It’s a Given: Math is a must for your future in IT. As a software developer or a systems analyst, you won’t necessarily be quizzed on your knowledge of the Pythagorean theorem, but you will need to understand math’s bigger picture. Mastering math means that you can recognize patterns, think logically, see relationships, and solve problems. Building and developing your math muscle is just what you want to do to move towards that IT job.
You’ll need to take certain math classes in high school to get into the 2- or 4-year college or university program of your choice. Four years of math in high school is strongly recommended for most IT careers, especially those in the software development cluster and the web design/development cluster. Calculus is, in more cases than not, required to complete your degree in IT or Computer Science. So start deciding which classes to tackle now—every challenging math class you take is one more step toward your IT dream career.
What to remember: While we always want to be the student who gets the A or B in a course, think about it this way – you understanding and mastering the principles of math is the most important thing here. You have the understanding to move on.
Math Anxiety? You’re Not Alone!
Many middle and high school students struggle with math, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of! If you’re struggling, getting help and guidance is the way to go.
Don’t believe the myths about math. If you think that some people are just “gifted” in math, think again. Anyone who applies themselves (we know…it takes time, effort, and dedication) will eventually experience this thing, that is kind of reassuring; with math there is always THE RIGHT ANSWER. How often does that happen in a world of uncertainty? To be successful in today’s IT world everyone has experience and get through that right of passage – math. And, everyone can do it with the right resources and practice!
One of the best pieces on the ATETV (Advanced Technological Education Television) website, It All Comes Back to Math, explains why math is perceived as a struggle. William Schmidt, Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Michigan believes that, “Why math is perceived as being difficult is simply based on a longstanding accepted culture of ‘math phobia’.” Read this piece and see why you are not alone. And, see why you can change your relationship with math.
Here’s Where and Who You Can Go To Start Your Math Success Story:
- Math Teachers at your school: They don’t have to be your current teacher! Ask around and see if a teacher from another grade or class can meet with you to talk math.
- Other students: Form a study group or make an appointment to meet with another classmate every week to work on math together. Collaboration will not only help you reach those “Ah ha” moments faster, it’s also a major part of the underlying principles that guide the work of an IT professional. And you’ll remember and understand concepts much better if you can explain them to others.
- Informal Tutors: You need not spend a fortune on a private tutor! Anyone with a proven track record of math success (good grades, IT job, etc…) might be a good person to help you with certain concepts.
- Private Learning Centers: Places like Kumon and Sylvan Learning Center offer specialized tutoring sessions and classes to focus in on your problem areas. They do charge tuition. Consult with your parents and see if it’s right for you.
- This website provides some interesting (and free) links to math resources and exploration.
Practice Makes Perfect: The final word in math success: Practice! It’s how you’ll go from average to good, and good to great. Set aside at least an hour a day to practice math or statistics, and pretty soon you’ll not only be at the head of the class (watch out, curve!), but you’ll be that much closer to a fulfilling IT career.