physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

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gips
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physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by gips » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:15 pm

Hi,

My nephew graduated a year ago from stony brook university with a 3.3 gpa with a double major in applied math and physics. He quickly came to realize there are very few job prospects within his areas of study and spent the last year learning how to code (java, python, sql). He's obtained a number of interviews in NYC but hasn't received an offer. He interviewed yesterday with Wipro consulting and was asked computer sciency questions about compiler design and comparison of languages for which he was unprepared.

I have an mscs and before retiring, held senior positions in the IT industry. I can tell he's very smart, a fast learner, I've reviewed his code and it works but demonstrates an unfamiliarity with basic design patterns and best practices.

I'm wondering what would be his best course to find a job in IT? It seems to me he's at a terrible disadvantage competing with cs majors and minors. One idea is some sort of 4-month coding camp. Another is taking online certification tests (not sure if they're meaningful). I've suggested that rather than randomly study programming languages, he use MITs open courseware to take their free, online CS courses. I think they'd look good on a resume and impart a deeper understanding of cs principles.

or maybe he's just wasting his time? None of the companies I worked for hired recent graduates outside of top schools.

thoughts?
Last edited by gips on Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:21 pm

Perhaps consider an MS in engineering?

I have worked with many, many physics majors turned engineer. All but 1 were PhDs. The non-PhD was a physics grad from Harvard also with an MBA (I don't know where from). All were excellent engineers. None could find a job in physics. His background certainly gives him the starting point for a Masters in any engineering discipline or computer science, should he want to go in that direction.
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dm200
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:23 pm

No suggestions, but 51 years ago - with almost no computer experience in college - Economics major - I was hired as a programmer trainee by a megacorp - There were music majors, elementary school teachers, math majors - etc. all learning to be System 360 assembly language Operating systems programmers. Things change
Last edited by dm200 on Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

audioaxes
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by audioaxes » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:31 pm

has he considered becoming a math teacher?

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by DesertDiva » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:33 pm

Has he considered becoming a Data Scientist? Python and R are usable skills in this field.
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slayed
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by slayed » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:34 pm

What has he been doing for the past year?

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by hicabob » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:37 pm

Maybe a physics/math intensive software field such as motion control, image analysis, signal processing, instrumentation, etc. where his math/physics background would be an advantage?

gips
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by gips » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:53 pm

Thanks for the replies!
- he’d love to get an ms but doesn’t have a $ to his name
- he doesn’t want to become a math teacher
- he’s interested in data science, has a good background for it but has not fared well in interviews for those positions.
- good idea on the signal processing, etc roles


Best,

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by DVMResident » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:55 pm

I'm in Pharma and have a couple colleagues with physics backgrounds doing pharmacokinetic modelings. Image processing and data science other big areas with more jobs than qualified candidates.

You're maybe already doing this, but try searching against his skill set (java, python, sql) instead of job titles.

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unclescrooge
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:56 pm

DesertDiva wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:33 pm
Has he considered becoming a Data Scientist? Python and R are usable skills in this field.
+1

Also SQL.

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Conch55
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by Conch55 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:11 pm

Does he have any computer system management experience? System administration and network engineering are decent vocations where he might be able to put his language skill to use. I spent a decade as a programmer and a decade as a systems guy before becoming a team lead. I hired techies with degrees other than CS frequently.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by rjbraun » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:11 pm

How well does he interview? Is it possible that he's not coming across well in interviews and that perhaps some coaching on that front could help to move things along? At a minimum, does he have a good handle on why he's getting passed over? It's been a long time since I've interviewed for an entry-level position and admittedly times have changed, but back in the day I kind of thought that employers would weigh fit, etc. heavily. Okay, I recognize that may be different in today's more tech-driven world, but I'm just throwing that out there. Fwiw, I was a computer science major in college.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by Feb29 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:26 pm

Many years ago I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from a state school in Illinois. A few years later I decided to get a second B.S. degree. So, I went to a different school in the state system and I got a second B.S. degree in Computer Science. The second school only required that I take 12 computer science courses (they accepted all the other course requirements from my first school). I had a part-time job working weekends during the 1.5 years it took to complete the 12 courses. That 2nd degree easily got me a first job in the field and qualified me for a successful career.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by PVW » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:35 pm

gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:53 pm
- he’d love to get an ms but doesn’t have a $ to his name
Most engineering (and probably CS) graduate programs will be funded. Usually covers tuition and a salary - he won't get rich, but usually enough to live on without taking a 2nd job.

