## Comment: Don't be an idiot (like I was) - max-out on math! (Score 1) 656

Early 30s, undereducated, curmudgeonly, senior software developer here.

Not only is math my weakest area, but that weakness was probably partly due to my self-defeating and self-fulfilling belief that I didn't *need* much math, so I got my CS degree from a shitty university with just through Calc 2 and a couple non-calculus-based stats classes. No linear algebra, no dynamics, no quantum-anything, no Fourier analysis, no algebraic topology, no number theory, no discrete math, etc..

And so I've spent the last decade writing stupid CRUD-and-forms apps. It's boring shit that only pays high-5-figures (in my top-3-by-population U.S. city as I work in university research, though I am repeatedly sought by some of the biggest names among tech employers. But I choose my current employer for the work-life balance).

But to go anywhere more-interesting -- say, working on self-driving cars, or data-mining stocks or health data, or building robots -- I need more math. Shit.

I have taught myself some linear algebra from a LA book, at least, as well as learned some slightly less-basic stats (e.g. Markov models) and taken a couple graduate-level CS courses in AI and ML. But it's definitely not enough to break-free of my self-imposed intellectual chains.

So, get as much math as you can -- not because you'll definitely use it (maybe, maybe not), not because it's fun (but if it is for you, great; it is for me, when I understand it), and not because it's important for its own sake (by definition, anything that isn't eventually useful is useless), but because it gives you FLEXIBILITY later in life. And you have no way of knowing, a priori, whether you will need that flexibility.

I'm not original in this thinking. Learning more math is what Nassim Taleb would consider an example of "robustification" -- becoming robust against unknown undesirable future "bad" events or scenarios.

My strong advice: **Don't be so damned efficient - or arrogant/overconfident - in your learning that you fail to robustify yourself against a future you that is smarter and wiser than the current you. **