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accounting, math, or computer science

A photo of rolledoats rolledoats
Good morning!

I am choosing between programs in accounting, math, and computer science. I have done a bit of all three. Accounting classwork was very fun and easy; I like figuring out what accounts are affected by a transaction. However the hours sound bad for Big 4 and maybe not satisfying. I like doing math problems (such as CEMC contests) and I am pretty good at them, but not brilliant. Not sure what I'd do with a math degree. Computer science is in demand and I like programming, but computers/software don't interest me. I write programs on paper first.

Many thanks for your help,
rolledoats
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A photo of broodp4 broodp4
Good afternoon,
There is literally nothing u can't do with a degree in math. Math is everywhere. A math degree shows that u are a critical thinker and showcases ur problem solving skills. If u take something like Econ or CS along with math, you've hit the jackpot. Very practical degree. However Math is very hard, so r math skills need to be on the higher end of the spectrum to be successful. Same with CS.

Accounting well... Monkeys can do accounting, nothing special there.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@rolledoats wrote
Good morning!

I am choosing between programs in accounting, math, and computer science. I have done a bit of all three. Accounting classwork was very fun and easy; I like figuring out what accounts are affected by a transaction. However the hours sound bad for Big 4 and maybe not satisfying. I like doing math problems (such as CEMC contests) and I am pretty good at them, but not brilliant. Not sure what I'd do with a math degree. Computer science is in demand and I like programming, but computers/software don't interest me. I write programs on paper first.

Many thanks for your help,
rolledoats



I found this post particularly interesting because I've actually jumped around all 3 'areas'. I started out in the Math/CA program at UW, changed my mind and wanted to just Math/Business and changed my mind again and am in CS now.

Obviously it's hard to assess what you'd like better since this is the internet but in my opinion if you're even considering math/cs, you probably won't like accounting. You'd probably like the challenge math or cs offer you. If you come to UW, Math/CS are the same in first year so you could try things out before making a decision.

Let me know if you have any further questions/concerns (PM if you'd like).
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A photo of rolledoats rolledoats
Thanks for the feedback!

broodp4, I guess it's just a little harder to see what I'll do with a math degree. Maybe I don't need to worry about that now, though.

immaculatedx, that's very helpful.

engineersrock, I think you're probably right. The accounting I've done is maybe more like bookkeeping.

I'd still appreciate any more thoughts.
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A photo of greygoose greygoose

@engineersrock wrote
Although I don't know much about Waterloo's math/CA program, it might be an interesting combo for you.

One more thing, the computer science world is being dominated by mathematicians. Real computer science, the way my profs tell me at least, isn't about becoming a code monkey and writing software/mobile apps - there are enough people who can do that. It's all about reducing the 'complexity' of code/algorithms to improve their efficiency, stability, speed, etc. for scientific applications - pure math - which is, in essence, paper coding the way you seem to like it.

Good luck!



The Math/CA program has less math courses than any other program in the faculty. Not recommended for someone interested in a math degree.

While I'd agree with your points somewhat in regards to mathematicians and computer science, remember, scientists write plenty of terrible code (see FORTRAN for computational sciences). The experience in computer science is also a huge advantage.

I think considering your uncertainty, since honours math would give you the most flexibility, it is probably the best choice.
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A photo of rolledoats rolledoats
Like I said earlier, I don't really like computers at all. I do like programming from a problem-solving standpoint.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@rolledoats wrote
Like I said earlier, I don't really like computers at all. I do like programming from a problem-solving standpoint.



Sounds like you should just go to Honours Math and figure out which field you wanna major in.
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A photo of broodp4 broodp4
Mathematicians are some of the best programmers around. We're talking about algorithm experts, coding should come naturally to the math guys. And engineersrock(they do) thanks for the +1.
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A photo of Ba Ba Blue Ba Ba Blue
As a math major I can say you will definitely LOVE pure math. It is purely problem solving, more like a puzzle than finding an answer. It sounds like exactly what you want.

Pure math also has a lot of applications in computer science (especially discrete math), so you may still be able to work on efficiency and such through a math degree.
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A photo of caveman caveman

@broodp4 wrote

Accounting well... Monkeys can do accounting, nothing special there.



No.

