You Don’t Have To Be a Math Genius To Be a Great Programmer

Adam Parker
4 min readNov 3, 2020

I’ve found there is a big difference from what colleges say you need from what you actually need in order to make money in the business world as a programmer. College tends to try to over prepare you and many times ends up teaching you things that are either out-dated or of little to no business value in the real world.

They do get a some things right, don’t get me wrong. You can learn a lot in college (usually more than you wanted to learn) and it’s a very structured environment that helps you to systematically learn in a classroom setting whereas you may not have dedication and commitment to learn on your own.

But there is a real gap between what you learn in college and what the business world is looking for. I’d like to offer my perspective here and break this down for you.

You do NOT need to be a math genius or even take advanced college math in order to be a programmer.

What Colleges Say You Need:

Lots of Math Courses:

The computer science BA and BS degrees at universities like Florida State University and others show that you need the following math prerequisites in order to get a degree in Computer Science: Discrete Mathematics I, Discrete Mathematics II, Precalculus, Trigonometry, Calculus I, Calculus II, Intro to Applied Statistics, Introduction To Probability.

However, I did not take any of the above college courses. College Algebra was the highest math I took in college. I wasn’t looking to be a math scientist or teach math in a college setting. In order to be a computer programmer, or software engineer you should be more focused on problem solving skills and business geared courses.

Lots of Programming Courses (will you use them all? Probably not.):

Colleges usually still start you off with C, C++ and then move onto Java. The academic institutions are usually several years behind the real business world that is constantly moving and evolving. They also usually only focus on the open source languages that everyone is doing and usually isn’t as lucrative or sought after in the business world. See my article here for the differences between open source and commercial programming languages in my…

Adam Parker

I'm Adam Parker. I am a Salesforce Technical Architect working at a major silicon valley company. I'm a dad to 8 awesome children and my wife is my best friend.