From MS in Math to software engineering, experience with webapps

In summary: So in summary, the person has a BS in Math and experience with web app development, but is now pursuing an MS in Math. They are interested in breaking into software engineering, specifically in the field of big data or scientific computing. They have three questions: 1) How valuable will their previous web app experience be in interviews for these types of jobs? 2) What can they do in the meantime to increase their chances of getting a job in this field by June or July? 3) Would their earning potential be higher in web app development or big data/scientific computing? The expert summarizes that previous web app experience can demonstrate programming skills, and suggests getting experience with data analysis and being able to explain choices of models. They also
  • #1
Holomorphism
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First, I'll describe my situation. Also, I apologize if this is the wrong place to ask my question. If it is, please let me know, and (if possible) suggest a more appropriate venue for my question.

I graduated with a BS in Math a few years ago. I worked for 4 years for a web app company (mostly PHP4, Postgres, PrototypeJS, HTML4) where I wrote our in-house DAL and events framework, became the SVN admin, wrote & implemented our REST API, and was heavily involved with setting up our load balancers and maintaining the server farm, and of course wrote various pages for the webapp.

Then I went back to school to get my PhD in Math, but I've decided to settle with an MS and leave. Most of my courses are purely math theory, though one is numerical analysis and scientific computing in which we use MATLAB to some small degree.

Now I would like to break into software engineering, probably something in big data or scientific computing.

This brings me to my questions:

1) How valuable will my previous webapp experience help me when interviewing for big data or scientific computing jobs?

2) If I want to start work in June or July, what can I do in the meantime to increase my chances of getting the sort of job I described?

3) Based on your experiences, would my earning potential be higher if I stayed in webapps, or moved to big data/scientific computing? Or would the earning potential be about the same?

Thank you in advance!
 
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  • #2
1) How valuable will my previous webapp experience help me when interviewing for big data or scientific computing jobs?

For the company I work for, it would be useful because it demonstrates you can program. We primarily hire statisticians that can program (as opposed to programmers that know some statistics), for the 'big/data/ type positions, so we would expect you to come in able to answer some questions about common analysis methods (maybe glms, and maybe some non-linear model like a neural net or random forest).

2) If I want to start work in June or July, what can I do in the meantime to increase my chances of getting the sort of job I described?

Get a data set (plenty of common data sets are available- look at sites like Kaggle or some of the built in data sets in R), and go through some analysis. Pre-process the data to select good variables, test some models. Be prepared to answer questions about your choices of model, etc.

3) Based on your experiences, would my earning potential be higher if I stayed in webapps, or moved to big data/scientific computing? Or would the earning potential be about the same?

I have no idea what a web developer makes. I've been able to get to six figures fairly quickly in a big-data position.
 

Related to From MS in Math to software engineering, experience with webapps

1. What is the difference between a MS in Math and software engineering?

While both fields involve a strong foundation in mathematics, a MS in Math typically focuses on theoretical concepts and mathematical proofs, while software engineering involves applying mathematical principles to design and develop software systems.

2. How does a MS in Math prepare you for a career in software engineering?

A MS in Math provides a strong analytical and problem-solving foundation, which is essential in software engineering. It also teaches advanced mathematical concepts that are applicable to complex software systems.

3. What type of experience with webapps is important for a software engineering career?

Experience with webapps, such as building and maintaining websites or web-based applications, is important for a software engineering career as it demonstrates proficiency in web development languages and frameworks, as well as an understanding of user interface design and database management.

4. Can a MS in Math provide the necessary skills for a career in software engineering?

Yes, a MS in Math can provide the necessary skills for a software engineering career as it teaches critical thinking, problem-solving, and mathematical concepts that are applicable to software development. However, additional experience and training in software engineering may also be beneficial.

5. What are some potential career paths for someone with a MS in Math and experience in software engineering?

Some potential career paths include software engineer, data scientist, database administrator, computer systems analyst, and research scientist. These roles may be found in various industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and government.

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