My data might be dated - at the time I went through, most MS programs were more like prep work for a PhD, even if you didn't go on to the PhD program. Now they are offering more degrees that are an extension of the BS degree, with additional coursework and a project, and I don't know if those are typically funded.

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dm200
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:42 pm

PVW wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:35 pm
gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:53 pm
- he’d love to get an ms but doesn’t have a $ to his name
Most engineering (and probably CS) graduate programs will be funded. Usually covers tuition and a salary - he won't get rich, but usually enough to live on without taking a 2nd job.

My data might be dated - at the time I went through, most MS programs were more like prep work for a PhD, even if you didn't go on to the PhD program. Now they are offering more degrees that are an extension of the BS degree, with additional coursework and a project, and I don't know if those are typically funded.
I don't know how true it is today, but at one time many employers paid the costs of employees taking classes part time. Get a job with such an employer and take 1 or 2 classes evenings/weekends.

Years ago, for MegaCorp - a fellow employee was a technical writer - and he got MegaCorp to pay his law school tuition.

NoHeat
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by NoHeat » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:52 pm

gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:15 pm

My nephew graduated a year ago from stony brook university with a 3.3 gpa with a double major in applied math and physics. He quickly came to realize there are very few job prospects within his areas of study
That's pretty much the profile of a code-camp candidate: bachelor's degree in the last few years, typically in a technical or quantitative area, seeking a change of career to become a programmer.

I know a young man who got a BS in mechanical engineering at a Midwestern state university. He worked for a few years at a big firm nearby, doing mechanical design, and he disliked the work. So he quit, went to a code camp somewhere in NY state, and then got a job in NYC working for eBay, and he loves it.

Code camps provide not a complete training, but a start, and they provide placement. Employers come to the code camps to look for new hires, and then after hiring them, the employer then completes the training.
None of the companies I worked for hired recent graduates outside of top schools.
As I mentioned, eBay and similar high-tech firms do hire code-camp graduates who went to state universities. Not all code camps are alike, though, so it might be good to interview recent graduates of them, and focus on how the placement worked, and how they adapted to their new job.
Last edited by NoHeat on Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

go_mets
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by go_mets » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:53 pm

So he's self-taught?
I highly recommend the book Code Complete !


.

FactualFran
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by FactualFran » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:54 pm

Is your nephew more interested in doing "programmer/analyst" type work or "software engineer" type work?

If the former, then he should concentrate on landing a job usually classified as an Information Technology (IT) position. If a nearby community college offers an IT associate degree, he should consider attending classes there to be able to show that he has formal training in the area. He may not need to complete an associate degree before he is able to land a position.

If the latter, then he should consider attending a college and taking computer science courses that would be required for a degree in computer science.

Personal story: I graduated with a STEM degree but was unsuccessful at landing a related job. While working toward the degree, I had picked up enough computer programming skills to write programs to analyze and plot data for a laboratory course. However, my transcript contained no programming courses.

After deciding to abandon trying to land a job related to my STEM degree, I took enough IT courses at a nearby community college to be allowed to take a State Civil Service test for a programmer/analyst position. I landed that job. A few years later I started taking computer science courses at the university from which I earned the STEM degree. I landed a software engineering job and continued in that line of work for the rest of my working career.

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dm200
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:57 pm

It would be a bit of a change, but if his aptitude and personality fit, it can be financially worthwhile to get into a sales support position - where you help the employer get IT business and once they get it, you help the company live up to what the Sales folks promised.

Had several jobs like that over the years.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by mrmass » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:16 pm

We recently hired a math/stats major in our IT dept. The new hire was great at Excel/Pivot tables etc, and is learning Power BI, SQL, and some SSIS, SSAS.

IMO big data is where it's at. You need excellent Excel skills, (it's use as a front end), Python is great, some R is all good. Also Power BI/Tableau are visualization applications.
Get practice databases (in Excel/CSV format) and practice. If he's into SQL then install MS SQL Express (or Developer) since they are free. Then create tables etc and push and pull data.

Finally being able to create "low code" apps for business units is very helpful and in demand. https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/


I recommend an in class training. You gain a lot from the other students. Here's a class I might take myself which might be of interest.
https://generalassemb.ly/education/data-analytics

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by delamer » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:31 pm

There are plenty of federal government jobs for new graduates with degrees in mathematics. Even if a long-term government career does not appeal to him, he can get training in IT or data analysis for a few years.

