Math Major Trying to Learn CS

  • #1
sachpal109
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Math major trying to learn CS from scratch! Preferably things that would be useful for a quant to know!
Hi! I'm currently in school doing a pure math major, and I want to learn some computer science (potentially for jobs in finance requiring it but also just because I think it will be useful for the future), but I'm really unsure where to start, and am just overwhelmed. It seems like my peers majoring in math all have a solid computer science background, while I have none. So, what is a reasonable path to becoming a proficient coder? Which languages should I start with? What seems like the most useful languages for a math major to learn, and are there any good courses, books, etc...? What should my weekly time commitment look like?

I know these are a lot of questions, but thanks in advance!
 
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  • #2
The current hot language is Python. There are a great many user groups, many specialized utility libraries for every conceivable application, and many tutorial videos. I would look it up on Youtube. If you find an application (image recognition, AI, robotics, etc.) with a Python tutorial, that can be more interesting. For instance, on Youtube, searching for "Python image recognition" can get you started.

That being said, becoming a "proficient coder" is a lifetime goal. It's a very large subject.
 
  • #3
Does your school offer introductory CS courses that you can take alongside your math courses? Or at least find out what they contain, and try to study the material on your own?
 
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  • #4
jtbell said:
Does your school offer introductory CS courses that you can take alongside your math courses? Or at least find out what they contain, and try to study the material on your own?
If your school offers Summer classes, consider enrolling in a dedicated programming language course. The abbreviated Summer schedule, often with longer daily hours squeezed into a shorter time period, may actually be an advantage for focusing on a particular language and its labs.
 
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  • #5
Pragmatically just look at job listings that attract you, see what they are looking for, and learn that.

Hirers don't trust self study. Credentials without ability will get you further than ability without credentials. Remember that.

I'd guess you'll wind up somewhere where math is an advantage. Actuary, drug companies use lots of statistics, insurance or finance. Matlab is possible.

I don't like Python for learners. It has its advantages but I prefer compiled languages that force you to declare everything. It's worth it. BUT the man with the bucks will be your God so do whatever he wants.
 
  • #6
sachpal109 said:
what is a reasonable path to becoming a proficient coder? Which languages should I start with? What seems like the most useful languages for a math major to learn
Do you want to be a proficient coder or a math researcher? They're not the same thing. A math major is normally a path to becoming a math researcher. People who want to actually write code, in my experience, generally major in either computer science, or in some other field they are interested in that makes significant use of computer code, such as physics or various engineering disciplines. I majored in nuclear engineering but I spent a good part of my time writing computer code for numerical simulations.

That said, math research itself does make a lot more use of computers than it did when I was in college--but the kind of code you'd be writing is code for things like formal theorem proving, which might not be the kind of code you're interested in writing. (Or it might.)
 
  • #7
Hello sachpal109 and i wish you well with your venture into Math and IT.
I have been doing it for many years (now retired) and have worked as coder in telecommunications and system engineering for airlines. I have seen many languages over the years but I am settled in C and C++ both of which have many disciples. A good place to start learning C, I always say is the original kernighan and ritchie books.

As for what to programmer with/on Microsoft have for free there 2022 Visual Studio Community platform which you might find a bit overwhelming at first but if you just install the core c++ language there are code generators for simple console applications to FULL Windows projects, the Console application "Hello World" is where most start, have a google and I am sure you will find many youtube guides. Another way to go will also give you an introduction into electronics is into microcontrollers of which there are endless applications from kettles to rockets. A good way into this sport is to open a account on the ARDUINO (A VERY HELPFUL LOT) forum, download there IDE2 and buy yourself for a few pounds a Arduino Nano or Uno board. There is also a Major Coders site at GitHub where you will find many libraries for many applications. Lastly once you have some code written and you want to start pushing your math boundaries find a Neural Network library to give yourself an introduction into AI. CodePal is also a interesting place :-)

Happy coding, all the best Ian
 
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