I'm taking some college courses and they have so much math. Why is that?

I'm very good with computers already software and a little bit of hardware and I fix other laptops/Desktops Linux Boxes, Macs etc..

Is this normal or is it just a requirement to get a good job?

  • $\begingroup$ It's because math allows us to be precise in what we mean. $\endgroup$
    – Juho
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Juho what do you mean? I thought Computer Science just enhances my skills. Like I'm going to learn something I don't know $\endgroup$
    – Big Joe
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ something I don't know [yet] like math helping to derive results? $\endgroup$
    – greybeard
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 7:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What does it mean to be "good at software" ? I have been developing software daily for the last 45 years and received a heavy education in computer science (PhD level), and still know so little... $\endgroup$
    – user16034
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 9:34
  • $\begingroup$ @RodrigodeAzevedo I'm realizing I need a different major that's all $\endgroup$
    – Big Joe
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 13:47

2 Answers 2


The activities you mention are not computer science but hardware maintenance and system administration. Computer science is about inventing new algorithms and data structures tailored to new unforeseen situations, it is about inventing new concepts that can be built into new programming languages, inventing new communication protocols, etc. These all require a great deal of knowledge, and especially mathematical knowledge, because they are based on mathematics. For example, do you believe you could competently design a 3D graphics library without having a good grasp of geometry and linear algebra? Do you think you can understand "exponential back-off" in network protocols if you don't understand "exponential" and some probability theory? How about understanding RSA encryption without knowing number theory? You will just have to trust your teachers a little bit there with the fact that math is good for computer science.

Of course, if all you want to do is system administration, configuration of software that was designed and written by someone else, and installing new graphics cards into old computers, or be a mid-range manager, then you don't need that much math – but you don't need a college degree either.

If computers were cars, we could describe the difference as one between a good mechanic, and an engineer with the ability to help design new cars – and such a car engineer would need to know, you guessed it, a lot of math.


Computer Science is essentially about programming computers, how to do it rigorously, efficiently and using methods that have been proven useful by generations of scientists. (To a lesser extent, it is also about designing new hardware at the bit level.)

The skills that you mention have nothing to do with programming, so better make up your mind about your future trade.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks, I'm going to re-look at what my actual goal and Major is. Maybe I need something else. My math and overall depth at computers suck then. I need a new field of study $\endgroup$
    – Big Joe
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 16:00

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