He should check out usajobs.gov

Tell him to do a search on “mathematics.”

If he looks under the Requirements section, he’ll see that he meets the basic qualifications for a GS-5 and GS-7 for lots of jobs.
Last edited by delamer on Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dm200
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:32 pm

delamer wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:31 pm
There are plenty of federal government jobs for new graduates with degrees in mathematics. Even if a long-term government career does not appeal to him, he can get training in IT or data analysis for a few years.

He should check out usajobs.gov

Tell him to do a search on “mathematics”

Here is one job: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/488381200

If he looks under the Requirements section, he’ll see that he meets the basic qualifications for a GS-5 and GS-7.
Yes -

delamer
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by delamer » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:35 pm

dm200 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:32 pm
delamer wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:31 pm
There are plenty of federal government jobs for new graduates with degrees in mathematics. Even if a long-term government career does not appeal to him, he can get training in IT or data analysis for a few years.

He should check out usajobs.gov

Tell him to do a search on “mathematics”

Here is one job: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/488381200

If he looks under the Requirements section, he’ll see that he meets the basic qualifications for a GS-5 and GS-7.
Yes -
Note that I changed my original post to eliminate the job link because it was IT security, not programming/analysis.

But the principle applies to data analysis jobs too.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:42 pm

gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:15 pm
Hi,

My nephew graduated a year ago from stony brook university with a 3.3 gpa with a double major in applied math and physics. He quickly came to realize there are very few job prospects within his areas of study and spent the last year learning how to code (java, python, sql). He's obtained a number of interviews in NYC but hasn't received an offer. He interviewed yesterday with Wipro consulting and was asked computer sciency questions about compiler design and comparison of languages for which he was unprepared.

I have an mscs and before retiring, held senior positions in the IT industry. I can tell he's very smart, a fast learner, I've reviewed his code and it works but demonstrates an unfamiliarity with basic design patterns and best practices.

I'm wondering what would be his best course to find a job in IT? It seems to me he's at a terrible disadvantage competing with cs majors and minors. One idea is some sort of 4-month coding camp. Another is taking online certification tests (not sure if they're meaningful). I've suggested that rather than randomly study programming languages, he use MITs open courseware to take their free, online CS courses. I think they'd look good on a resume and impart a deeper understanding of cs principles.

or maybe he's just wasting his time? None of the companies I worked for hired recent graduates outside of top schools.

thoughts?
gips,

Come on.

Why would he want to be a programmer when he has a better chance at data science?

Check out this data science course.

https://www.coursera.org/specialization ... ta-science

KlangFool
Last edited by KlangFool on Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

student
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by student » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:43 pm

gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:53 pm
Thanks for the replies!
- he’d love to get an ms but doesn’t have a $ to his name
- he doesn’t want to become a math teacher
- he’s interested in data science, has a good background for it but has not fared well in interviews for those positions.
- good idea on the signal processing, etc roles


Best,
Perhaps he can apply for a teaching assistantship when applying for graduate school. With a 3.3 GPA, he may have to settle with a lower tier school. In general, for STEM area, one should not pay for a graduate degree.

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dm200
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:47 pm

This goes back many decades, when there were still punched cards and tape drives -

One of my coworkers (in the 1970's) had gone to Medical School and (I believe) internship - BUT then decided he would rather be an IBM system programmer. I don't know what kind of a Doctor he would have been - but he was a bit of an arrogant jerk.

Just did a search on him - still researcher (Emeritus) - computer type - and still lists degrees BS, MD

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:52 pm

gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:53 pm

- he’s interested in data science, has a good background for it but has not fared well in interviews for those positions.
gips,

What background? Folks are looking for the specific credential.

Does he know R? Tableau? SPSS? If not, take some cousera courses and pay $40 for the certificate.

KlangFool

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Watty
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by Watty » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:03 pm

I don't know many of the details but I know someone that wanted to do a mid-career job change so I took courses to get SAS(statistical software) certification and he seems to be doing well and he did not have any trouble finding his first job.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:08 pm

> My nephew graduated a year ago from stony brook university

(quite apart from all the suggestions above) where was the university placement office in all this??

At all reputable universities (and I am sure stony brook is one of them) the placement office has many valuable resources. And technical graduates are the easier ones to place.

