I've had the privilege to work in a field where abstract thinking has concrete value. That applies at the macro level --- optimizing actions on terabyte database --- or the micro level --- fast parallel string searches in memory. You can find my documents on production-system radix sort (NOT just for academics!) and some neat little tricks for developers, on my blog https://mischasan.wordpress.com
My e-mail sig (since 1976):
Engineers think equations approximate reality.
Physicists think reality approximates the equations.
Mathematicians never make the connection.