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Has calculus enhanced your IT career?

By pennatomcat ·
While struggling to get through Calculus in college, I often wondered how it might benefit me sometime in the future. I'm still wondering. I've found Algebra to be quite useful on several occasions, but (thankfully) Calculus has never come into the picture. Has anyone reaped any benefit from Calculus coursework?

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by Dr Dij In reply to Has calculus enhanced you ...

you work in the biz intel side you're likely to use it (areas under curves in forecasting, etc) and alot of other math: statistics functions, etc.

Any engineering related IT would have chance to use it too. I've actually found use for trigonometry on the job. we need fn to calculate distance between two points (closest dealer to a customer kind of thing), and least squares doesn't cut it for distance.

lat/longitudes do NOT form squares, and distance gets much closer at poles.

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by k.dombek In reply to if

Weighing in with my opinion:

In 1997 I was told that the reason for Calculus was simple - it functioned to weed out the non-dedicated, less-desirable programmers.

No, I've never used it. But I took it (through Integral) in a month, and passed with a B+.

Sweated blood doing it.

I guess it's more a measure of what you CAN do.

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traffic engineering

by cprotopapas In reply to if

If you do traffic engineering you DO need!calculus helps.

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And this is what is wrong with the American education system

Calculus in and of itself has never once been useful to me. The methods of thinking that Calculus taught me have been the difference between being stuck on a problem and being able to complete my task. The usefulness of education is not always directly attached to the knowledge gained. I double majored in liberal arts. The ability to be able to take raw facts and transform them in a logical way into a complete arguement that is bulletproof to attack has been a tremendous help for writing code. The "soft skills" such as comprehensive reading and writing have been better for my career than any amount of IT knowledge.

Take the calculus, trust me. You will look back ten years later, and realise just how often you use it, even if you never take an derivitive or integral ever again after college.


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I can't agree that learning caclulus enhances other learning.

by Navy Moose In reply to And this is what is wrong ...

I suffered through both pre-calc and calulus as an undergraduate. Thankfully, I have never had to attempt to use either. I was an accounting major, so we didn't have "pure" pre-calculus or calculus.

I never felt it was neccessary for the management college. Not once in any of my coursework was there any math beyond algebra. This holds true for when I got my MBA.

I didn't find that learning the math changed my thinking or my approach to problem solving. I felt it was six credits which could have gone to something more useful.

Just my $0.02.

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Then you have not done technical computing.

by X-MarCap In reply to I can't agree that learni ...

The fact that you don't use calculus on a given day is only that the language of physics is calculus. When you get to do truly technical computing, quite often calculus is the only answer.

Yes, I have even used Tensor calculus. (I had to do some forecasting with spring tension...) I thought I'd never use anything beyond basic algebra. I was wrong...

The point is that you may not realize what you are really going to use. Load up on Math, or you'll end up in business management...

MBAs often can't do the Math required of a technician... They usually are Pretty people in management, who by definition aren't needed to do a job they need to manage people and situations...
From the Navy Moose's perspective it is not needed, but he couldn't do quite a few of the jobs I have done in the past.

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Sorry you never experienced that "ah ha" moment,

by deepsand In reply to I can't agree that learni ...

when you were overcome by the shear beauty of having a phenomenon elegantly described by a simple mathematical expression or equation; i.e. the intimate linkage between something known through the senses and that known by thought.

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That's why I disagree with general education requirements in college.

by Absolutely In reply to I can't agree that learni ...

I personally have found that learning calculus was enriching, but I asknowledge that my subjective experience does not give me the right to force anybody else to learn it, or to require that college class of anybody who won't use it in their career. Now, if those people who will never use calculus will also admit that I don't need to take 10+ classes outside of the science department to be a good scientist, we can all just get along.

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Don't Know What Will Be Needed

by Wayne M. In reply to That's why I disagree wit ...

A ggod set of general education requirements should prepare someone for a wide range of possibilities. It should be expected that an individual may only use a small subset of the topics learned, but for the entire population, all of the general learning should come into play.

I would say, however, there are several general education options I would put higher on my list than calculus. I would include: statistics and experiment design, persuasive writing, speech writing and public speaking, marketing and economics, psychology, and logic and philosophy. These are skills that any IT professional will probably use on a consistent basis and are sorely lacking.

I think that Colleges and Universities need to provide a stronger grounding in general requirements. Though I enjoyed calculus, I think that it would tend to fall towards the bottom of my list based on wide-spread use.

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So put them higher on YOUR list.

by Absolutely In reply to Don't Know What Will Be N ...

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