Math is an essential component of computer science which underpins computing and programming concepts. Without it, you would find it challenging to make sense of abstract language, algorithms, data structures or differential equations. All of which are necessary to fully appreciate how computers work.
But, as someone who’s just starting out, it can be unclear exactly which math subjects are required for computer science. There are also arguments within the industry as to exactly how much you need to know. Largely depending on the area of the industry you work in and your chosen specialisation. Which doesn’t help to clear things up.
Knowing what math subjects are essential enables you to assess your current level of understanding. And the next best steps to take in your education should you need to brush up on your skills.
So, we explore the maths subjects you need for most aspects of computer science. And how they relate to the subject. Plus, resources to help you get math savvy in preparation for taking a computer science course.
Math Subjects and how they relate to Computer Science
Choosing to shy away from learning math can hinder your professional and academic opportunities. By taking the essential math head on, you’ll develop the underlying logic that working effectively in computer science requires.
In discrete mathematics you study objects that have distinct, separated values, such as integers, graphs and statements in logic. It stays away from continuous mathematics topics like calculus. Instead, it includes those that can be used to answer various tangible inquiries. As such, discrete math is an important building block throughout computer science as its problem-solving methods help create complicated software. You’ll see it used in computer architecture, algorithms, computer systems, databases, distributed systems, machine learning, operating systems and more.
Computers use the digits 0 and 1 to store data, otherwise known as binary. That puts binary math at the heart of computer operations, making it likely the most important math subject to learn. It is used to symbolise every number within a computer and acts as an alternative to the decimal system. The reason for this is it helps simplify computer designs, reading and mathematical operations for hardware low-level programming.
A hexadecimal (or hex) number systems is a base 16 system that is used to simplify how binary is represented. Providing a user-friendly representation of binary-coded values. So, knowing how to work with this is necessary to perform programming functions such as setting colours. You’ll use standard arithmetic in many functions of computer programming. For instance, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division area used in almost every written program.
In algebra you learn to calculate formulas and equations to find variables or solutions for both simple and complex problems. By learning this subject, you learn to define relationships between objects and problem solve with limited variables. Which enhances your analytic ability. In computer science, algebra is used in many ways. From evaluating code paths to processor optimisation, and relational database design. But it also plays a big part in the development of algorithms and software working with mathematical objects. As well as designing formulas used within numerical programs and for complete scientific computations.
By studying statistics, you look at ways to obtain, review, evaluate and draw conclusions from data. Utilising a diverse range of measurement methods like mean, variance, analysis of variance and kurtosis to paint a clearer picture. In computer science, statistics plays a fundamental part. As it is used throughout areas like data mining, speech recognition, vision and image analysis and even artificial intelligence. In learning this subject, you’ll better understand algorithms and other important aspects of computer science.
Through calculus you learn about continuous change and the rates change occurs. Both types of calculus (integral and differential) will enable you to understand the rate of change of a quantity. In computer science, you’ll program systems to monitor and even predict change. Whether this is in algorithms, simulations or problem-solving applications, understanding differential equations will help your work.
Get started with an Access to HE Diploma (Computer Science and Mathematics)
If you need to brush up on your skills in any of the above areas, there are plenty of ways you can do so. There are many books and online courses that are dedicated to enhancing your mathematical knowledge.
Though, one of the best ways to boost your knowledge in this area is to take a course that relates math teaching to computer science. That’s where an Access to HE Diploma (Computer Science and Mathematics) can help.
Aside from teaching you key computational practices, it combines mathematical thinking with computer science theory. Teaching you advance mathematic subjects and their application to the field.
Throughout the course you will explore:
Where you’ll learn about differentiation and integration, and how you can apply both to solve problems.
Enabling you to recognise trigonometrical functions, apply trigonometry and understand the principles of trigonometric graphs.
Increasing your understanding of series, mathematical operations on logarithms, the application of mathematical operations on surds and applying algebraic methods.
Teaching you how to plan and carry out an investigation by collecting and processing an appropriate range of data. How to interpret and analyse the results and evaluate the investigation.
It will also prepare you for university level learning by dedicating modules to skills that allow you to perform as an undergraduate.
Access to HE Diplomas are a nationally recognised Level 3 qualification that acts as an alternative to A Levels. Allowing you to study one course that prepares you for the profession and university at the same time.
Another benefit is that the course is available to study online, from home, around your schedule. So nothing will get in the way of your education and progression towards a new career.
Stonebridge Associated Colleges is a leading UK distance provider. Find out more about our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Computer Science and Maths) by clicking below.