Good programmers should have great math skills

Coding exercises are one of the best ways to improve your programming skills. In recent weeks, I’ve done several exercises on a couple of online websites. Those being CodinGames and HackerRank; you can follow my progress here and here. Coding exercises are great for improving your coding skills. But it’s also a chance to spend time in minimising the code you generate.

I’ve been focusing on learning Scala, a JVM-based function programming language. It’s a magnificent language with a rich streaming library perfect for this sort of thing. But as anyone who has done any of these challenges, it often involves a lot of algebra. And sometimes trigonometry. Although I’m okay at assembling my own formulas for solving problems. But solving for x can sometimes be a tad challenging when the formula is a bit complex.

Lucky for me, I’ve found a couple of websites that can help. Mathway and Wolfram Alpha are two good sites that can help in providing alternate forms to a formula. Both are easy to use if you understand math. Wolfram Alpha is particularly fun to explore.As an example, I used the Pythagorean theorem.

When you submit the formula in Mathway, it will ask which variable to solve for. It will then provide some alternate forms you can use. Doing the same in Wolfram Alpha will provide some interesting finds as well.

I’m not a math genius so I won’t go into details. I do suggest that you give the tools a try. If you are a fan, they’re definitely worth investigating.


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