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To math and applied science majors - Has your major helped you reach your career goals? What do you do now?

And if applicable, did you go to grad school?What types of internships were you able to get that were outside your major (e.g. math major getting an engineering or computer science type of internship)?

#math #career #college-major #science #applied-science

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Bobby’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

The short answer is yes it has, significantly. I originally started off in nursing then turned towards chemistry where I was able to graduate with a degree in chemistry with a minor in biology. After completing that I went to grad school for a masters in computer information systems (CIS).

I was able to get an internship in cybersecurity working for government agencies and public services during my second year of grad school. Meaning I did cyber security for chemical plants, powerplants and nuclear powerplants. I was able to do that from my chemistry background and hold conversations with higher up executives/managers from my chemistry background.

If get an undergrad degree in something of science background you can usually get into any grad school with the help of 'leveling' courses. I had to take some basic university programming courses when I started my degree to play catch up with other students.

When you do graduate with a degree a lot of employers love to see the diversity and the ability to learn on the fly. When I hire people that is the biggest thing I look for, how to learn and problem solve. In any job that is technical (engineering, computers, etc) you will always have to learn what is new. Sometimes you only have hours or a few days to become the subject matter expert for your company.

Don't be afraid to do what you enjoy and look towards applying your degree wherever you can, you may find you like a new field that you don't have a traditional degree in.

Lastly there are new fields of degrees like applied mathematics, applied physics, and computational science that are gaining ground from their diverse backgrounds of learning. You can check out computational science here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_science

May I ask, what are your thoughts on Math - Applied science major? Here is a description: https://www.math.ucsd.edu/~handbook/undergraduate/ma31-math-applied-science-b-s/ It seems interesting but is it marketable? Would it better to pick a different major? Ashley T.

I think an applied science degree is great! There are several factors that can lead to you getting that, sometimes the school you want doesn't have a pure engineering degree or you don't want that. Whatever the case may be, I think that is a great degree choice. You can tailor the degree to your likes very easily. I think it is very marketable. There are multiple jobs you can get from: software engineer, cloud engineer (like me!) or even project manager. Companies like someone in charge of others who is technical and can speak to them, you could be a team leader or even manager with a degree like that. That is completely up to you. I think this is a good degree and very marketable but ultimately it comes down to your choice to study what you like. Feel free to ask any other questions. Bobby Meyer, MSIS

Here is a good link to some jobs for that degree: https://degree.astate.edu/articles/undergraduate-studies/top-ranking-jobs-bachelor-of-applied-science-degree.aspx Bobby Meyer, MSIS

That is good to know! I was worried that with it being a joint degree between math and applied sciences, and my upper division courses being 50% math and 50% science, it would not be every marketable due to my restriction on being able to delve deeper into either topic. I was planning to have my applied science courses be geared towards engineering. Ashley T.

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Bobby’s Answer

Yes it is a very good degree. The key to it all will be how you market yourself when it comes time to apply for jobs.
A good resume is a way to show your expansive knowledge.
One thing to keep track of is if you want to sit for any state engineering certifications. They each have a minimum requirement number of classes to meet the needs.

Oh that's interesting! I did not know about the state engineering certifications. I think I will look into that. Thanks! Ashley T.

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Emily’s Answer

I got my bachelors degree in math, concentration in systems analysis and minor in statistics. I have always loved math, and have always wanted to pursue something in this field. While in school, I took as many math courses as I could, and searched for internships for actuaries. My junior year, I got an actuarial internship at a consulting company. This internship helped me to start to apply my knowledge to real-world problems. I felt I learned a lot and gained experience in a professional environment. I was thankful for the classes I took before my internship which helped with my critical thinking when solving problems for the clients we supported. Since I graduated, I have been working at a different consulting company as an analyst for pension administration, and I am planning on attending grad school soon. I still find my background plays a huge part in the calculations and analysis I do on a daily basis.

I should note, it's not just my math classes which have helped develop my skills in my career. Other classes such as English/writing and philosophy gave me enhanced research and critical thinking skills which definitely impact how I handle complex situations or issues that arise. My excel classes were also extremely beneficial. If you plan on going into a field which requires analytics, I highly recommend taking a class on excel if you have the opportunity.

Math has definitely help build my career. My career goals, however, are more complex than that. Not only do I want to pursue math, I wish to help people. I feel my major has provided me the foundation to start that dream. I learned a myriad of complex math subjects and was able to dive deep into the foundations of some courses on my journey. It taught me logic, and how to apply a simple concept to a complicated problem. I feel I use notions like that every day, and now see math in everything in life - what a beautiful, universal language. My best friend has a similar background, and we are now brainstorming how we both can achieve our ultimate goal of helping people. My career may change because of this, yet the background and how I approach problems remains the same. Follow your career, but also follow your heart!

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Shivani’s Answer

Hi Ashley,

I majored in Biochem and Molecular Bio in undergrad. I was a pre-med student and my goal was to go to medical school. I am currently halfway through medical school but my road here was quite interesting.

First majoring in biochem was very helpful for a TINY part of medical school because I did not have to study for that portion of the curriculum. Also in college I had to take a significant number of statistics and biostats courses. This has helped me tremendously in medical school as many treatments and medical research studies utilize this applied science in a branch called epidemiology.

My math stats classes gave me the skills to analyze data from a medical research study. I can review and decide if the study was flawed from bias, or perhaps enough evidence was present to prove the intervention was beneficial, and that I may consider this approach on my own patient.

Hope this helps!

That's pretty interesting! I still have a few things to figure out, but thanks for your response! Ashley T.

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Kate’s Answer

I feel that a math major has significantly given me a good head start in my field. It has given me the analytical skills needed to be a Business Analyst and now a Portfolio Manager within our Business Intelligence group. I came in at a time when the economy was down and had to start in the call center but used my IT and analytic skills to show that I can be of help to our team and to the IT teams we worked with and was able to move into an IT role within a couple of years. I had no previous experience in IT and no internship.

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Jack’s Answer

I got a degree in Computer Science in 1970. It was such a new field then, there weren't a lot of known paths to follow. I just knew I liked programming, which turned out to be harder than I thought. But I ended up in video games, which was a very exciting field to be in. It's been an exciting life because I followed my heart.

My advice: decisions should be 40% head, 60% heart.
I'm 72 now, but I still follow that formula.

Thanks for responding. It really gave me something to think about for which career path I want to take. Ashley T.