Even Though She Was Bad At Math, She Coded
Cat Carbonell May 16
(Hedy Lamarr was definitely not bad at math.)
Like many, many UX designers, I came from an artistic/graphic design background: I started drawing when I was able to mimic the action of putting pencil to paper.
Though, unlike most programmers/engineers/developers:
I could not grasp math concepts to save my life.
Even though I was happily hacking away at my little patches of web real estate in the late 90s, that little fact of life, that very flaw of my existence plagued me.
Rather than ask for help, I accepted my fate.
As a result, I kept barely passing or even failing math test after math test.
You had to be good at math to work with computers, right?
I had no future as a programmer.
But since I liked working on my sites, drawing, and had some school shirt design requests, I considered graphic design as a profession-- but I believed that I had no right to:
I believed I was not good at drawing or design, either.
I waffled throughout high school and college about what I wanted to do with my life.
I dropped out of a formal college and attended an art school for motion graphic design.
I still believed I wasn't good enough, so I dropped out of that.
I went to beauty school, finished, got my license and worked at a few spas, grew to despise the beauty industry, and ultimately left to run a gym.
Something about working behind a counter peddling gym memberships or eyebrow wax punch cards simply did not sit right with me, though;
Despite everything, I knew I wanted to do more.
Despite battling depression, I believed I could do more.
At the gym, I was surrounded by techies (Berkeley, who knew?). One of the part-time instructors (who is still a full-time devOps engineer) encouraged me to consider UX design as a career.
"But doesn't that involve math?"
"But I suck at designing."
"You re-designed the entirety of this gym's branding."
"...okay so where do I start."
I chose to go through a university program, but with an emphasis in web development.
I could've easily attempted another go at graphic design.
But I was determined to learn how to code.
I went through real programming classes and survived. I learned Vanilla JS at first, then Python, then Angular and jQuery, SQL, and PHP.
This was my final project. (Coded in Angular JS in 2016)
In high school, I graduated with a 2.3 GPA.
I finished college with a 3.9 GPA and was named Salutatorian.
I still had to take math, though. But I did pretty well!
(In fact, I actually got an A! The only A I have ever received in a math class ever!)
...but I still have trouble adding up plates on a barbell.
I even made a stupid comic about it.
I'm working at a big-name company now, using what I know as a developer and as a designer to improve designer-engineer communication.
I'm also practicing and sharpening my skills through the Enki app, and trying out freeCodeCamp, Udemy, and Team Treehouse classes.
If you believe, you can achieve.
- Do you need to be an expert at math to be an impactful developer?
- Will knowing advanced math concepts make you a better developer?