Stephen O’Grady explains why he’s taking a statistics class:
Life, according to economics, is about incentives. My incentive to learn such things is simple: the ability to be able to understand more completely what data is trying to tell us will have value. Value more than sufficient to offset my investment. Or so I hope.
I would love to learn more about statistics for a very simple reason — so many of the things that interest me most these days were written by people who are using statistical methods to break down data. Whether the topic is sports, economics, or political science, people are using statistics to look at old problems in new and interesting ways.
I’m also seeing more and more ways that a better understanding of statistics could make me better at my job. In software development, we’re a lot better at gathering data than we are at analyzing that data to turn it into useful information. In many cases, we look at performance information and have a hard time distinguishing between noise and clues. Getting better at that requires deeper math.
Why programmers should study math
One thing I’ve come to appreciate in the past year is the degree to which a solid math education can benefit a software developer. Google software engineer Javier Tordable surveys the math behind a number of Google products in his presentation Mathematics at Google. Inspirational.