m khan wrote:
As a greenhorn to java language, i have a question to experts in JavaRanch, Is it really very important to have knowledge about Advance Math, or computer science background to be a good Java developer. because i am really interested in java, but i dont have any of those skill i mentioned. Need some hope


Not sure what you are asking...

If you are asking whether it is possible to be a developer without an university degree in the sciences or engineering, I'll say sure. I know many people without technical university degrees.

If you are asking whether it is possible to be a developer without an university degree, I am not so sure. I don't know a single developer without a degree.

If you are asking whether is is possible to be a developer without knowledge of math or computer science. I would lean toward no. You need math, and while it is possible to be a developer without it, you will need it -- in my opinion, it is a weakness that will need to be fixed.

Henry



Thanks for your reply, actually i have my bachelor degree, i just wanted to make sure that, i can be a good programmer without having CS degree or not. And i have pretty basic of Math concept. But do i need to know Math in Advance level. i hope you understand.

Thanks once again for rapid reply
Jeanne Boyarsky
internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30138
    
150

I know a couple developers without a degree. And I know a bunch of high school students that code. (they are well above your average high school student though.) While I don't think a degree is necessary to write code, I do think a degree in something and equivalent amount of knowledge is important. Most people aren't driven to learn the equivalent of a degree without actually getting a degree. Also employers will not be anywhere near as likely to take a chance on you without a degree.

On math, you can squeak by without much math. You can be a poor programmer who doesn't understand much. You can copy/paste from the internet without understanding how to write a regular expression or why your algorithm is so slow. This isn't something to aspire to though. You want to be a good developer.

Also, advanced math is an ambiguous term. Advanced linear algebra and multi dimensional calculus aren't likely to come up unless your business domain requires it.


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Muhammad m khan
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 04, 2012
Posts: 3
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I know a couple developers without a degree. And I know a bunch of high school students that code. (they are well above your average high school student though.) While I don't think a degree is necessary to write code, I do think a degree in something and equivalent amount of knowledge is important. Most people aren't driven to learn the equivalent of a degree without actually getting a degree. Also employers will not be anywhere near as likely to take a chance on you without a degree.

On math, you can squeak by without much math. You can be a poor programmer who doesn't understand much. You can copy/paste from the internet without understanding how to write a regular expression or why your algorithm is so slow. This isn't something to aspire to though. You want to be a good developer.

Also, advanced math is an ambiguous term. Advanced linear algebra and multi dimensional calculus aren't likely to come up unless your business domain requires it.




Thanks, i really appreciate your good suggestion. It will help me a lot.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18546
    
  40

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
On math, you can squeak by without much math. You can be a poor programmer who doesn't understand much. You can copy/paste from the internet without understanding how to write a regular expression or why your algorithm is so slow. This isn't something to aspire to though. You want to be a good developer.

Also, advanced math is an ambiguous term. Advanced linear algebra and multi dimensional calculus aren't likely to come up unless your business domain requires it.



Side story...

Many years ago, I used to work for a company that had an engine based on "π-calculus" -- the product was for automation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%A0-calculus

Worked for the company for three years. Did a lot of good work, including built many of the components that was executed by the engine. However, to this day, I have to admit, that I don't understand much of the core engine -- the engine is still one big black box to me.

Henry
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Also, advanced math is an ambiguous term. Advanced linear algebra and multi dimensional calculus aren't likely to come up unless your business domain requires it.


Frankly, if you're going to be doing business programming you don't even need to understand anything that I would classify as "math" at all. Basic arithmetic is likely to be all you're going to need.
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10175
    
    8

Henry Wong wrote:
If you are asking whether it is possible to be a developer without an university degree, I am not so sure. I don't know a single developer without a degree.

Oh yes you do (unless you think I am not a developer )

I would say that good knowledge of Math would be absolutely necessary where it is really required (Duh!)
Gaming, 3D modeling would be some areas where lack of it would be a handicap.


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Winston Gutkowski
Bartender

Joined: Mar 17, 2011
Posts: 7552
    
  18

Muhammad m khan wrote:Thanks for your reply, actually i have my bachelor degree, i just wanted to make sure that, i can be a good programmer without having CS degree or not. And i have pretty basic of Math concept. But do i need to know Math in Advance level.

Like the others, I'd say probably not; but I would say that it helps if you "like" numbers, because they do crop up a lot.

What's more important, I think is a basic grasp of logic and the ability to think both linearly and (sometimes) laterally. A lot of programming consists of breaking down big problems into smaller ones so that you can manage them; but another (and often forgotten) aspect is the ability to view a problem from more than one standpoint, especially when you're using an Object-Oriented language. That allows you to design classes and objects that work well together.

I know, because I started out life as a COBOL programmer (no objects ), and it took me about 8 years with C++ and then Java before I finally had my "moment of clarity".

Hopefully, you're smarter than me and you'll get there quicker, but don't expect miracles.

Winston


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fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11170
    
  16

So to give this a different perspective...

"Math" is not just about numbers, theorems, and arcane definitions. To me, 'math' means logical thinking, understanding functions, critical thinking, and analysis of a problem.

So, do you need to be able to take a triple integral of a hyper-funtion? No.

