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How can you use a B.A in Math to enter the software world?

For example, I'm curious about how I could use a BA in Math to work at a company like Google. #math #mathematics #applied-mathematics #computational-mathematics #mathematical-modeling #workingforgoogle #google

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Hide’s Answer

A major in Math can set you up for success for many positions at Google. I can't speak to the Software Engineering role, but I worked at Google as in HR and Product Analytics for a few consumer-facing products. Degrees are weighted less in these positions, where problem solving and communication abilities (among others) are far more valued, especially for entry level positions. Even if you don't enter in with the perfect mathematical role, as a data-driven company, math abilities are appreciated everywhere.

Hide recommends the following next steps:

Figure out whether you want to take the Software Engineering, Analytics, or another route -- ideally through internships and collecting career advice.
If you want to take the analytics route, learn more about different domains and which one is most interesting to you (eg., sales, finance, HR, product)
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Daniel’s Answer

I'm not sure if we hire many pure mathematicians (I could be wrong, you can look around on google.com/careers). We definitely hire some pure statisticians. We also hire people who happen to have math degrees if they're good at programming, or machine learning.


For a pure mathematician, sometimes programming can be pretty easy to pick up. Not always, because it requires a slightly different mindset, but I'd say more often than not the transition to programming is not hard (because pure math is crazy hard and requires a good logical mind). Software is more practical than math, and sometimes requires more patience with weird errors, and it of course requires a lot of time devoted to learning, but it's doable.


There's data analysis positions as well, though I dunno how many of those require actual math degrees vs. just experience doing data analysis.



And of course there's other companies which will hire mathematicians.

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Mark’s Answer

Yes, you can use a math degree to enter the software world. This is the path I took with Math/Physics BA degrees -> software engineering. Software companies usually don't have a hard requirement for a CS degree, and will often take any STEM degree, or no degree at all.

You will also generally need some degree of experience in coding before landing a job, but it's often easy to pick this up from math, with heavy overlap in concepts like logic, computability, and discrete math. You can also get direct coding experience in coursework through MATLAB or Mathematica, if courses at your college cover those.

Companies like Google will generally expect direct experience in one of the more popular programming languages: Python, Java, C/C++, Go, or JavaScript. Python will likely be easiest from a math background, and you may be able to find courses at your college that teach it.

As an alternative, you can use a math degree to enter data analysis/data science and work closely with software engineers to get software experience, though this will often expect more statistics experience than a pure math degree offers.
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