3 Replies - 3453 Views - Last Post: 17 April 2012 - 09:09 AM

#1 Alderdragon  Icon User is offline

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Mathematics minor/major - advantages?

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:13 PM

I'm soon to be a sophomore in college, pursuing a B.S. degree in Computer Science. I've always loved mathematics; the logic, simplicity, and preciseness about it has always attracted me. I'm soon to be out of the general education camp and can't wait to pile on the Math/Computer Science classes required for my major.

Last semester, though, my Calculus teacher was very enthused by my interest in math. He suggested me to consider a major or double major including math. He claimed that having a math degree shows your problem-solving abilities and is a great complement to a Computer Science degree. It seemed obvious to me at face value, though I never really thought about it before. I suppose it depends on the job?

Regardless, I will probably at least minor in math, and going on with a math major is a great possibility. Do any of you have experience with this in any way? I would ideally like to be hired as a programmer some day, that's all I really know so far. Again, I imagine it mainly depends on the type of job you're looking at. I think a strong background in math is a great advantage if you're looking to work as a programmer for any kind of scientific research company, but would it be less relevant as a game programmer? I'd love for some professional input on this, thanks :)

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#2 Ryano121  Icon User is offline

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Re: Mathematics minor/major - advantages?

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:19 PM

In my personal opinion if you want to be a programmer do as much math as you can. OK you may not use it all later on in life, you it's all about problem solving. Doing math is very helpful in enhancing these skills.

Would Math be less relevant as a game programmer? If anything it would be more relevant (of course depending on what you are doing). I reasonable knowledge of physics (which is pretty much applied math) is pretty much essential in breaking into games programming.

Personally I use Math every day, however I know a lot of people who don't at all. I would however say that even those who don't use it now found it useful back in college.
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#3 wordswords  Icon User is offline

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Re: Mathematics minor/major - advantages?

Posted 15 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

If you have the aptitude, enthusiasm and oppertunity to minor in Math, then by all means do it! A lot of the jobs in computing that I find the most interesting - audio/DSP programmer, games programmer, A.I. programmer - all require good knowledge of math, and I do regret not having taken more math in the past.

I don't know if CS is more important than Math to major in. It really helped my career that I majored in CS, and I probably wouldn't give that up. But Math + CS dual majors or major/minors are really well prepared to do some amazing things in computing when they graduate.
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#4 newworldman86  Icon User is offline

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Re: Mathematics minor/major - advantages?

Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:09 AM

It is my understanding that most computer science programs get you very close to a math major anyways. At my university they had all of the CS majors had to take at minimum
-Calculus
-Discrete Math
-Graph Theory
-Probability and Statistics
-Linear Algebra

If I were to add applied math courses on top of that, I would look into more advanced courses on Discrete, Graph Theory, Numerical Analysis, Linear Algebra, and maybe Multivariable Calculus. These are all courses that have direct applications to CS. The Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus are pretty important in video game graphics from what I hear.

Another route to consider would be taking some proof based courses. These typically are Abstract Algebra, Real Analysis, Linear Algebra, and Discrete. These courses teach you how to think and solve problems. They also make you a better writer. After taking these courses, you will have a much better ability to logically explain complex problems, with no errors.

I am not sure how much people in the programming field think of math. I just had my first interview for a programming job on this last friday, and they seemed pretty impressed by my math degree. For reference I only have a BS in math, with some CS courses tossed in.
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