My questions are for people who are familiar with the job market in both Canada and the US. However, other people are welcome to answer as well .

My questions are the following:

  1. For those of you who are in Computer Science/Engineering: What major do you recommend I should switch to from mathematics in order to learn extra useful and applied skills that will increase my chances to land a good job in industry (and also where I will be using and benefiting from my math background)?

  2. Is Computer Science (Machine Learning/Data Mining) the best option to switch to (in your opinion) for someone with a strong math background?

  3. Do you know other areas within computer science that have promising job opportunities and where I can apply my math background?

  4. Do you recommend I should get a Bachelor’s Degree (which will last only two years because there are many Canadian Universities that offer Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science as a Second Degree) in Computer Science instead of Master’s Degree? I heard that employers like to hire people with Bachelors only because they don’t have to pay them much (among other reasons), unlike the people with Masters who are regarded as OVERQUALIFIED by many employers

  • I gave you a downvote because career move / career change advice is not really ontopic here. How can strangers on the internet know what's better for your career than you ? Try talking to career counselors. Or seek other similar professionals in your area. Or ask friends / family, they know you and (should) have an interest in your well-being. – Radu Murzea Oct 11 '15 at 8:07
  • 2
    Oh, and a piece of advice: in the IT world, degrees are usually kind of worthless. They're mostly useful if you plan to have a career in the IT academic world. Instead, if you want to actually work in the industry, focus more on getting some IT Bachelor degree and supplimenting it with actual relevant skills. – Radu Murzea Oct 11 '15 at 8:11
  • In anglonesia the maths degrees would be very useful if you want to work in areas like high speed trading, data analysis and so on. In your position I suggest looking for work immediately you can put together a CV. It would be helpful if you could demonstrate your familiarity with simple programming in R, Python, whatever languages you used during your degrees - link to a github repo or similar where you have sample code. I sort of agree with @raduMerzea, in that EXTRA degrees at this point may have little value - or negative value if they make you seem like a perpetual student. – Móż Oct 11 '15 at 10:28
  • 2
    @RaduMurzea that's really only true for generic coding jobs. At places like Google, Amazon, Microsoft (esp. Microsoft Research), degrees count for a lot. Lot's of folks teach themselves Javascript, very few teach themselves neural networks and support vector machines except as black boxes. If you want a jobs coding web pages for a social media startup, then a graduate degree in CS is probably overkill. If you want a job working on machine learning problems then having degrees in applied math and CS will be a huge plus. – Charles E. Grant Oct 11 '15 at 17:25

I went the other direction: I worked as a programmer for several years before going back to school for an M.S. in Applied Math. I've found the combination to be very useful, and it led directly to the job I've had for the last 10 years. Right now there is considerable demand for people who can work on machine learning problems. The jobs will not be spread uniformly in Canada. They'll be concentrated in the Vancouver and Toronto areas, so you'll have to be prepared to relocate. You may have to look at crossing the border. Also, while the demand is high now, there is no guaranteeing it will still be high in five years. You pay your money and you take your chances.

Most of the jobs are going to focus on applying well known techniques to new problems. The areas of math you'll need to know are linear algebra, optimization, and statistical inference. You mention you have only very basic coding skills. If you go into this field, you will be writing lots of code, so you'd better figure out if you like writing code before starting down this path. In addition, most CS department will not admit you to a Master's program with only basic coding skills. They'll typically require that you demonstrate competence in things like algorithms and data structures at the level of their upper division undergraduate coursework. They may even require that you pass some of their undergraduate courses before considering you for an M.S. program.

You don't mention how you conducted your job search, so it may be worth mentioning that you generally won't find applied math or machine learning jobs simply by looking on Craigslist. The first place to start is with your advisors: ask them if they know of any opportunities. Then there are the usual suspects: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflicks, Wall Street, and the like. Also, check out large research universities. They don't generally pay as well as industry, but they do hire programmers to support their research programs. Machine learning gets used a lot in bioinformatics.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .