A Real Bankers’ Bonus

Banking transactions are powered by the most sophisticated and complicated backend database, middleware, and front-end technologies. But as technologists we have to instruct these instruments by way of coding, applying logic, and maintaining its longevity.

However, let’s start with one of the biggest turn-offs for most people when it comes to coding: ‘if my maths is terrible, am I a lost cause?’

It depends what you want to do. To develop websites and applications, your elementary maths skills. The maths you learn in primary school will see you through nicely. Thinking logically and conceptually is also very important.

To understand this you need to understand what the programmer or developer, is actually doing. Firstly they identify and define a task, setting out a number of actions that need to take place in sequence, in order for the desired outcome to be achieved.

To take a suitably festive example, say you wanted to write a simple code to create a Christmas tree with a countdown to Christmas. You’d use a series of while looping logic instructions to produce something like this:

int main()


int i=-1,j=0,rows;
printf(“Enter Rows:\n”);

while(j++<rows) // Moving pointer for the first ‘*’


printf(” “);


printf(“*”); // This prints the first ‘*’



for(j=-2;++j<rows-i;) // This loop will print Spaces before ‘*’ on each row

printf(” “);

for(j=0;++j<2*i;) // This loop will print * on each row




printf(“\n”); // This printf will take you to the next Line




See output at end of blog.

It’s not exactly app-worthy, but what you can see is how maths interacts with logic. As there some equations being applied in this example. “You”, the developer, are instructing the computer program to complete tasks using logic.

Banking applications use very complex algorithms to compute trade transactions every second, and every day of the year. Whilst these calculations are essential to the successful running of the program, the programmer needs to know how they are done.

But here’s the interesting part, as soon as you venture out of the world of website and application building you do need to become familiar with more complicated mathematical theory and practice – and even some physics and perhaps even some relativity if you want to go into trade derivate programming.

Funnily enough, the better you are at art and design in the programming world, the better you need to be at maths. Think back to geometry and calculus from your school days.

As with anything, it is easier to be excited about learning if there is a specific idea you’re driven to explore. And so as you develop your skills as a programmer you may well stumble across a discipline you really want to understand. That may require you to go and learn more skills, including maths – but don’t let that put you off getting started in the first place.

Christmas tree

M. Hussain, Investment Banker, JP Morgan