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Career options

  1. Mar 4, 2013 #1
    I'm currently interested in going to grad school for math (most likely pure math) and eventually go into academia. However, it's pretty well known that this is very difficult and I should make my decisions very carefully. I definitely need to consider other options and the ones that seem to be most common among math majors that I know are software engineering or finance. I'm more interested in the former because it looks like I'll be able to help create something that a lot of other people will use and I like the (very little) programming/CS-related things I have been exposed to. It also looks like people generally seem pretty happy with their job. However, I don't know if I will end up having appropriate background to get any experience in it just by taking random CS classes I'm interested in. Another problem is that, I don't have a very good idea of what careers in either of these areas entail as you can probably tell. One reason I was really worried was the possibility that the areas of math I will study will have little to no applications outside of math. Any advice? Is it too early to think about things like this before junior year? Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2013 #2
    bump? I think this sort of thing might concern a lot of other people too.
  4. Mar 6, 2013 #3
    What I would do is take a couple CS classes but always have a project that you're coding on the side throughout college so you keep your skills up. I always did computational physics projects in my spare time and that paid off big during software interviews. I had a lot to talk about and usually brought a flash-drive so I could show my projects off.

    Pure math --> software isn't that big of a stretch but just know that the vast majority of software jobs don't utilize a lot of pure math. There's some basic things from discrete math that always seem to come up and usually some linear algebra.

    I did a double major in physics and math and took a few CS classes and ended up in software fairly easily. Although, when I put a programming language on my resume I really know that language. When you get closer to applying for jobs just know that software interviews can be intensive and in most cases they will expose you if you don't know your stuff. That's why I'm serious about always have a project going on the side.
  5. Mar 6, 2013 #4
    Thank you so much! That was very helpful. I don't have much experience with coding, so I think I'll just start by trying random things first (ex. web apps, personal website) before deciding on what to spend a lot of time on (not sure where to start but will probably find something). I think I'll try doing an internship after I graduate to get some idea of what is going on.
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