Do we need to be good in math to do computer science?

Among the preconceived ideas about computer science, there is a prevalent one that suggests that one must be “good in maths” to follow a career in computer science. This misconception is still persistent nowadays, causing a disadvantage to students who would like to pursue this path, as it is showed in the study revealed by the observatory of the feminization of digital professions conducted by IPSOS for Epitech. Where do these stereotypes come from? What are the skills required to succeed in IT studies? Gildas Vinson, National Pedagogical Director at Epitech Technology, will explain more in details this tendency.

Is it necessary to be good at math to be a good developer?

Even today, many people, parents, or future students, consider that a good level in math is necessary to succeed in computer science studies, and more specifically in Epitech. But this is not true.

These stereotypes are indeed deeply rooted in the collective perception. The first reason is that modern computing was created by mathematicians for mathematicians for the purpose of ballistic or statistical calculations. Modern computing has thus remained in a very mathematical environment for several decades. Later, as computer science became more widely practiced, it became necessary to train future computer scientists. However, there were no specific studies to train computer scientists, but mathematics had this capacity to develop logical minds, which allowed to get into computer science. It is therefore natural that people turned to mathematics to be able to do computer science.

Logic and computer science

To study computer science, you must first of all have a logical mind. Mathematics allows you to be logical, to develop this logical mind, but it is not the only way, it is not a universal way to develop the analytical mind. At Epitech, we propose to our students to develop this logical mind through a unique pedagogy leading to multiple experiments that will allow them to finally develop these reasoning mechanisms. Finally, mathematics will be a tool at the service of computer science, so it is not necessary to be a mathematician to be a computer scientist.

Needless to say, the areas of computer science are so broad that some fields will require more or less developed mathematical skills: artificial intelligence or cryptography, for example, will require you to have a better knowledge and proficiency in mathematical methods than in other development sectors.

Required skills to study computer science

To succeed in computer science studies, you will need to demonstrate many qualities. The main ones are curiosity, the ability to experiment and to multiply experiences in order to develop the necessary skills to succeed in your projects.

The second quality is essential to the place of IT in society. IT is at the crossroads of different professions. The computer scientist must therefore understand the uses, understand the needs, and provide solutions that meet them. At Epitech, we encourage our students to develop these skills through multiple projects.

The computer scientist must therefore be open to new ideas.

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