Does Coding Require A Good Maths Knowledge?

When considering a career in coding many people assume that they need to have advanced math skills. If math wasn’t their strongest subject at school they may not ever pursue a job in this sector. But does coding require a good maths knowledge? 

Does Coding Require A Good Maths Knowledge?

We take a look at this question and explore exactly what skills are needed for coding and which programming (see also: Are Programming And Coding The Same?)jobs are good for those who aren’t too keen on math.

Math Skills For Coding

The truth is that you don’t need to have advanced math skills to be a coder. Many coding jobs only require what is known as pre-algebra and that is something most people cover in high school. So while you do need math it doesn’t need to be advanced math. 

Of course if you want to get into jobs such as game development or machine learning then yes, you will need a high level of math. 

For most coding jobs basic math skills will be enough. This is because coding requires other skills such as creative thinking and problem solving. 


Programming languages are algebraic which means they use functions, variables and operations in order to solve problems.

It entails standard arithmetic and the basic operations of subtraction, addition, division and multiplication are central to program writing. 

As long as someone has a strong understanding of these basic operations and skills they can approach problems with a logical mindset. 

Is Coding Like Math Or Language?

So if basic operations are enough to get you started in coding does that mean that math does not feature strongly in this field? The answer is complex as coding tends to be more like language than math. 

Mathematical problems almost always have a single answer, either the right or wrong answer. However, in coding and software development there are frequently several right approaches to solving a problem. In this respect it is a more creative field than straight math. 

When a solution is arrived at in math it is usually permanent and unchanging whereas software development comes up with new ways to solve problems all the time.

In this sense learning to code is more akin to learning a new language than solving an equation. 

What Skills Do You Need For Coding?

As we have discovered there is a need to have a strong understanding of basic math if you want to work in coding. These are typically covered in high school, so most people will have these skills before entering the workforce. 

But alongside this basic math knowledge there are other equally if not more important skills that coders need to have. These include problem solving, creative thinking and the ability to collaborate with others. 

Problem Solving

Problem Solving

When working as a programmer or coder you are more likely to apply existing algorithms to solve problems. Even though math is used to build these tools it is not necessary for you to understand how they work in order to use them. 

Much like you don’t need to understand exactly how a car works in order to be a good driver. When working as a coder or programmer you are more likely to need to be good at solving problems than applying advanced math to an issue. 

Problem solving typically involves breaking down the problem into smaller more manageable tasks and using logic.

Creative Thinking

Often when working with code the issue of solving problems involves creative thinking. This is not something that you would apply to math which is a purer topic with a right and wrong answer to most problems. 

Applying creative thinking to a problem in coding allows you to explore several possible solutions. You will then pick the best solution to fit the problem.

Not only does this require creative thinking rather than math skills but also requires determination and curiosity. 

So rather than being a strictly analytical discipline coding is more of a creative process in many ways. Combining this kind of creative thinking with problem solving skills will allow you to work in coding as long as you have a grasp of basic math such as pre-algebra. 

Collaborative Skills

Collaborative Skills

Another often overlooked skill in many disciplines is the ability to collaborate with others. This is particularly important when working with code as you will be working with a team of at least one or two other people. So it is important to be able to work this way. 

In order to collaborate effectively with other people you will need to be able to communicate your ideas as well as offer feedback. Sharing ideas and working on complex challenges together means that you need to be comfortable receiving feedback yourself. 

Programming Jobs For Those Who Don’t Like Math

If the idea of having to do math for a programming job puts you off then there are other areas where you could apply your skills. These tech jobs are just as important but don’t require an advanced level of math or in some cases even minimal math. 

There is great potential for each of these career paths and demand is only likely to grow in the future for these skill sets. If you want to work in tech and have a job that is going to be in demand then perhaps one of the following career paths is your ideal choice. 

DevOps Engineering

The job of DevOps engineers is to manage a team of software engineers during the development process. These engineers unify and automate the processes such as combining code, application management and maintenance. 

All these tasks depend on understanding development and operations. So a DevOps engineer needs to be a kind of generalist in many different IT areas. They create tools to support and automate the different stages of software life cycles. 

However advanced math is not necessary for DevOps, although coding is part of their job. Soft skills are an important part of a DevOps engineer’s resume including communication and collaboration. 

Web Development

Software or web developers work in teams to create solutions to complex problems. This job still involves writing code for developing applications and websites, but you will be part of a team with other engineers. 

As a result you will need to be a good team player and have collaboration skills. However you will not need advanced math skills in order to do this job as basic mathematics is sufficient. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the demand for software engineers is predicted to grow by 22% by the year 2030. This is a good field if you want to future-proof your career. 

Quality Assurance Engineering

As the name suggests the job of a quality assurance engineer is to make sure that software and applications work the way they are supposed to. This involves testing developed software using automated tools and critically analyzing them. 

Quality assurance engineers need attention to detail, investigative skills and a knowledge of software automation and programming. However, the role doesn’t require a dedicated math background. 

Final Thoughts

We have seen that coding doesn’t require an advanced math background but rather a grasp of basic pre-algebra math. 

We hope that you have found this guide helpful and informative. 

Suzy Anderson
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