KlangFool
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:15 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:08 pm
> My nephew graduated a year ago from stony brook university

(quite apart from all the suggestions above) where was the university placement office in all this??

At all reputable universities (and I am sure stony brook is one of them) the placement office has many valuable resources. And technical graduates are the easier ones to place.
adamthesmythe,

This does not align with my experience over the past few years. I have quite a few of my nephews and nieces graduated. The placement offices are pretty much useless.

But, the damage is done. Where are the parents in all those decisions? Why would the parents pay for their kid's degree if the kids have no idea what they can do with the degree?

KlangFool

KlangFool
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:19 pm

OP,

The job market is not as great as the unemployment number claimed it to be. My nephew has a computer science degree. It still took him more than 1 year to find a job.

KlangFool

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by regularguy455 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:20 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:56 pm
DesertDiva wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:33 pm
Has he considered becoming a Data Scientist? Python and R are usable skills in this field.
+1

Also SQL.
Definite +1 here. If he knows R + SQL + Python there is big time upside doing data science. The core technology is industry agnostic so he could work anywhere. There's nearly unlimited demand for this skill set.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by GoofyOne » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:21 pm

You mentioned he did not fare well during the interview.... How so? Technical questions, open ended questions, personality questions? Interviewing is a skill and sometimes it just takes practice.

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dm200
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:22 pm

GoofyOne wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:21 pm
You mentioned he did not fare well during the interview.... How so? Technical questions, open ended questions, personality questions? Interviewing is a skill and sometimes it just takes practice.
Sure is (good and bad experiences)

One pattern to be prepared for is to always be able to back up what you claim with example(s).

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by anonymousboglehead » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:41 pm

I can't speak to this from personal experience, but I have a number of bright friends who transitioned from non-technical (albeit well renowned) fields to software engineering/advanced analytics by enrolling in a bootcamp. One of the engineers at my workplace, for example, was an estate attorney for ~ 8 years, and he has an undergraduate degree in environmental science. In 2017 he spent 3-4 months at a code bootcamp, and was almost immediately offered full-time employment as a software engineer at my company.

To be fair, this company is a relatively small tech firm (<$1B valuation, 2.4k employees), but the pay is decent and he's planning to transition to a higher paying job at FAANG/related within the next year (i.e. after two years of work); no concrete offer yet, but his chances are decent. Initially, your nephew won't make as much as other software engineers with more training, but if he can prove himself, the disadvantage will pretty much disappear after two-ish years of full-time work. Best of luck to you both!

Danny

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by Afty » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:46 pm

PVW wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:35 pm
gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:53 pm
- he’d love to get an ms but doesn’t have a $ to his name
Most engineering (and probably CS) graduate programs will be funded. Usually covers tuition and a salary - he won't get rich, but usually enough to live on without taking a 2nd job.

My data might be dated - at the time I went through, most MS programs were more like prep work for a PhD, even if you didn't go on to the PhD program. Now they are offering more degrees that are an extension of the BS degree, with additional coursework and a project, and I don't know if those are typically funded.
This is not the case for M.S. programs in computer science these days. Typically you must pay a pretty hefty tuition charge (often covered by your employer). There are also various kinds of comp sci M.S. programs, some “terminal” (not prep for a PhD) and some as you describe that are prep for a PhD. The terminal ones are unlikely to be funded.

One way to get a comp sci M.S. for free is to apply to PhD programs, get accepted, then drop out after completing the M.S. requirements. PhDs in comp sci usually are fully funded.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by lightheir » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:55 pm

anonymousboglehead wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:41 pm
I can't speak to this from personal experience, but I have a number of bright friends who transitioned from non-technical (albeit well renowned) fields to software engineering/advanced analytics by enrolling in a bootcamp. One of the engineers at my workplace, for example, was an estate attorney for ~ 8 years, and he has an undergraduate degree in environmental science. In 2017 he spent 3-4 months at a code bootcamp, and was almost immediately offered full-time employment as a software engineer at my company.

To be fair, this company is a relatively small tech firm (<$1B valuation, 2.4k employees), but the pay is decent and he's planning to transition to a higher paying job at FAANG/related within the next year (i.e. after two years of work); no concrete offer yet, but his chances are decent. Initially, your nephew won't make as much as other software engineers with more training, but if he can prove himself, the disadvantage will pretty much disappear after two-ish years of full-time work. Best of luck to you both!

