illustration for Math and Functional Programming Aren't Exclusive to Wizards with Brian Lonsdorf

episode 29

Math and Functional Programming Aren't Exclusive to Wizards with Brian Lonsdorf

Joel and Brian Lonsdorf discuss the pain and growth of learning, math as a source of truth, dispelling that idea that you need to be a wizard to enter the functional programming space, and finally how you can start including functional concepts in your day to day work.

There's a reason that mathematicians tend to be the best functional programmers. The theories and patterns directly apply, it has truth and purity. It's powerful, almost powerful enough to describe everything, so what makes people turn away from it?

Traditionally, math gets taught in a dry manner from a young age, tables are memorized, and facts get drilled. It isn't until much later that interesting concepts like set theory get introduced, and at that point, it's too late for many people.

Material that's "dry" doesn't have to be taught that way. It's been three and a half years since Brian first put Professor's Frisby's guide up on Github and it brought light and friendly perspective to heavy material. It showed that the functional programming paradigm was learnable without requiring a deep dive into Haskell.

The deep dive doesn't work for everyone. There's merit in starting with something like Gatsby and just getting something out there that you can play with immediately, and then later learn the fundamentals of Javascript. The same thing applies to learning functional programming. You can start composing with Lodash and ease into the deeper patterns and concepts.


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