Do you need to be able to understand logic? yes.
Do you need to think through a problem and break it down into its component parts? yes.
Do you need to be able to write down, step by step, exactly how to get from 'A' to 'B'? yes.

I have a degree in theatre. That is my only college degree. I took a lot of math after graduation to become a math teacher. All those math classes help me as a programmer - not because I know the Peano axioms and have developed the real number system, but because while taking all those classes, my brain learned how to analyze a problem.

It's like a baseball or football player who lifts weights in the gym. Never - not once - have I see a player during a real game have to lift a large hunk of iron. But by doing that, they have trained their muscles to do amazing things that help them play the game. Math class is lifting weights. Programming is playing the game (with apologies to all the pure mathematicians out there).


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Rameshwar Soni
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 247
Henry Wong wrote:

If you are asking whether it is possible to be a developer without an university degree in the sciences or engineering, I'll say sure. I know many people without technical university degrees.

If you are asking whether it is possible to be a developer without an university degree, I am not so sure. I don't know a single developer without a degree.



Both these statements are opposite OR there is something which i am not able to understand?
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11170
    
  16

Rameshwar Soni wrote:Both these statements are opposite OR there is something which i am not able to understand?


They are not the opposite. Henry is saying you don't need a degree in Science or Engineering, but a degree in SOMETHING is probably a good idea. For example, I have a degree in Theatre, which is definitely NOT science or engineering.
Rameshwar Soni
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 247
Thanks fred for clearly the doubt.
Vineeth Menon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 08, 2011
Posts: 67

Hi Muhammad,

Knowledge in maths is not necessary to be a programmer. But if are planning to become a programmer you will automatically learn some maths. I'm guessing it would depend on the kind of project you are working on. If you are planning to become a GUI developer I'm guessing maths knowledge is not necessary but if you are planning to go into optimizing algorithms you would need some good mathematical skills.

Happy Coding.



VM
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11170
    
  16

Vineeth Menon wrote:If you are planning to become a GUI developer I'm guessing maths knowledge is not necessary

See my previous post re: narrow vs. broad definition of "math"
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender

Joined: Mar 17, 2011
Posts: 7552
    
  18

Henry Wong wrote:I am not so sure. I don't know a single developer without a degree...

Now you do.

Winston
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

I don't have a Computer Science degree either. (That's because there was no such thing when I was at school.)
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11170
    
  16

Paul Clapham wrote:I don't have a Computer Science degree either. (That's because there was no such thing when I was at school.)

But do you have a degree in something? Henry said "without an university degree", not "...degree in CS"
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender

Joined: Mar 17, 2011
Posts: 7552
    
  18

fred rosenberger wrote:But do you have a degree in something? Henry said "without an university degree", not "...degree in CS"

As I said, I don't; although 20 years on the job got me onto a Masters course. Unfortunately, work moved me away from Uni before I could complete it. Passed the first year though, which I believe entitles me to a PGCert (for what that's worth).

Winston
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38075
    
  22
When I went for the MSc, there were various possible results: 18 credits got you the MSc, 12 PGD (postgraduate diploma) and 6 a PGC, which appears to be the same as your cert. Somebody was boasting about how well he would do and achieved a UCAPD (University Certificate of Advanced Professional Development), which is ≥ 3 credits (I got one of them as well as the MSc), and I suppose if you only passed two modules you could have got a UCPD (minus the A).

Nothing wrong with a PGCert if you only did one years’s worth of modules.
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender

Joined: Mar 17, 2011
Posts: 7552
    
  18

Campbell Ritchie wrote:When I went for the MSc, there were various possible results: 18 credits got you the MSc, 12 PGD (postgraduate diploma) and 6 a PGC, which appears to be the same as your cert.

Yeah, sounds about the same: 1, 2 or 3 years. To be honest, I learnt very little about programming, but did pick up some interesting business theory. Also, just getting into the "swing" of academic rigor was kind of fun. I still remember:
"tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em; tell 'em; tell 'em what you just told 'em"
although it's bloody tedious in practise.

Winston
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

fred rosenberger wrote:But do you have a degree in something? Henry said "without an university degree", not "...degree in CS"


Yes, I have a PhD in Math, you'll find me documented on this page. If you look down from me a bit, you'll come across a name you recognize, another person without a CS degree who did quite well in the computer industry.
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender

Joined: Mar 17, 2011
Posts: 7552
    
  18

Paul Clapham wrote:Yes, I have a PhD in Math, you'll find me documented on this page. If you look down from me a bit, you'll come across a name you recognize, another person without a CS degree who did quite well in the computer industry.


Catchy dissertation, BTW: Never heard of 'Steiner Triple Systems', with or without 'Blocktransitive Automorphism Groups'; possibly because you'd have lost me at "Blocktransitive" (or actually, at "Steiner").

Winston
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38075
    
  22
Paul Clapham wrote: . . . you'll come across a name you recognize, another person without a CS degree . . .
If your first publication was in MAD you don’t need a degree.
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
Paul Clapham wrote:
fred rosenberger wrote:But do you have a degree in something? Henry said "without an university degree", not "...degree in CS"


Yes, I have a PhD in Math, you'll find me documented on this page. If you look down from me a bit, you'll come across a name you recognize, another person without a CS degree who did quite well in the computer industry.


Knuth ?


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