For the longest time, we’ve always assumed that the best coders were maths or engineering whizzes, and only if you’re good at either of those disciplines will you be able to code.
Turns out, being good at maths isn’t an important aptitude for coders at all. According to a study published in Nature‘s Scientific Reports, the best coders were good at learning languages.
The small study – of 36 adults – followed their journey as they learned Python while undergoing a battery of tests to assess them for skills like problem-solving and memory retention. The results showed that those who learned Python fastest and most accurately had strong language abilities, plus a good working memory and reasoning abilities (all part of learning a language). Their maths skills barely mattered.
Since most programming courses are often taught in engineering or computer science departments – where being good at maths is a must – these findings have huge implications. It may be that those most suited to excel at coding – like humanities students with language skills – may be left out of STEM programmes, and a lucrative career in coding.
What does this mean? Apparently learning to code is akin to learning a new language like French or Japanese, so for those of you who hate maths – coding need not be off your career cards just yet!