October 27, 2013

Pay Attention in Math Class

While it’s one of the driest parts of any high school career, I can’t overstate the importance of math class. Over the past few years, my job has been becoming more and more about implementing incredible visual designs, and as such, has required more and more raw math skill.

From simple custom layouts to complex 3D transforms, animation curves and now – in iOS 7 – collision physics1, you cannot “fake it until you make it” when implementing custom interfaces. Trial and error is impossible when your problem space is infinite, and good API will only take you so far. The core concepts that are taught in high school algebra, geometry, trigonometry, physics, and calculus are used nearly every day in the world of interface design and development.

Software isn’t a shrinking field, and interfaces aren’t getting less visual. If your career path veers anywhere towards the technical, I urge you to take great care in your math studies – as irrelevant as the homework may seem. I promise you that sooner or later, it will be worth your time.

  1. You could still do collision physics in iOS 6.0 and prior, you just needed to do much more math yourself.