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Would it be wise to take AP Calculus to pursue a career in Information Technology?

Hi, I just became a senior in high school and have plans to pursue a career in IT security. I have a choice to take AP Calculus this year. My other options are Business Math or Statistics. Would Calculus be a helpful course to prepare for an IT career? I know it is not a mandatory course to take, like it would be for someone entering Computer Science. But I have looked at other discussions and many people says that it helps you think differently. Thank you for any advice and comments. #information-technology #cyber-security #computer-security #it-management #information-security #it-security

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Gail’s Answer

Hi Zachary,

I would look at it a different way. Which of these courses are pertinent to your career and if you are out of work, which will help get a job outside of your field(if needed)? Calculus won't help with any of the IT disciplines I've worked in unless you want to go into a mathematical field. Business math.. hum, I don't know what that is. I personally would take statistics. I am a business analyst and quality assurance person. I was laid off and when looking for a job, saw several for an Data Analyst. They required things like statistics, report writing, data aggregation etc.

You have chosen a very popular profession!

Hope this helps,

Thank you Gail! I will take your advice into consideration. a Z.

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Jeff’s Answer

I have been in IT for over 22 years and have never needed or known someone who needed that level of math. You would probably need it to design computer electronics or maybe to design software, but I have not been in those sectors so I am not sure. Hope this helps

Thank you for your insight! a Z.

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Jason’s Answer

I'd think of it this way, it's high school math. No one is going to give you a job based on high school math in a technology field role. Before you graduate college, you will have done yourself a major disservice not taking at least one entry level statistics course. Almost every technical professional can do better understanding at least basic stats. When hiring though, I've never discussed a person's HS classes.

Business math usually used for simple evaluations and probably a waste of your valuable time. Don't go the easy path. Even if they have financials and P&L evaluation, again you'll want the college level version to justify your experience when working in industry.

Calculus is like a right of passage for smart kids in college. Nearly everyone applying to a top tier school will have AP Calc on their GPA. The best part about Calc, is its a ticket to entry for nearly all higher level math, economics, and science courses. If you choose to change majors to engineering, computer science, etc. you will value having this course. You'll also have the opportunity to get a math level credit in college and test out for most universities. That means you can take the stat class you want at the college level. Calc also teaches you about basic principles around areas and rate of change that are fundamentals in most science courses. It betters your understanding of how math and the world operate.

Depending on you, your teacher and classmates, AP Calc can be difficult. If you're worried about graduation GPA, this may be too hard, however top schools will be looking for these type of AP courses for applicants. Talk to your high school advisor who can probably give better information about how students are fairing with recruiters recently.

Hope that gives you some decision points to consider.

Thank you Jason for your in-depth response! I have gotten pretty good grades in my math classes the past 3 years, so it looks like I should go with Calculus. a Z.

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Otto’s Answer

HS classes are going to be the base for your college. So from that perspective, unless you have a specific liking towards specific fields of math, I would go with the one that provides you with a better training field. Statistics and Business math are very practical fields, and you will have them at College, usually associated with specific fields of application. Calculus on the other hand, can work as stepping stone for any mathematical field. You could associated it with basic algebraic functions. A solid foundation supports your development into whatever mathematical field you go.

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Kazim’s Answer

Hi, you are talking about high school, I will suggest take as many college credit classes as you can in order to cut down your college work load. At this stage in your life it doesn't matter if it is AP Calculus or AP History, make sure that the your college of choice gives you credit for these AP classes and also take the class you are able to Ace. Calculus will force you think logically and History will force you to retain memorized information, both are good skills to have in college and professional life. My son is working with his high school counselor to select college credit AP classes

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Dhruvil’s Answer

Hello, It depend on how good you are at math. Since in high school all topics are not get cover, sometime it will cause hard time.

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Elizabeth’s Answer

I have a bit of a different perspective: With 30+ years in the IT/Communications/Cyber field I've found advanced math concepts to be one of the distinguishing features I offer; i.e., it sets me apart in a very positive way to enable my in-depth technical analysis of cryptographic algorithms. So, the best answer: It depends - do you want to first create a depth of knowledge or a width of knowledge? Ideally, over time you'll develop both. I chose depth of knowledge to advance more quickly in a narrow field then broadened my skills. Take a look at the specialization needed for your career interests, try to map those skills to the availability needed to form a Supply/Demand model - it's one approach to help in decision making. Good Luck in whatever you do.
Math-lover turned Cyber-geek, Liz

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Sierra’s Answer


I majored in Computer Engineering, and Calculus 1, 2, & 3 were required at my school for Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Software Engineering. I chose to take AP Calculus in high school so I could start with Calc 2 my first semester of college. I think it was definitely worth it. I felt more ahead of the game, and I saved paying for it in college.

Now practically, I can't say that I use calculus on the job. Schools require it for a reason, but I would guess more to build critical thinking skills. But if you plan to go to college , I would certainly suggest taking AP calculus in high school over the other options.