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What professions would it be helpful to have a dual major in computer science and mathematics?

I'm wanting a dual major in computer science and mathematics. What kind of jobs will want or appreciate both of these degrees? I'm also minoring in education.

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Bo’s Answer

I highly recommend this combination! It really opens up a variety of opportunities you have available to you, depending on your interests. Both majors are pretty broad, which can be good if you're unsure what exactly you want to pursue after college.

I can personally speak to the mathematics portion of your question for sure, and give you some recommendations from my experience. To give you a bit of background, I majored in Mathematics and Economics because I had no idea what to do after college. I chose *not* to major in computer science on purpose (I considered it), because I knew I was a people person -- I enjoy talking to people rather than talking to computers and would absolutely hate if my job didn't involve talking to a variety of people everyday. But, I have encountered many opportunities where I could have used a computer science degree, even if it wasn't for me.

Here are some professions that I can think of that would be a great match for you, and a quick explanation on why.

  • Data science: This profession can open you up to many different industries (healthcare, oil/gas, technology, finance, etc.)! There can be a ton of programming involved in this profession (Python, R, etc), which your computer science major can greatly help with. For the math piece, this field will likely be more of a statistics form rather than pure math (theorems, algorithms, etc).
  • Security Engineer: I work in security, and work closely with this role. From my experience, this profession involves a decent amount of programming, which ties into the computer science degree. However, this role is really interesting in that it touches on some mathematics theory and algorithms, especially when it comes to secrets and authorizations. If that doesn't make sense to you, no worries. Think about passwords -- having a math major can help you think through security topics like "how long does a password need to be in order for it to be secure enough that it is very difficult to crack?" It's a very interesting field, and I was very drawn into security when I got introduced to it.
  • Specialty roles: There are a ton of specialty roles out there that both majors would help with. Take, for example, one role that I interviewed for at Google. The role involved writing code (computer science major would help) to establish algorithms (math major would help) to identify spam in Google search.
  • Engineering roles in general, but especially computer engineering: Depending on the engineering role you apply for (which a computer science major will definitely help with), mathematics can also really help! Mathematics involves a different kind of thinking that other majors do not offer. A lot of computer algorithms are based on math theory, so having a math background can help you gain a deeper understanding in computer science and how it all works, leading you to be more successful in a variety of computer engineering roles.

The opportunities are endless with both a computer science and a mathematics major! You shouldn't feel "stuck" or nervous about not being able to find a job with this combination of dual majors. Hope my answer helps! :)

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Breanna’s Answer

This is a great question. I can only truly speak to the Mathematics piece, but I know in a lot of my Mathematics courses in college I was often with many Computer Science majors.

The truth is Mathematics is so much more than what people think and realize. Every class that you take is more than numbers or solutions, it's about processing what's in front of you, questioning the task, analyzing what you know and problem solving many potential different scenario's. You become detail oriented, organized, and methodical, while also trying to determine the best course of action for the situation at hand. Mathematics gives you an understanding of figuring out different ways to think and process tasks, which is incredibly beneficial to you as well as many employers.

There is a book called "101 Careers in Mathematics" I suggest you read, which my adviser in college pointed me to read as well. This will give you an idea of the endless possibilities that Mathematics opens the doors to. I would recommend thinking what interests you and what excites you when you think about your career.

I would imagine having a Computer Science major/minor only adds more value to you.

I hope this helps!

Agreed. Furthermore, I frequently see Math and Computer Science majors in the field of software engineering, computer and electrical engineering. Zahur Peracha

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James’s Answer

Hi Amanda!

This was my major in college and I loved it. I found Computer Science and Mathematics to be wonderful complements to each other. Now on to your question: if you choose to pursue this major (and I absolutely recommend you do, if it interests you and inspires passion in you), then you will almost certainly build and develop specific technical skills (ex. coding in Python) as well as learning multiple mathematical techniques and operations. All good stuff and all useful in careers like software engineering or financial analysis, to name two.

But the real benefit that I've found in the dual major of Computer Science & Mathematics is from having developed more abstract (though arguably more valuable) skills like being able to decompose complex problems into smaller, more solvable problems, or being able to think algorithmically in order to not just solve a specific problem but whole classes of problems. So in my opinion, any career where solving complex problems is a key need, graduates of CompSci/Math will likely be a good fit.

Good luck!

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Daniel’s Answer

programming / software engineering/developing / etc is the obvious one which likely has the most available jobs. Math background will help, but the comp sci will be the brunt of the work there. Data science would be another one. If you get a bunch of stats in there too, you could get some specialization in e.g. machine learning.