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Do Programmers need to learn Calculus

Programmers learn calculus

Do Programmers need to learn Calculus?

Most high-level programming work does not involve the use of Calculus. Many programming roles do not require knowledge of advanced math concepts like calculus. Not knowing calculus will not affect your chances of being hired for programming roles.

It is worth noting that you definitely need the most basic understanding of math for most software engineering roles. Having a good understanding of basic arithmetic is required for all software development.

You should be able to carry out addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication of numbers. You should understand how to work with decimals, percentages, fractions, and integers.

These are just basic math skills that everyone must possess. It’s basic math that we use in our daily activities. Having a good understanding of Calculus is helpful in some cases but it is not required.

In my first to third year of studying electrical and electronics engineering, I learned calculus I, II, and III. I have not found these classes directly applicable in my programming journey and I have not used any calculus when programming.

It is important to know that math including calculus is the foundation of software engineering but programmers do not have to bother to learn calculus concepts because they are hidden from the programmer in the tools and programming languages.


Mathematical topics and fields such as Discrete mathematics, Analytical Geometry, and Calculus are highly applicable in many fields of software engineering.

Graph theory, Number theory, set theory, logarithms, mathematical induction, etc. have been used heavily in Data Structures & Algorithms, Cryptography, Cyber security, and many other tech fields.

A basic understanding of calculus is also useful in data science and machine learning.

If you are interested in working with Signals and Systems, you must be familiar with calculus, Laplace transforms, Fourier transforms, trigonometry, etc. these can be useful in image processing, signal processing, etc.

Most programmers require no more than basic arithmetic and simple algebra to develop to carry out their work effectively.

However, there are other types of developers focused on security, cryptography, data structures and algorithms, data science, machine learning, etc. These developers rely on applying calculus concepts to solve problems.

For many programmers, most of the advanced calculus concepts and applications are hidden in the programming language or development tool.

Programmers do not have to understand the calculus or the math behind the bcrypt or scrypt password hashing but they can use it for passwords hashing.

Most of the advanced and complicated calculus used in software engineering is hidden in the development tools so that programmers can focus on solving problems than understanding Calculus or any advanced math concepts.


Backend developers work with databases, APIs, and backend programming languages like python, C++, Kotlin, Swift, Java, PHP, Node, Go, Ruby, and many others.

These technologies do not require any understanding of calculus to work with. As long as you are able to work with basic algebra, you will do just fine.

If you are developing a project that involves a lot of calculations, e.g., a calculus revision app, banking app, statistics platform, or a complex conversion API, etc. you will have to perform some advanced calculations, and calculus skills in such situations will be necessary.

There are some projects in Finance, transportation, Augmented Reality, Data Science, Economics, and Education that require a lot of calculus concepts and applications, but it will not be the responsibility of programmers to build the calculus models and concepts for such projects.

Other experts such as mathematicians, economists, and statisticians can work on the models and concepts and programmers using their skills can implement them in a project.

Learning calculus has its own advantages for programmers, when you have a good understanding of calculus, you will be able to participate in a wide range of projects.

Understanding calculus can help you to work on some projects in machine learning and artificial intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Cryptography, Data science, signal processing, etc.


Programmers do not need to learn calculus for most software engineering roles. However, having a basic understanding of calculus can be helpful if you want to work on data science, algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence, signals and systems, etc.

It is worth noting that not knowing calculus will not reduce your chances of being hired and you are unlikely to use calculus in many programming projects. You must focus on being a resourceful and valuable developer to attract the attention of employers and stay relevant.

You can learn more about improving your programming skills in our article TIPS TO BECOME A BETTER DEVELOPER.

Do Programmers need to learn Calculus
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