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This may or may not belong on meta, but I didn't have a specific math related question so felt it fits within here (meta).

I am a software developer, I have some college algebra under my belt but it was about seven years ago. Math is not one of my strongest subjects (ironically) and I believe I would be a better developer if I improved my knowledge in areas such as algebra, trig, calculus just to name a few.

Where can I start relearning some of the fundamentals of algebra on this site? And also, where can I get started with trig and calculus? When I try to research these topics, it feels like there are large gaps in my understanding of maybe other math fundamentals to these disciplines and therefore I cannot begin to grasp the ideas expressed in questions asked here or even just educational sites teaching these subjects.

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    $\begingroup$ While Math.SE aims to help students of mathematics at all levels, it does so by providing content in a Q&A format (take the tour for more details). It does not try to replace the systematic learning experience of coursework (whether online, self-directed, or classroom based studies), though it may often help with fine granularity problems that arise in such pursuits. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Oct 9 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree with the votes to close as off-topic. This is definitely a question about the site - the fact that the answer is negative doesn't impact that. $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Oct 10 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ probability is probably more essential if you want fast software in a math type of software environment. $\endgroup$ – Roddy MacPhee Oct 13 at 20:45
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This site isn't really a good place to learn math - rather, its (most common) role is to answer specific questions which crop up during that process. You won't find coherent approaches to topics here because that's not the goal. MSE should only be used as an auxiliary source, to fill gaps and clarify issues that arise from the main text(s) or class(es) that you're using.

I recommend an online class - something that provides structure and continuity. Self-teaching in mathematics is genuinely difficult, especially when you're trying to piece together information from multiple different sources (which may use different explanations, or even different terminology and notation!). I also recommend avoiding the temptation to start as advanced as possible; instead, figure out what you're totally comfortable with, and start at the upper end of that. This may feel annoying at first, but it prevents the common issue of getting partway through some material and having to turn back, which is even more discouraging.


That said, it's worth observing that you shouldn't be worried by not understanding many of the questions here. While some questions at MSE are at the basic level, others are quite complicated - certainly I don't understand all the questions here (to put it mildly!). The range of questions here is just so broad that you shouldn't expect to follow it all.

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  • $\begingroup$ First, thanks for your response. I have used Stack Overflow frequently for my programming needs since I became a developer. It's been a terrific resource for basic and advanced knowledge of programming. You're right though, it's best value was when I had a specific programming question/issue. $\endgroup$ – PeonProgrammer Oct 9 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ @PeonProgrammer Exactly, I'm not saying it's not useful - it absolutely is - but it isn't really a complete source on its own. $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Oct 9 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ If you study or have studied a language, the following tips for studying mathematics might sound familiar: 1) join an organised group/class/use a guided textbook, and use other resources such as YouTube or this site as a supplement only. 2) practice regularly so that you get more familiar with the key concepts. $\endgroup$ – Toby Mak Oct 12 at 13:59
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From my experience, it is better to use this forum for answers/guides to specific questions/problems. That said, Pauls Math Notes contains the fundamentals from algebra to calculus.

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Although this site does not have a specific course, you can ask the question:,"explain how equations work". After you do so, you will know how equations work and therefore will have learned how to solve equations.

You still need to view external sources to know what to ask about, however.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think a user should ask broadly to "explain how equations work." Perhaps you mean that one could ask about what a specific equation requires and/or what one needs to solve that equation. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Oct 9 at 22:25
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    $\begingroup$ Indeed, I expect that if someone posted "explain how equations work" as a question, it would be closed in minutes. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 10 at 5:25

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