I’m Not Good at Math

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m not good at Math”? Often times this statement is used as a reason why something technical cannot possibly be pursued. It’s a self-inflicted limitation; a reason that entire areas of study cannot be pursued. If you have ever said this, stop it. Don’t repeat it even if you believe you are not good at math. Why? Because while you may not be good at math now, there is no reason why that should stop you from learning it.

Math, Music and Programming

Years ago, back in the days before PCs and more importantly computer science degrees offered by major universities, IBM was working on developing mainframe computers and needed people to help them develop them. Since there were no computer MathandMusicscience degrees being offered at that time, they hired people with degrees in Math and Music. Music? Why Music? Music uses the same part of the brain as math does. This is one of the reasons educators think that music should be taught to small children as it has been shown to improve math scores. Personally I have found it interesting to ask technical people if they play or have played an instrument. Ask around yourself and you may be surprised at the large number of people in technical fields who have or do play a musical instrument. Musicians have the brain training needed to be good technical people, regardless of their math skills.

Learning Limits

There are no limits to what you can learn, other than the limits you put on yourself. The brain is very complex and there are infinite ways to train it to do something. Generally speaking one is not good at math because they haven’t learned it.  Oddly enough, discouraging one’s ability to learn often starts in school. If this sounds familiar, remember life isn’t school.  Often times a school setting isn’t the best way to learn anything. Performance in class is not indicative of one’s ability to learn. It may have be the ability of the instructor to teach or willingness to focus at that time. I am willing to bet you don’t view the world the way you did when you were sixteen, so why would you judge your ability to learn with that same filter?

Machine Learning is a Skill Which Can Be Learned

I know a very smart developer who told me recently that he wasn’t good at math, so he couldn’t possibly do machine learning. Really. PowerShell, Networking, TSQL, C#, SSIS, MDX and DAX you could learn but you can’t teach yourself Machine Learning? I am not going to say it is easy, but I wouldn’t say that about any of the other development and IT tasks either. If you can learn one of those, you can learn Machine Learning too, despite your belief in your math skills. There is no reason why not. I think Yoda said it best “Do or do not. There is no Try”. There is nothing really stopping you.

Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur


3 comments on “I’m Not Good at Math

    1. Ginger Grant

      Rowland —

      Glad you liked it! Just think coding is helping your guitar playing too.


  1. Fabiola

    Great post! it’s true, I think was Einstein who said this =) “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, believe his whole life is a stupid”.

    All can learn to program only need self motivation!

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