Danny
I strongly suspect your estate attorney friend was given tons of credit for his skillset (including the critical soft skills) of his estate attorney background that probably came across extremely well during the interview, especially to uberintroverted software engineers.

A lot of these 'good' outcome situations for folks with nontechnical backgrounds tend to grossly underweight how important those soft skills (which are literally impossible to teach) are, especially in comparison to the engineering skills that can usually be picked up as long as there are workmates around who enjoy your company and are willing to show you the ropes.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by bpp » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:30 pm

How about going back to his old physics or math department, and checking the bulletin boards there? (Or the online equivalent.) Or asking his old academic advisor/undergraduate thesis advisor/grad student friends/etc. if they know of anything.

Besides companies, there may be opportunities at academic labs (Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, for example?) that can use undergraduate physics grads, and that will give him on-the-job training in programming, for example.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by audioaxes » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:38 pm

mrmass wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:16 pm
We recently hired a math/stats major in our IT dept. The new hire was great at Excel/Pivot tables etc, and is learning Power BI, SQL, and some SSIS, SSAS.

IMO big data is where it's at. You need excellent Excel skills, (it's use as a front end), Python is great, some R is all good. Also Power BI/Tableau are visualization applications.
Get practice databases (in Excel/CSV format) and practice. If he's into SQL then install MS SQL Express (or Developer) since they are free. Then create tables etc and push and pull data.

Finally being able to create "low code" apps for business units is very helpful and in demand. https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/


I recommend an in class training. You gain a lot from the other students. Here's a class I might take myself which might be of interest.
https://generalassemb.ly/education/data-analytics
but you dont use excel with "big data"

desafinado
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by desafinado » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:45 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:19 pm
OP,

The job market is not as great as the unemployment number claimed it to be. My nephew has a computer science degree. It still took him more than 1 year to find a job.

KlangFool
many of my college classmates in my field had 3+ job offers by november of their senior year. different experiences.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:51 pm

If he wants to be a coder he needs to spend time on leetcode.com

It has pretty much everything you need to get a technical job at Facebook/Google/Amazon/etc.

If he likes statistics instead of CS, data science is the hot field these days. Take a Coursera course and then look for analyst jobs/internships.

student
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by student » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:29 pm

Afty wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:46 pm
PVW wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:35 pm
gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:53 pm
- he’d love to get an ms but doesn’t have a $ to his name
Most engineering (and probably CS) graduate programs will be funded. Usually covers tuition and a salary - he won't get rich, but usually enough to live on without taking a 2nd job.

My data might be dated - at the time I went through, most MS programs were more like prep work for a PhD, even if you didn't go on to the PhD program. Now they are offering more degrees that are an extension of the BS degree, with additional coursework and a project, and I don't know if those are typically funded.
This is not the case for M.S. programs in computer science these days. Typically you must pay a pretty hefty tuition charge (often covered by your employer). There are also various kinds of comp sci M.S. programs, some “terminal” (not prep for a PhD) and some as you describe that are prep for a PhD. The terminal ones are unlikely to be funded.

One way to get a comp sci M.S. for free is to apply to PhD programs, get accepted, then drop out after completing the M.S. requirements. PhDs in comp sci usually are fully funded.
This is in general, true, for top schools and the suggested "trick" in applying to PhD program and then leaving with a masters is a common one. However, some lower tier schools (such as my employer) still offer assistantship and tuition waiver for a good number of master students, especially those that only have a masters program but not a PhD program.
Last edited by student on Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mountains
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by mountains » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:32 pm

It really depends what part of the interviews he failed. If it was basic coding questions, then leetcode.com and careercup.com are great to practice typical coding interview questions.

In order to get more experience with larger software systems, it helps to find an (opensource) project to work on / collaborate on. E.g., find an opensource project he's passionate about and start contributing or read the code to understand what design is etc.

Jablean
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by Jablean » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:58 pm

audioaxes wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:38 pm
mrmass wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:16 pm
We recently hired a math/stats major in our IT dept. The new hire was great at Excel/Pivot tables etc, and is learning Power BI, SQL, and some SSIS, SSAS.

IMO big data is where it's at. You need excellent Excel skills, (it's use as a front end), Python is great, some R is all good. Also Power BI/Tableau are visualization applications.
Get practice databases (in Excel/CSV format) and practice. If he's into SQL then install MS SQL Express (or Developer) since they are free. Then create tables etc and push and pull data.

Finally being able to create "low code" apps for business units is very helpful and in demand. https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/


I recommend an in class training. You gain a lot from the other students. Here's a class I might take myself which might be of interest.
https://generalassemb.ly/education/data-analytics
but you dont use excel with "big data"
But a programmer that doesn't know Excel has to ask his wife too often for help :). There are amazing databases in Excel, in SmartSheets etc and much easier to work on with something like Power BI than building his own SQL database when he doesn't have any job experience to come up with a reason for data analytics.

If he's serious about coding then a Code Camp works but check into where their graduates are working. CS tends to be location specific for the first job - some cities can't get enough - I live in one such. In others there's a spare programmer on every street corner. There should be Tech meetings he can attend. Sign up on facebook with his universitys CS group, they advertise jobs. Get onto MeetUP and join the CS groups there. Networking can make a big difference. Look into insurance jobs, they are all dying for IT help.

multiham
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by multiham » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:59 pm

While I agree that data scientist is a hot field right now, please don't think a couple of Coursera courses in Tableau/Power B-I are going to get you a job at a mega-corp. Where I work, the data scientists all have advanced degrees, strong skills in Statistics, strong business skills, and the ability to turn data into actionable insights. Our regular IT department handles all the data collection, modeling, and visualization. The data scientists are working on predictive analytics and helping IT integrate their work into the data models.

Still think it is a great area to focus on given his background, but it will take more than a few courses to get into.

As others have suggested, his interview skills may be the issue. As a hiring manager in sales, I've seen so many bright and capable candidates not interview well. Some are not prepared, others are nervous, and some do not have good examples of what they have accomplished. I've been in interviews where the candidate kept saying "WE" did this or WE accomplished that. I finally stopped them and said I'm not looking to hire WE, I'm looking to hire YOU. Please tell me what YOU did. I would suggest getting as much feedback as possible from the interviews, finding someone who can give them a mock interview and provide feedback, and practicing.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:01 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance).
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:30 pm

mrmass wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:16 pm
We recently hired a math/stats major in our IT dept. The new hire was great at Excel/Pivot tables etc, and is learning Power BI, SQL, and some SSIS, SSAS.

IMO big data is where it's at. You need excellent Excel skills, (it's use as a front end), Python is great, some R is all good. Also Power BI/Tableau are visualization applications.
Get practice databases (in Excel/CSV format) and practice. If he's into SQL then install MS SQL Express (or Developer) since they are free. Then create tables etc and push and pull data.

Finally being able to create "low code" apps for business units is very helpful and in demand. https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/


I recommend an in class training. You gain a lot from the other students. Here's a class I might take myself which might be of interest.
https://generalassemb.ly/education/data-analytics
+ 1

marcopolo
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by marcopolo » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:50 pm

desafinado wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:45 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:19 pm
OP,

The job market is not as great as the unemployment number claimed it to be. My nephew has a computer science degree. It still took him more than 1 year to find a job.

KlangFool
many of my college classmates in my field had 3+ job offers by november of their senior year. different experiences.
This has been the experience of my son's classmates as well. If a CS graduate is struggling to find a job in this market, they are doing something wrong. What will they do when a down turn hits the industry?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

Dude2
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by Dude2 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:56 pm

mountains wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:32 pm
In order to get more experience with larger software systems, it helps to find an (opensource) project to work on / collaborate on. E.g., find an opensource project he's passionate about and start contributing or read the code to understand what design is etc.
That is good advice, or he can work on a project of his own creation. He needs something to talk about during the interview. I would suggest a mobile app or web app project. For example, download the free Android Studio, buy books or watch YouTube videos, and create an app on a mobile device that you could bring to the interview and talk about.

randomtimbersfan
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Re: physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Post by randomtimbersfan » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:10 pm

Lots of good advice above, a few more thoughts:

* Go to tech meetups and make connections. In most places there are a million of them. A personal connection could help a lot.

* Target tech support jobs at a desirable company. Once they are employed it will be easier to pivot to a software development role.

* If they are getting tripped up in technical interviews, focus on resources such as the Imposters Handbook (https://bigmachine.io/products/the-imposters-handbook/) or Cracking the Coding Interview (http://www.crackingthecodinginterview.com) to fill in CS knowledge gaps and be better prepared for technical interview questions.

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