Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Why you don’t need to be good at Maths to code

Computer code is a language, not an equation.

Whenever I am asked what I do for a living (I’m a Software Engineer), the next question is always, “Oh, are you good at Maths then?”

The answer is no! I was actually advised by my school to not take A Level Maths! Luckily, none of the projects that I have worked on so far have relied on Maths.

Whilst it is true that coding takes a similar mindset that a mathematician might have — problem solving, logical thinking, breaking down a problem into the smaller components — these skills aren’t exclusive to Mathematics.

Indeed writing a History essay could equally require such skills in structuring an argument, paragraph by paragraph. Personally I took Classics — Latin & Ancient Greek — two languages.

Computer code is a language, not an equation.

So, the first skill I think you need to be able to code is the ability to problem-solve and think logically. You can train your brain to do this and, as I hope I have demonstrated, there are other subjects you can study that will make you equally as prepared for this, as Maths.

So far at DV, the skills that have been most important to me are creativity and an empathy for people.

To create a great product you need a Unique Selling Point, and that takes creativity. You also often have to be creative in how you make your features work for your project. You have to embrace “out of the box thinking” and be prepared to question the status quo.

For these skills, you may think more artist than scientist.

Secondly, empathy for your user. There’s no point building something that users neither want nor can use. This might rely on a combination of Business skills and perhaps even a basic understanding of Psychology, though of course it is perfectly possible simply through being a thoughtful, understanding kind of person!

So those are my thoughts, let me know what you think!