The story of Mathematics and computer science: Subjects loved by some, hated by others.
Like all sciences, these two topics demand a logical approach and a certain measure of mathematical vocabulary, that not everyone has the opportunity to learn maths.
While initially daunting to many, these subjects have a lot in common and appear less complicated with time.
Moreover, the nexus of computing and maths leads readily to many attractive career options.
Sounds interesting? Then read on.
How are Maths and Computing Related?
Did you know that mathematics is the basis of many current disciplines and sciences? It is also much more useful than many think. Learn about the origins of learning maths.
Many secondary school students wonder what their maths lessons will ever do for them. Often, it's only years later that they understand that, in fact, the world around us would not be possible without mathematics.
Computing is an area that arose directly from mathematics.
The first computer scientists were mathematicians looking for ways to automate certain calculation processes. Thus, computers and IT were born.
Are you a fan of maths and computer science? It's as good time to be interested in such topics, since they offer a route to exciting studies and well-paid opportunities (see our articles on careers after studying maths).
Studies Combining Maths and Computer Science
There are numerous disciplines in which mathematics and computer science intersect.
If you choose to follow such a stream at university, you will first gain a grounding in the foundations that will then allow you to build towards your favourite discipline. Any of these specialisations will give you the chance to exercise your brain, and to use and expand your mental abilities. Afraid of the amount of maths you think you'll need? Enlist a maths tutor to help you!
Once you've completed your Bachelor's degree, you may consider pursuing a Master's. Some of the courses available include:
- Information Sciences & Systems
- Computer Engineering
- Data Management
- Management Information Systems
With a Master's degree under your belt, you can enter the workforce and earn a living, or undertake some further years of study.
If you choose this second path, then with your doctorate in hand, you can join the ranks of researchers and university lecturers.
Do you know the 5 greatest preconceptions in mathematics?
Career Options in Mathematics and Computer Science
Studying a subject that interests you is great in itself, but moreover leads to a larger goal: to get the job of your dreams and combine mathematics and computing for your interest.
Computing is an increasingly important part of societies all over the world. The mainstream attention that accompanied our fears surrounding Y2K is just one example of this.
For those confused by the variety of courses available, or unsure which to pursue, here is an overview of the different job families at the intersection of mathematics and computer science.
If you are interested in transmitting your knowledge to others, then you could pursue a career as a maths lecturer or teacher, teaching at primary or secondary school, or in higher education.
To teach in schools, you will need to follow a recognised programme of teacher training. To lecture at a university, realistically, one needs a good Batchelor's degree, a Master's and a PhD.
Related to the work of university lecturer is that of a researcher in the field of mathematics and computer science. Whether involved in public or private research, a doctorate is a prerequisite.
If the development and maintenance of computer systems appeal to you, then careers in IT and telecommunications may be up your street. Projects that you may be involved with or even manage include the development of applications, to the management of information flows in their various forms.
Towards such a goal, a good, relevant degree is the right first step.
Are you interested in finance and the management of companies?
To optimise decision-making processes in a company, the skills of experts in mathematics and computer science play a central role. Calculating risks, forecasting future economic trends, maximising a company's profits: Such exercises require numerous advanced calculations that only a specialist in mathematics and computing can perform.
This proliferation in and valuing of maths-related skills is also part of the evolution of mathematics.
Demand in Industry
Big names in industry, which specialise in advanced technology and its applications, are always in need of highly-skilled employees with these competencies. We often think of the automotive industry, but others in the high tech sector include those in aeronautics, aerospace and energy.
In working for such a company, you will not only be at the forefront of research and development: You will also be involved in designing and testing solutions to complex problems and issues.
These companies also need people to help solve logistical problems, a role into which a graduate in mathematics and computer science can readily step.
With the emergence of Big Data, information has become a valuable commodity to organisations, and management of large data flows has become a valued skill set. From building to querying databases, if you like statistics and actionable information, then a job in this area might be perfect for you.
Every marketing department needs accurate information to be able to forecast, from market research companies to insurance brokers. Companies conducting such work can be a great fit for those with mathematical and IT skills.
Mathematics and Computer Science Applied to the Workplace
Wondering how your maths and computer courses can come together in one job? Here are some examples:
As the name suggests, a database administrator is responsible for the maintenance and management of a database. This is a matter of, initially, creating the database using the right tools.
In concert with developers, the database administrator facilitates access to a database, updates it and ensures that it is not compromised in terms of security.
In addition to responsibility for keeping a company's accounts, an accountant is also a kind of financial advisor. Whether in a law firm or working independently, she must ensure the reliability of the financial information which the company shares, and certify the accounts of the organisations that the company deals with.
As an expert in business management, she can advise the company on strategies to optimise tax contributions and on long-term profitability.
An astrophysicist is a physicist specialising in the study of the stars, planets and galaxies that make up our universe.
By specialising in one or more disciplines, such a researcher observes, theorises and contributes to the advancement of our understanding of the universe through scientific exploration, and the development of new and better instruments to detect phenomena.
Day-to-day work includes performing computer simulations.
A statistician is a specialist in the analysis of numerical data. After gathering information through surveys or other means, he processes it in order to highlight interesting trends and figures.
Expert in the creation and analysis of graphical representations of data, his work involves capturing and analysing data and presenting results.
Maths tutors can help you get a head start in statistics or refresh what you learned in school!
The role of tax inspector is an unfamiliar one for many. Commonly, our dealings with them are likely to be limited to instances where we have erred in the calculation or payment of tax contributions.
Tax inspectors enforce laws and regulations at the national and organisational level, and are necessarily experts in tax law and finances.
A software engineer is an expert in simulation and optimisation. A popular branch focuses on automation and involves work in the automotive, aeronautical, energy or metallurgical industries.
Now that you have an overview of the links between mathematics and computing, all you have to do is research and choose a profession that will enable you to flourish.
As will now be clear, there are numerous different specialities in this sector, each offering a large number of opportunities.
Whether you like numbers, equations, management or contributing to new discoveries, you won't go wrong with a career which draws on maths and computing competencies.
Just as with computers, mathematics and art are also intricately linked. Learn about the Genius of Albert Einstein and his contribution to Maths.
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