I'm a physics undergrad looking to go into a more computational area after graduation. Most of my coding experience has been in Maple (>4 years), but I notice it is not a language like Mathematica or MATLAB on Github. I do have some projects in Python, JS, and HTML/CSS but not nearly as much as the stuff I've done in Maple.

My thought was that the logic is the same regardless of the syntax. It would show I have basic skills (e.g., loops), understand complex mathematical topics, can debug, and can handle and visualize data.

Is it worth bothering to upload the .mw files or should I just stick to my other "real coding" projects?

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    Can the files be opened & looked at by someone without Maple? Will a potential employer understand what you're showing them? – alroc Mar 27 '18 at 16:54
  • @alroc That's what I want to know. If the files are basically text files, then by all means upload it. If it is binary files that can only opened and view in Maple, then I would avoid it. Try to port the code to something text friendlier in such a case. – Dan Mar 27 '18 at 17:11
  • "more computational area" as in building analytical work? I suspect most people who know MATLAB would at least have heard of Maple, and probably a lot of others. If you're concerned about some piece of code, you could always pass by Code Review. – msanford Mar 27 '18 at 18:56
  • Perhaps what you really want to know is 'how important is the chosen language to an employer when evaluating code samples'? Still the answer will probably be 'it depends on the employer'... – Cronax Mar 28 '18 at 9:31
  • @alroc Good point. The .mw files cannot be viewed outside of Maple. There's no file preview available (at least on Mac) and opening in a text editor shows as stylized HTML that is more difficult to read. – q-compute Mar 28 '18 at 12:56

I have a two part answer.

Is it worth bothering to upload the .mw files

Yes, upload the code. Upload all your "real coding" projects, too.

or should I just stick to my other "real coding" projects?

This is the more interesting part, and the answer is, "it depends." Any job hunter should have a library of material they can pull from, including stuff they know won't always be relevant. Keep a diverse portfolio, then select what you share with a given employer based on the specifics of the position and the value you can show. You don't want to spam every employer with a bunch of material that's not relevant, but you also don't want to send everyone the minimum common denominator.

In other words, it's better to be able to reference Maple in your cover letter with a link to your projects if you know the work is relevant to the specific position, versus not having a portfolio at all, or sending them a link that contains a lot of stuff that isn't relevant.

Maple is a pretty specific language, which means (as you're guessing) it won't be relevant for many pure, generic software development jobs, but if you're going after a job in that specific field, it can be a really great tool to showcase. Also, it can be helpful even in situations where Maple itself isn't directly relevant to be able to show that you can "think outside the box" and do work in lots of different tools, versus being a one-trick pony who only knows a single language.

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    Indeed, showing that you are a polyglot is in itself interesting, even if the person reading your code isn't necessarily deeply familiar with the language's idioms. – msanford Mar 27 '18 at 18:52

IMO Github is not a great platform in general for selling yourself. It is great for collaboration and gaining traction for open source projects, but when it comes to selling yourself there are better ways to go about it. I would consider either summarising successful projects in your CV or if something is really great which you have done, consider creating a video or even a slideshow, and post it on LinkedIn and then link back to your repo on Github if you want to.

Just a word of caution on Maple and Matlab. Matlab definitely has a place in the software engineering industry for certain jobs, it can be highly desirable to know the various tools boxes and what not. But Maple I really don't think so, if I search for Maple jobs in the large city where I live I don't see one job, when I search for Java I see approximately 600, python 275, this is really an academic tool which universities buy.

Matlab and Maple remind me of Microsoft Excel. They are terrific for calculating your engineering and mathematics assignments, and can be impressive when you add a few little controls, but really feasible to develop a SAAS application, website, phone app, etc. Also you don't learn about CI/CD, cloud, object orientated programming, design patterns, frameworks, IDEs, Command-line, or the many other things which software engineers deal with on a day-to-day basis, but I'm sure you can pick that all up if you work hard.

Good Luck

  • Fair enough. I mostly asked this question because internships tend to ask for a Github so it seemed necessary. – q-compute Mar 28 '18 at 13:00

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