OP: If you are truly interested in math/cs, I would recommend Math/CS or similar program. If you are truly interested in accounting, I would recommend AFM or similar.
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A photo of greygoose greygoose

@broodp4 wrote
Mathematicians are some of the best programmers around. We're talking about algorithm experts, coding should come naturally to the math guys. And engineersrock(they do) thanks for the +1.



This is what I've experienced as a strong math student with no prior programming experience before university.

I am able to solve the "hard" problems much more easily: algorithm formulation, evaluating the project as a whole, solving design problems. However, you can be the most brilliant mathematician and still not know how to express any of your algorithms in code. That takes practice. All of the brilliant mathematicians that are also able to express themselves in code that I know also clock in hundreds of hours practicing coding, which one simply doesn't get if they focus solely on math studies.

So basically, the answer is, yes, math students make the better coders, but only if they actually get experience programming. A pure math-only student is not going to be able to code as well as a seasoned veteran, no matter how brilliant he is.
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A photo of rolledoats rolledoats
Hi everyone,

Thank you for all of the helpful feedback.

I am still having some difficulty with this problem. The cliche advice is to follow your passion...but I'm not sure what that is. I do like mathematics at some level; for example, I enjoy simple puzzles in basic geometry or probability. However, the more abstract nature of vector calculus is less accessible and I am concerned about my visual-spacial skills in higher math. Perhaps a disclaimer is necessary here: my plan when I was younger was to become an engineer and I changed my mind due to poor mechanical intuition, 3D visualization, and lack of interest in physics.

Statistics is another program I could choose. This seems even less marketable than math at the undergrad level, though, and I'm not sure I want to do grad school.

Obviously you can't just tell me what to do, I wish someone would though lol. The 'system' for most of my life was very structured and simple...do these assignments, write this exam, play these sports, etc...and now everyone expects me to know what I want for myself. I was good at doing all of those things when they were set in advance. It's very hard to make this kind of open-ended decision when I'd rather just go outside and enjoy my free time.

Maybe I'm just rambling now, I've never really asked this kind of question before. Oh well :)
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A photo of rolledoats rolledoats
Oh, one other thing: I also like chemistry but the tedious nature of laboratory experiments and formal scientific reports isn't fun at all.
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A photo of immaculatedx immaculatedx

@rolledoats wrote
Hi everyone,

Thank you for all of the helpful feedback.

I am still having some difficulty with this problem. The cliche advice is to follow your passion...but I'm not sure what that is. I do like mathematics at some level; for example, I enjoy simple puzzles in basic geometry or probability. However, the more abstract nature of vector calculus is less accessible and I am concerned about my visual-spacial skills in higher math. Perhaps a disclaimer is necessary here: my plan when I was younger was to become an engineer and I changed my mind due to poor mechanical intuition, 3D visualization, and lack of interest in physics.

Statistics is another program I could choose. This seems even less marketable than math at the undergrad level, though, and I'm not sure I want to do grad school.

Obviously you can't just tell me what to do, I wish someone would though lol. The 'system' for most of my life was very structured and simple...do these assignments, write this exam, play these sports, etc...and now everyone expects me to know what I want for myself. I was good at doing all of those things when they were set in advance. It's very hard to make this kind of open-ended decision when I'd rather just go outside and enjoy my free time.

Maybe I'm just rambling now, I've never really asked this kind of question before. Oh well :)



Hey man, as someone who's jumped around everywhere over the last year or so, I totally know what you're going through. My only advice is to follow your heart and intuition. Choose based on what you think you will enjoy the most, choose based on what and where you envision yourself 10 years down the road - if you do that I promise you will be able to make everything else work out.

Also, you might want to read these blog posts:
http://calnewport.com/blog/2011/08/11/the-career-craftsman-manifesto/
http://calnewport.com/blog/2008/05/21/the-most-important-piece-of-career-advice-you-probably-never-heard/
http://calnewport.com/blog/2010/10/16/the-passion-trap-how-the-search-for-your-lifes-work-is-making-your-working-life-miserable/

The stuff on this blog is actually really relevant, you should do some searching on it - you'll definitely find some cool articles on some not-so-conventional methods on student life and decisions etc. This guy who writes these blog posts is really legit.
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A photo of mrcass32 mrcass32
If a program requires a minimum of 85% in MCV4U, must you achieve the 85% by 2nd semester midterm or 2nd semester final?
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A photo of rolledoats rolledoats
immaculatedx: That blog is really helpful, thanks for your support.

mrcass32: Sorry, no idea.
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