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Math Applied Mathematics major looking for internship (needs help?)

  1. Aug 20, 2012 #1
    I am currently seeking for any open internships. So, I decided to Google search what I could find in my area, and I found an engineering internship. Would this apply to me (I'll tell you more...)?

    Here is the description of the engineering internship (it's very vague):

    I have not took a course in Computer Science but I feel that I would be able to learn a few languages. Would an intern be working with a team? I'm not sure if I can alone develop hardware and software, but I would like to think they would train me on a few things before throwing me in the labs blind folded.

    I have taken a bunch of mathematics course like Differential Equations, Real Analysis, Calc (I,II, and III), and a few statistics courses. BUT, I have not done any engineering courses.

    I'm not sure if I should apply for this internship or not, but it would be nice to get some experience under my belt since I am going into my third year of my university. Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2012 #2


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    Education Advisor

    To the OP:

    I don't see any harm in your applying for this internship, although it is possible that you could be at a disadvantage when competing against engineering majors who are also seeking an internship, given that you have not taken any engineering courses, nor have taken any computer science courses.

    (I'm surprised to read that you are entering your third year of university and haven't taken a computer science course, given that you are an applied math major -- computer science courses, at the very least at the first yer level, are usually a prerequisite for most applied math programs I'm aware of)

    As for your other question, more than likely you would be working as part of a team (at least from my experience working with interns, and my own experience as an intern ever so long ago as a student), and, depending on the employer, there is a fair bit of training involved.
  4. Aug 24, 2012 #3
    You need to seriously get on some type of track that gets you good at programming. I can't think of any way an applied math major could be useful in industry if they can't, at the very least, hack together a prototype model in Python/R/Matlab. Hardcore numerical work would be preferable.

    My advice is to learn a programming language as soon as you can. Read some tutorials online on learning Python or C, and look around in your home and related departments (physics, computer science, engineering) for research opportunities that require numerical programming work. When you apply to internships, this will be a huge advantage for you.

    You might want to look into more research-oriented internships, as these are well-suited for those with a more theoretical background in computer science, physics, and mathematics. They also hire engineers, a lot in fact, but they also hire these other types as well. The kind of places I'm talking about is Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Defense, NASA, and REUs in academia. You can try companies also, but they're going to want you to be able to apply your knowledge well, so programming is essential for you.

    With an applied math degree, you have some good opportunities, but if you are skilled with software and computers, you will win out over a lot of other majors that don't have your combination of skills. There's not a real shortage of software engineers and programmers, but there is a shortage of people who can do math. There's an even bigger shortage of people who can do math and program well. Hell, go one step further and get a focus in some area of engineering or CS, like say signal processing or circuit design, and you're golden.
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