I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this, but I felt it appropriate.

I want to start getting into more mathematics and learning all I can to step up my programming career. I know plenty of programming languages but I feel like if I can understand more math concepts I can really make some amazing things.

I didn't do well in High School because I slacked off and didn't care (which I regret now). Now that I have found programming (my passion) I just want to learn more and more and more.

I know addition, subtraction, multiplication & division. I even remember some basic Geometry and Algebra, but that's about it, I may even need to refresh those.

I see things that are explained in a more mathematical way and I would love to know more about the complicated parts of math, I just have no clue where to begin. I want to start with the basic and work my way up.

I am interested in 3D math, big data analysis, physics, and statistics.

So, my question has a few parts:

  1. Where do I start? Where is the best place for someone like me to pick back up and build off of that knowledge into more complicated things? What books or resources could I start with??
  2. Are there certain parts of math I don't need to know? Should I just focus on the things I am interested in?
  3. What math is pertinent for 3D math, physics, statistics and data analysis?
  4. What is calculus? (I have always been interested in what this is, an easy to understand explanation would be great)

Thanks in advance!

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Good for you! I find that I use trig/geometry more than anything when I code. Also number theory and set theory are always popping up in computer science. Depending on what you're working on, you probably don't need much calculus, although knowing basics will shed light on certain things. $\endgroup$ – Carser Apr 9 '14 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Jedediyah Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. $\endgroup$ – Sethen Apr 9 '14 at 16:09

It seems like you are a non-traditional student (left High school, some years passed and now want to go back and learn). I do not know about your financial situation, but I would go visit a community college first. They are the cheapest and you can take plenty of math courses there, including 18 credits of calculus. If that's not enough, you can transfer to a 4 year institution and get a bachelors in a computer related field that suits your desires. This track also answers your fourth question in my view

  • $\begingroup$ Going back to college for me is not an option. I've learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Python, C# and SQL all by reading books. In fact, I am senior software engineer currently and I am very good at what I do. I know I am very capable to learn on my own, I don't need a college course to teach me. $\endgroup$ – Sethen Apr 9 '14 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ @SethenMaleno Ok, then this is another approach: First get a precalculus book from an online site and then get a calculus book. Stewart or something comparable. You have a good set of brains, allocate time and do self study. You may AUDIT a course if you wish. I did that once (not in a math course but in a course where math was used) and learned a lot. Time and devotion should do it when I read your comment above. And of course, if you need help, mathstackexchange is here to help. $\endgroup$ – imranfat Apr 9 '14 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ I can appreciate that you're a great self-learner, and if it's not an option then it's not an option, but @imranfat make a great point. I'm sure you don't need school, but it gives you all sorts of good shortcuts in learning that make it more efficient, and it can be very helpful when looking for a job doing what you're passionate about. $\endgroup$ – Carser Apr 9 '14 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Jedediyah This is true. I think my particular learning style is all about figuring it out on my own and I know I can do that. I feel like I retain information better when I am given a book and paper/text editor. $\endgroup$ – Sethen Apr 9 '14 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ Sethen: Khan Academy is excellent, especially for brushing up on your math, and studying trig, calculus, etc. There's also Paul's Notes for calc...(I think also linear algebra, which will step up your programming.) You might want to consider looking at online (free) offerings on Coursera... $\endgroup$ – amWhy Apr 9 '14 at 16:21

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