Do software engineers need mathematics?
Software engineers often proclaim that they never use any of the mathematics they learned in college. Come to that, they say they don’t use much of the computer science they learned either. As a mathematician, I’ll leave it to my CS colleagues to respond to the latter allegation. (At least, I would if all my CS colleagues hadn’t left academia to work for an Internet startup!) As far as the use of mathematics is concerned, however, let me respond. In my view, those software engineers are dead right: They don’t use their college mathematics. Having got that off my chest, let me go on to say that they are also dead wrong. They make use of their college mathematics education every day. There’s no paradox here. It comes down — in Clintonesque fashion — to what you mean by that word “use.” One meaning is the one those software engineers will have encountered in their math classes. For example, having learned the rule for integration by parts in their calculus class, they were then given ex