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Career in Mathematics and Computing

Career in Mathematics and Computing

Career in Mathematics and Computing could indeed be the right choice for you. Does toying with trigonometry and solving those integrals thrill you?

While, in recent times, this branch has come to be seen as ‘Plan B’ by those who are interested in computer science, don’t be taken aback if you find that the curriculum has more mathematics than computer science courses. The mathematics in this branch covers topics like Algebra, Calculus, Probability and Discrete Mathematics, which is an area of mathematics that finds a direct application in Computer Science as the basic principle behind it is applied to converting Analog (continuous) data to Digital (two discrete levels).  In this era of data analytics, career in mathematics and computing plays a critical role in shaping your future.

But be warned: the mathematics that you have been accustomed to at the +2 level and in your JEE prep is quite different from the mathematics you would study in this branch. The courses tend to be hugely abstract and instead of being problem-solving oriented, are more proof and theorem based.

As for the ‘Computing’ component, courses in this branch deal with subjects like data structures, analysis of algorithms and computer architecture. The branch also offers a large number of sought after elective courses like Digital Image Processing and Mathematical Logic. If you dread the prospect of standing for long hours waiting for an experiment to complete or don’t like hands-on experiments much, here’s some good news for you: the only labs here involve coding and computation. This branch too, boasts of its own version of the General Computing Lab of the Computer Science department.

A lot of students in the branch go on to be successful coders, but do remember, coding is not all there is in this branch.

Career in Mathematics and Computing – Placements

Placements wise too, this branch is certainly well placed and worrying about placements should be the last thing on your mind! The kind of electives you take up play a pivotal role in determining where you might end up working. While some graduates end up in software development in companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Adobe, with job profiles similar to their counterparts from CS, merchant banking tends to be the most sought after profile. Finance companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and World Quant, tend to look for MnC graduates as their profile is well suited to their requirements (courses like Statistics, Financial mathematics help here). These quant related jobs involve work like developing algorithms for investment strategies, using Machine Learning and Data Mining tools to work on Big Data and analytics (basically making sense out of a large amount of data and numbers). As with other branches, many people go for consulting too.  If you are a passionate in computers and coding, a career in mathematics and computing has quite a lot to offer in terms of securing high qualify, challenging jobs.

Career in Mathematics and Computing from research angle

Where research is concerned, most tend to opt for higher studies in the field of Computer Science, rather than Applied Mathematics. If you want to pursue an MS from a foreign university, then you should prefer the 4 year course as doing an MS after spending an extra year for an MTech can be discouraging for some people.

On a related note, the dual degree allows you to do a 22 credit MTech Project as opposed to a 4 credit BTech Project. Thus, you get to experience hard core research as you write a detailed thesis and can even try and publish a paper out of it. But if your aim isn’t research, you can opt for the 4 year alternative, as the basic course content required is covered there as well. Fifth year courses delve deeper into the details of some of the courses done earlier.

As far as grades are concerned, there is one caveat: owing to the rigor of several mathematics courses, the average CGPA of graduates from this branch tends to be lower than their counterparts in other branches. The courses too are quite heavy and there is a lot of coursework, so choose this branch only if you are passionate about Mathematics.

Deepali Gupta, Department of Mathematics

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Article by BSP @ IIT Delhi

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