Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Time for Microsoft to be sued out of existence (Score 5, Interesting) 272

by NeilBryant (#42992041) Attached to: Nikon Buckles To Microsoft, Will Pay "Android Tax" For Smart Cameras
Personally, I've used MS Office since 2.0. I've taught classes in many versions. If I go boot up Word on my work machine, now, I can't find a flipping thing. It's easier to get around in LibreOffice. And all that time I spent getting good at Office feel like as big a waste of time as VisualBasic.

Comment: It's true that it depends... (Score 1) 1086

by NeilBryant (#40935441) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many of You Actually Use Math?
It depends on how interesting you want your work to be, and how good you want to be at it.

I have been through several levels of Calculus, and, admittedly, have never actually used Calculus in any of my programming jobs; but I didn't get high enough into the theory of things to need it. I did some work with biometric scanners, but not the theory end. I just missed a job programming laser cutters that sounded like it would use fairly decent math. I've had one boss and one teacher who worked at NASA; and I wouldn't expect anything that cool without some serious math.

OTOH, I am pretty good at basic math through trig (partly from the calc classes), and it has been a huge help to me in most of my dev jobs. I've had a few positions alongside non-mathy programmers, and I ran circles around them. I once took a professional developer's code, and reduced dozens of complex lines down to three simple math equations. There was nothing exactly *wrong* with his code (except he was getting a logic bug he couldn't find), but three lines is way easier to maintain, and it's a lot more fun to write.

If you want to do anything with networking, masks are easier to do if you understand boolean logic well. If you want to write games--especially graphics--you can be a lot more efficient if you're good at math (and more efficient=faster). Text manipulation is easier to do when you get things such as capitalizing a letter just means subtracting 32 from it. Twiddling the calendar is easier when you get that a month is 30.6 days, and how that reduces date math to a division and an addition.

So, no; you don't need math--all of that is doable without, as long as you have the libraries, etc--any more than you need to be a good runner to enter a marathon. But being good at math will make you more competitive, and a better programmer, and will give you better tools for problem-solving.

Hiring-wise, I would take a candidate that is good at math over a more experienced one who isn't.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"