Masters in Applied Mathematics jobs

January 8, 2013


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I received a MS in Applied Mathematics and I think overall it was worth it for a few reasons:

PROS:

1) Applied math is very marketable, especially if you have solid programming skills. I was coming from and undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. My focus was on signal processing and numerical analysis, so I had taken a considerable number of math-intensive courses, but never had the opportunity to take interesting graduate level work. While in graduate school, I was able to take advanced signal processing courses like wavelet theory and time-frequency analysis. These courses are not usually offered in undergraduate programs, but the skills you learn in them (especially Time/Freq Analysis) are extremely useful when trying to solve real-world problems

2) My graduate program allowed me to tailor my degree so I was able to focus on courses that I found interesting and useful. In undergrad, one my biggest complaints was every semester it seemed like 2 out of the 5 or 6 classes I was enrolled in were a waste of my time. In graduate school, I focused on classes I found interesting or were useful for my career (I did the degree part-time, my employer paid). This made classes more enjoyable and the projects more interesting. Learning the math was fun and not a choir.

3) Since my day job was a software engineer, I was able to focus on computational mathematics and work on interesting machine learning and pattern recognition problems. I was surprised that a lot of the students were not good programmers, and only knew matlab. I had considerable C++, C, and Python experience going in to the program which put me in a good position for data mining and machine learning classes and projects. This turned out to be the area I wanted to focus on, and I am current employed using ML/DM.

4) Higher salary. I switched careers a few times so my salary didnt increase because of the degree per say, but in general, employees will reward you for having superb math + cs skills. I personally think its one of the most marketable skill sets to have these days: whether you want a job at Google, Goldman Sachs, NIH, or Quora.

CONS:

1) Tons of dorks in Applied math programs. Good luck meeting new friends, or finding some one to go to happy hour with.

2) No women. This seemed to be true of EE as well.

3) Part-time degrees suck. Even though my degree was free, getting out of work at 5 and then going to class from 6-9:30 twice a week for 10 classes is tough, and you have to really be motivated to not skip class.

4) If my degree was test-based rather than project-based, I think I would have a completely different opinion. I did little-to-no proofs the entire degree, and only sat in on a few tests: every class was focused on implementation of the concepts. I am a very hands-on person, so this was great. Other people that like drawing integrals rather than coding summations might be miserable.

Source: www.quora.com
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