Tuesday, 01 August 2006, 19:51:14 EDT

Whenever I tell people that I am a mathematics major they ask me what I plan to do with it. I usually respond with something akin to "I don't know; whatever I want. I'm just working on getting a degree right now." Truly, I don't know. I do know that it is a worthwhile degree, though. How many people do you know that say math is hard? I bet the number is more than you can count with your natural abacus. Attaining a degree in mathematics is sure to show prospective employers that I'm no nutball from off the street. Lately, though, I have been wondering what I will do with it myself.

Regular readers will remember my rant about Slashdot, in which I complained about a particular section of the site — the "Ask Slashdot" section. Well, this morning there was actually a very good question posed to the Slashdot crowd. Someone, doing pretty much the same as me (switching from computer science to mathematics), asked what sort of jobs are available for math majors. Even more amazing are the lucid responses. I particularly like response number 15823381. He points out a government job search that brings up a number of positions at NASA, in the aerospace technology field, that have a mathematics bachelor's requirement. That amazes me; that I could possibly get a job at NASA with a BS in mathematics is astounding. So there you have it. I don't know what I'm going to do with the degree once I have it, but I should definitely have some options.

Speaking of graduation. As I was going through the old posts and categorizing them I came across a post I wrote when I started taking classes again. In the post I wrote on 24 August 2004 I said that there would be a chance I could graduate at the end of the summer 2006 semester. I'm not sure how I came up with that projection, but it was dead wrong. I am certainly not graduating this weekend. My best guess for a graduation date right now is summer 2008. After this fall semester I will have four math courses (that includes my senior project), twelve hours of computer science (basically four courses), two business courses, and a complete science section (chemistry or physics -- three semesters) left to take. I am pretty sure that my remaining math courses will be offered in such a fashion that I can complete them all before summer 2008. I'm signed up for two of them in the fall; as well as Principles of Macroeconomics. I'm not sure when I will start taking the CS courses.

I also need to complete "an approved minor" and I would like for that to be computer science. Trouble is, CSU doesn't currently have a CS degree. They were supposed to submit the application to the board of regents this summer, but decided to hold off until at least the fall. Evidently, they feel like the need more PhDs in the field on staff before they submit the application. That is supposedly the only weak spot in the proposal. I do have a list of courses I can take that will qualify toward my required twelve hours, but I am sort of hoping to see what they offer once the degree is approved. I suppose if they don't get the degree in place before next summer I will have to start taking the courses on my list.

In any event, I am close to graduating and I think my major is going to prove to be a good choice. I wish I would have figured all this out years ago, but there is nothing I can do about that now. I just need to keep on working hard for the next couple years.