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Math major - computer science minor or add computer science 2nd major?

  1. Apr 28, 2013 #1

    I am currently a junior working on a math major and a computer minor. I just found out that if I take four more classes in comp. sci, I can earn a 2nd BA (not a dual major - a second degree). This would mean at least one more semester full time or another year part time.

    I am interested in attending grad school for math when I am done but it is very important that I am employable. My dream job would be cryptanalysis at the NSA.

    Should I pursue the 2nd degree or just get done earlier with a minor?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2013 #2
    Why do you want a second major? A degree alone is not necessarily going to make you a better software engineer (it might get you an interview though). If you have no intention of further developing your programming skill, I would say that you shouldn't bother.

    (I'm not entirely sure what crypt-analysts do by the way.)
  4. Apr 29, 2013 #3
    I am interested in a second degree because it might provide more employment opportunities. I suppose I don't know how much I want to develop my programming skills but it doesn't sound like a bad idea.
    Thanks for the advice!
  5. Apr 30, 2013 #4


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    Hey tsmithers and welcome to the forums.

    If you want to learn programming, then I'd recommend taking a few basic courses and teaching yourself the rest.

    Work on projects and if you can get some team projects going (even if that includes open-source ones) then do that.

    In terms of cryptography, you can download open source libraries that do a lot of the cryptography for you like number theory calculations, one way functions, and all the rest. I'd recommend getting this because it will do a lot of the stuff that is non-mathematical but none the less is critical for cryptography.

    Also the NSA has things like REU's so find out what they expect and how you can get into these along with becoming employed. Check the website and if you have a question, then email them: they have people who can answer these questions so take advantage of that.
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