# How important would a statistics course be to a software developer? [closed]

How important would a statistics course be to a software developer? More specifically given the description:

2510 Statistics for Physical Science Students (F) & (W) examines elements of probability, conditional probability, Bayes' Theorem, discrete random variables, cumulative distribution function, introduction to continuous random variables, mathematical expectation, estimation of mean, proportion and variance, hypothesis testing for one-sample case

I'm trying to find out whether I have room to add more CS courses. This course (STAT 2510) is not required, but is "recommended".

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## closed as off-topic by Ixrec, MichaelT, Snowman, Dan Pichelman, gnatMay 13 '15 at 5:05

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Zed Shaw on this topic: zedshaw.com/essays/programmer_stats.html – Ken Liu Jul 14 '12 at 2:47

More important than you might initially expect it to be. Probability and the ability to impose certain types of distributions on an input can help analyze certain algorithms, and in some cases improve their performance (see Quicksort). There is also the stat under-pinnings of hashing. I wouldn't say it is critical as you can probably pick up most of the statistics knowledge you will need from any good algorithms book (CLRS for example) but it is useful.

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Forget about whether this is useful to a programmer. I find this basic statistics knowledge so indispensable that I don't understand why it's not taught in dumbed-down form (i.e. without calculus) in high school. Learning these concepts can be useful in data mining/machine learning fields, since this field is arguably the intersection of statistics and computer science. Even if you never do any data mining, understanding basic statistical concepts will make it easier for you to interpret things like performance benchmarks. It could even be useful for understanding things like Web server load. The number of users signed on can be modeled as a random variable with a Poisson distribution, though the Poisson parameter may vary by time of day.