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C30N9

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  1. I'm majoring in computer science (first year), and I'm thinking of taking minor in math. The reason is because of its connection to computer science (since it's a sub-field of math), and I like it a lot. The question is, are these a good pair?

    For CS degrees, math courses include Calculus I and II, Discrete Mathematics, Statistics, Linear Algebra and Numerical Methods. As for the mathematics minor, it includes Calculus III, Foundations of Mathematics, Normal Differential Equations, Mathematical Analysis I, Abstract Algebra I and other math courses in the choice of the student.

    I feel getting a minor in math is a waste of time. It's because where I live, computer scientists and engineers usually end up in programming jobs, or maintaining computers. So it's very likely that I won't work in the "theoretical" part of computer science, and I "assume" that math is applied more on the theoretical part than programming (or software engineering).

    Shall I forget it and pursue other minors, or am I being ignorant about how good it is to study such pair?

    1. Maes

      Maes

      Pretty much all oldschool CS profs I know started out as Math majors, with a specialization in CS acquired on top of that. That was before most universities introduced a separate/more technical CS curriculum, as well as the various "computer engineering" ones.

      So the two are definitively compatible, but the only reason for pursuing them together today would be if you're interested in an academic career or working in a specialized field such as cryptoanalysis or numerical computing (which usually point to an academic/research career anyway).

    2. YukiRaven

      YukiRaven

      When I was a CompSci major, I was required to minor in math (with a 2nd minor of my own choice; I chose Japanese). At first it didn't seem necessary, but as I got into tougher classes, such as Computer Security, I saw the reason. Unfortunately I can't math to save my life, and thus I switched to a BA in Applied Computing, which didn't require the math.

      However, the "BS in Computer Science" they offered didn't actually cover the things I'd need to be a programmer in-the-large. They said it did, but not really. They instead expected people in the BS program to think about things in a more academic way, then go off to do research or something. Sure, you learned some good programming skills (C/C++, C#, some basic x86 assembly in Intel syntax, Prolog, and how to construct certain data structures like lists and queues), but their focus was more on making you a computer scientist. This is why I switched to the BA, which was more along the lines of "we're teaching you to be a programmer". But that was my specific school, which didn't exactly have a stellar CompSci department.

      On the other hand, a good foundation in at least some of the science underlying programming is good to know. Plus, certain fields will require you to know some of the higher maths. 3d programming and linear algebra comes to mind.

      Disclaimer: I never finished college.

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