1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Math Should I be in engineering or mathematics?

  1. Mar 7, 2017 #1
    I've always been very strong in mathematics which led to me becoming an engineering major. As a freshman in this major, I'm doing exceedingly well in my math courses, but terrible in my science courses. I also just hate physics. Nothing about physics or statics or dynamics is capturing my attention. But math? I could do derivatives and integrals and proofs all day long. I'm wondering if I made a mistake in choosing my major. I feel like I would be happier majoring in mathematics. But my real question is, what jobs could I do with a degree in mathematics? I know I don't want to work with anything relating to finances (accountant, actuary, ect) and am not a fan of going into academics. One website said I could do research in math but are there jobs for that? I'd love that, but I don't want to get a degree and not be able to find a job.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2017 #2

    StatGuy2000

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    To the OP:

    Welcome to PF forums!

    If you decide to pursue a degree in mathematics, there are numerous options that are available to you in terms of careers, besides finance. One option that is available to you (especially if you mix your math courses with courses in probability, statistics, and some programming or computer science courses) would be to work in statistics or data science (especially after completing a masters degree in that field).

    For example, I'm a statistician working in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and health care fields for the past 16 years, after completing my Bsc in mathematics and a Msc in statistics. Among my responsibilities include addressing the design and analysis of clinical trials for various therapeutic areas, and doing retrospective analyses of past clinical trials of observational studies related to medical treatments.

    Another option that is open for you, especially if you enjoy programming, would be to work in software development/IT/tech work. Mathematics often is a natural fit with computer science (much of theoretical CS is pretty much pure math), and many people who double major in such fields often work in the tech sector working in places like Google, Facebook, IBM, etc.

    Yet another burgeoning field is in the field of data privacy/cyber-security. We are living in a time where the Internet is reaching ever further corners into our daily lives and our economies, which makes it ever more systems vulnerable to hacking. Thus making cyber-security more important than ever. People with strong backgrounds in mathematics have played important roles in developing strong encryption schemes to strengthen such securities, and I see more opportunities opening in such areas (again, if you combine your math degree with appropriate courses in CS).

    Those are just a few of the options or areas that are open to you if you decide to pursue a degree in math (I also did not include options like teaching, or further graduate studies). Hope this gives you a taste of some of the possibilities open for you.
     
  4. Mar 7, 2017 #3
    <Mentor's note: questionable statement removed>

    I also have a BS in mathematics and I will tell something the departments wont:

    You won't do proofs outside of a university setting(few exceptions being PhD holders who work in niche industry areas), essentially the specific skills you learn won't be used in anything you will likely get employed in because you're not qualified to get hired in an type of engineering role. You will need to do a MS in a different field to get qualifications for employment.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2017
  5. Mar 7, 2017 #4
    This is one of the most popular question on MSE, It keeps coming in some form or the other.
    1. http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/71874/can-i-use-my-powers-for-good .
    2. http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/525122/how-to-do-math-and-help-people?noredirect=1&lq=1
    3. http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/238702/careers-in-math?rq=1
    4. http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/289757/how-much-math-do-you-really-do-in-your-job?rq=1
    5. http://math.stackexchange.com/quest...athematician-in-the-society?noredirect=1&lq=1
    Anyways don't let mechanics disappoint you, there is a lot of physics that is not mechanics. Even after trying very hard I still can't do even basic mechanics problems without mistakes but I feel pretty comfortable with thermodynamics and physical chemistry.
     
  6. Mar 7, 2017 #5

    StatGuy2000

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    <Mentor's note: removed reply on deleted statement>
    First of all, did you even bother to read my thread above?

    "One option that is available to you (especially if you mix your math courses with courses in probability, statistics, and some programming or computer science courses) would be to work in statistics or data science (especially after completing a masters degree in that field)."

    "Another option that is open for you, especially if you enjoy programming, would be to work in software development/IT/tech work. Mathematics often is a natural fit with computer science (much of theoretical CS is pretty much pure math), and many people who double major in such fields often work in the tech sector working in places like Google, Facebook, IBM, etc."

    Every advice I indicated above indicates that combining studying math with another related field (like CS or statistics) will lead to becoming more employable, which is what I assume you were trying to suggest. And that doesn't necessarily even mean earning a MS (although that doesn't hurt). So how about you get your facts straight on what I posted.[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2017
  7. Mar 7, 2017 #6
    People pussyfoot around the issue of employment for math majors post degree, the OP needs to be told on no uncertain terms that alone a math degree doesn't provide qualifications for doing anything involving math(which is kind of ironic when you think about it). Of course some outliers exist when it comes to career outcomes but you shouldn't base your university choices on the probability you will be one of them.
     
  8. Mar 8, 2017 #7

    jgens

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Depending on what counts as "doing math" here, this statement is patently untrue. I work in the gaming industry and there are many opportunities for people with undergraduate math degrees:
    1. About 1/3 of our business intelligence team hold only a BA/BS in mathematics or statistics. No programming knowledge of experience required for these guys either.
    2. About 1/4 of our data scientists hold only a BA/BS in mathematics or statistics. Programming experience is required here, but the amount of knowledge necessary is still quite low.
    3. Engineering is a huge discipline, so hard to put exact numbers on this one, but a huge number of our engineers were computer science + mathematics double majors. I work on our companies matchmaking algorithms and use quite a bit of math (including proofs).
    Granted this is all anecdotal and my experience is isolated to one industry, but the point is that there definitely are mathy jobs for people holding only undergraduate degrees. Does it help to also be a rockstar programmer? Sure, of course it does. But most computer science and engineering departments are not exactly great at teaching that either (honestly most of that skill seems to just come from experience).
     
  9. Mar 9, 2017 #8
    Like physics, math is a field that you'll need to run the gambit up to the PhD level if you want people to pay you to do something like proofs all day; oddly enough I like computing pretty integrals and such too but you can find alot of them in tables or just program a computer to approximate them for you. In the industry there's applied/industrial/computational mathematics but generally speaking those techniques are being applied to physical or economical problems, so you'd be doing something that's not dissimilar to the math you're applying in your physics and engineering mechanics courses anyway except it'd be making computer programs to do the calculations.
     
  10. Mar 9, 2017 #9

    Meir Achuz

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Take what you like and are good in. Then will be happy in your career. If you are good at what you do, jobs will be no problem.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: Should I be in engineering or mathematics?
Loading...