Do You Really Need To Be a Math Genius to Learn to Code?

By Ludo Fourrage

Last Updated: September 29th 2023

How much math is needed to learn to code?

Tech careers, bustling with innovation and ripe with creative scope can often be perceived as daunting to those who don't consider themselves mathematic mavens. One common assumption is that to dive into the ocean of technology, you should be armed with an armor of complex number theories and algebraic formulae. 

Yet, the question lingers: do you really need to excel at math to flourish in the tech world?

Enter Paul Matthews, the Lead Developer at TechGenie Corp., who reveals an eye-opening truth - “I have never been a math genius. Through my education, I battled with intricate formulae and complex calculations. Even today, a basic arithmetic task can cause me a hurdle.”

This confession comes from a man who currently helms a team of ten programmers, exemplifying that superior proficiency in math is not the singular pathway towards having a successful career in technology. “In my team, there are many who don’t have formal training in computer science. Lack of advanced math skills proofed to be no barrier for them,” says Matthews. 

Sharing Matthews' opinion is Hannah Cooper, an experienced independent Web Developer. According to her, entering the coding world sans algebra or calculus can actually be an accessible path despite common beliefs.

Hannah emphasizes, "For those fascinated by web designing or front-end development, relying on intensive math skills is almost non-existent. The ability to analytically solve problems and having an aesthetic sense for design is more relevant than expert level math skills on a daily basis.”

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On the flipside, shying away from math might decide how high you want your tech career to ascend. For example, if to work amongst the stars at prestigious institutes like NASA becomes your career goal someday, overcoming your apprehension might become crucial.

The interesting twist here lies in a 2015 article published by The Atlantic in which Olga Khazan reveals that Math has very little to do with coding, especially at the early stages. "Learning to program involves a lot of Googling, logic, and trial-and-error—but almost nothing beyond fourth-grade arithmetic."

Jane Goodman, in her editorial for the New York Times, brings to light how gender stereotypes – with the notion that men are better in mathematical fields – has serious implications. It not only hampers performance but also curbs interest in the field due to such misplaced societal views. 

So, if you're second-guessing whether you have got what it takes to crack the number code, it's time to silence that inner apprehension. If your enthusiasm lies in the tech world, don't let fear of mathematics be an inhibition.

To summarize: Your apprehension about math should never be a hindrance in acquiring coding skills. If you plan to broaden your horizon within STEM, do not let intimidation serve as a barrier. You already possess all the vital capabilities; success will follow as soon as you learn to quieten the naysaying voices in your head.

As you contemplate beginning your coding journey, be sure to check out our freely accessible 'Complete Software Engineering Booklet'. Equip yourself with requisite knowledge about key skills required for a lucrative career as a web developer, and learn how to efficaciously leverage them to secure a job you'll love. Read up tips on excelling in your first job and navigating your future career roadmap - because when it comes to coding, you're closer than you think.




Ludo Fourrage

Founder and CEO

Ludovic (Ludo) Fourrage is an education industry veteran, named in 2017 as a Learning Technology Leader by Training Magazine. Before founding Nucamp, Ludo spent 18 years at Microsoft where he led innovation in the learning space. As the Senior Director of Digital Learning at this same company, Ludo led the development of the first of its kind 'YouTube for the Enterprise'. More recently, he delivered one of the most successful Corporate MOOC programs in partnership with top business schools and consulting organizations, i.e. INSEAD, Wharton, London Business School, and Accenture, to name a few. ​With the belief that the right education for everyone is an achievable goal, Ludo leads the nucamp team in the quest to make quality education accessible