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What kind of math is computer science?

deb111deb111 3 replies20 postsRegistered User Junior Member
I heard it is mostly calculus and I never took calculus in high school. Is it extremely hard? Is a career in computer science a good career in terms of money and getting jobs faster? I am currently undecided in college and I am choosing between nursing, computer science, and accounting.
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Replies to: What kind of math is computer science?

  • HamurtleHamurtle 2308 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Calculus up to Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, and Discrete Math. All will be difficult if your math background isn’t rigorous. But if you are willing to put in the work, you will be rewarded.
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  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils 3977 replies28 postsForum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Forum Champion
    edited May 8
    Computer Science is generally not a math at all in my opinion. It's a bit of a cross between problem solving, logic, design, and art if you ask me. In an academic setting in particular (and occasionally in industry), it does frequently use math as a tool though. Generally, most programs include Calculus 1 and 2, Discrete Math, and Linear Algebra. Diff Eq and Multivariable tend to be rarer. In practice, most CS jobs are software engineering and will use little math beyond basic complexity analysis, which will be taught in an algorithms and data structures course.
    Is a career in computer science a good career in terms of money and getting jobs faster?

    If you go into CS for this reason and no other, it can very well lead to an unfulfilling career. I would recommend taking the first CS course before declaring it as a major, especially when you are choosing between three drastically different fields.
    edited May 8
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1165 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    CS covers a very wide spectrum in terms of math requirement. At one end, there're few requirements. In fact, you don't even need to go to college. At the other end of the spectrum, however, you may need, on top of what have been mentioned above, graph theory, computability theory, complexity theory, probability theory, mathematical optimization, statistical inference, Markov Chains, martingale theory, stochastic analysis, information theory, differential geometry,... The list goes on.
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  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl 2845 replies106 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    All three careers can be rewarding and lucrative. Our experience is that CS majors earn typically $80-$110K in their first job (YMMV), nursing in our area pays $28-30/hour to start, and accountants (not CPA) about the same. Another field you might want to look into is Actuarial Science, also a very good paying job right from the get-go with the ability to increase salary as you pass each "test".
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  • ordinarylivesordinarylives 3164 replies43 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My d called CS another type of Applied Mathematics. You'll compute, but can avoid the proofs.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1165 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My d called CS another type of Applied Mathematics. You'll compute, but can avoid the proofs.
    The theory courses at the more rigorous schools (and they tend to be the better ones) actually require lots of proofs. They're almost indistinguishable from abstract math in that sense.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 672 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    The list of lectures at MIT’s introductory Mathematics for Computer Science can give you a flavor of where it starts, after Single Variable Calculus, the only pre-req.

    https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-042j-mathematics-for-computer-science-fall-2010/video-lectures/
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  • simba9simba9 3247 replies20 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 7
    I have a CS degree. People always overstate the math needed for getting a job. AFAIC, if you take one semester of calculus, one semester of statistics, and one semester of linear algebra, they you've got enough math for 95% of all the computer jobs out there. Unfortunately, most schools still follow the traditional, math-heavy curriculum that was formed back when CS was a major administered by the math departments of many schools.
    edited June 7
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 7
    @deb111 From your previous threads, you either are or were a pre-med student. A CS major with pre-med classes could work, but it would be a difficult road. If you have given up on medical school, then I suggest a long talk with a school counsellor about your options, and then try to follow their advice.
    edited June 7
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