General Question

clairedete's avatar

Anyone graduate with a math related?

Asked by clairedete (331points) January 26th, 2009

If so, what was your official major and what have you done with it since then?

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15 Answers

Grisson's avatar

I graduated with a degree in mathematics. I used it “directly” in only one job in my career (designing piece-part measuring software for a metrology company. I used circle of best fit, general statistics, and once even ray tracing and real, live calculus to prove that light is not evenly distributed in the elipse that results from cylindrical astigmatism, proving the consultant with the PhD wrong)...

All fascinating ancient history, I’m sure. But that’s not what education in mathematics is about.

Math teaches you to think logically. So a career in programming made a great deal of sense to me.

cwilbur's avatar

Double major in music and computer science. At my college, the CS department had just been spun off from the math department, and it was heavy on combinatorics, discrete math, computation theory, algorithm analysis, and the like.

I make my money nowadays as a software engineer, which has almost nothing to do with anything I studied in college.

Perchik's avatar

How is software engineering not related to computer science?

critter1982's avatar

Well I graduated with a mechanical engineering degree. We studied a lot of math

miasmom's avatar

I graduated with a BA in math and became a math teacher.

cwilbur's avatar

@Perchik: computer science is the study of computation and algorithms and the complexity of problems. Software engineering is the skill of getting the marketing department to tell you what they want the program to do, and then making the computer do it.

As a rough analogy, computer science has about as much to do with software engineering as astronomy has to do with telescope design.

Perchik's avatar

@cwilbur I think “Computer Science” has absorbed software engineering in college now. I’m double majoring in mathematics and computer science. The first half of my CS degree was mostly how to write programs and how to think. Then we did algorithm analysis stuff.

cwilbur's avatar

Depends entirely on your school. I was interested in the math part; a criminal justice major focusing on hostile interrogation techniques would have been considerably more use in my eventual career than anything I learned in a computer science class.

jaredg's avatar

A friend of mine has a BS and MS in math and she’s a… high school math teacher. She originally considered being an insurance actuary, but didn’t much enjoy the idea of working in an office, perhaps after seeing what it did to me, heh. After she did some TA’ing in college I don’t think she ever really considered work outside the classroom.

I have a minor in math on my undergraduate “Computer Science and Engineering” degree, and I agree with the other software developers and engineers here, since that’s part of what I ended up becoming, too. Very few software developers ever implement anything that requires knowledge beyond basic statistics and probability.

Now, to digress from the asked question.

@cwilbur “Hostile interrogation techniques?” Truer words are rarely spoken. I once told a guy with a Ph.D. in psychology that worked as a middle and high school teacher (as well as in software) that he was far better equipped to make computers useful to ordinary people than I ever would be, even though my technical chops were more developed.

finkelitis's avatar

Graduated with a degree in math. Went on to teach math. Now I’m a graduate student. In math. It’s a very versatile degree. For most people.

ratboy's avatar

Like lightning I count the coins folks toss in my can as they pass by my street corner.

evegrimm's avatar

I thought about getting something math-related—programming, math itself, etc., etc. However, as someone very interested in the Humanities, most of my lower division stuff (before I really decided on a major) is things like Modern Literature, Physical Anthropology, and Music Theory.

Eventually, I’d love to study more about fractals and chaos/game theory, but right now I’m just concentrating on getting my BA!

(Also, it’s very difficult to find good Calculus teachers. This makes it difficult to move past Precalc/College Algebra for many people, I think.)

engineeristerminatorisWOLV's avatar

I graduted in Electrical engineering which involves Maths to very complex levels.

Tomfafa's avatar

Post grad math at MIT… now I can add, subtract, multiply AND divide! Willing do any for a good meal.
I have started my own company and did work for search engine providers, municipalities, defense contracting, (theory analysis) casino in monte carlo, algorithm analysis, sweden…. I’m falling asleep. Sold company… now retired and here with you.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Electrical engineer here, master’s level. I write software for embedded systems.

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