physics/math major looking for programmer/analyst job?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 2598
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

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

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:10 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"
Doesn't mean Excel isn't useful.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 48546
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

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

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:40 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?
He needs to separate hobby interests (looks cool, might be fun) from doing this as a full-time position (get it done to spec, on time). If he didn't handle the "computer science" questions well, this may not be the right field for him as a full-time employee. Learning a language, i.e. "coding", is a low-level skill. There's nothing to differentiate him from everyone else who learned a language in school.

May I suggest some "real" exposure to software engineering? Have him volunteer to help any of the thousands of open- source community projects. I'm referring to The world’s leading software development platform · GitHub.

He'll learn how to be part of a team, not to mention learning how to work with configuration management processes. Also, knowing git is mandatory on your resume these days.

Development is just one part of the process. Testing (Quality Assurance) is a much larger and important part. He needs the full end-to-end experience.

Once he gets a few projects under his belt, he can put that on his resume as real experience.

FYI - The forum software, phpBB, and wiki software, MediaWiki, are open-source.
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.

User avatar
kramer
Posts: 1632
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:28 am
Location: Philippines

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

Post by kramer » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:52 pm

My information is dated (15 years ago), but I just wanted to add one thing I don't see mentioned here (among many good suggestions).

Our MegaCorp Silicon Valley software engineering group really wouldn't consider any recent grad who had not completed some working internships while in school. If someone hadn't done this, it was an automatic deal breaker to even get an interview. This would be even more important for someone without an academic programming background.

msj16
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:16 am

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

Post by msj16 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:35 am

An out-of-the box suggestion for landing a job if anxiety during interviewing is/was an issue: seeing a therapist to help with the anxiety.

clarkebarry
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:23 am
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

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

Post by clarkebarry » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:49 am

Data Science is an amazing field to worn on. It involves a lot of math although plus it's a demanding job in the recent market. Data scientists are trained to identify data that stands out in some way. They create statistical, network, path, and big data methodologies for predictive fraud propensity models and use those to create to alerts that help ensure timely responses when unusual data is recognized. Delivering relevant products and understanding historical data.

bdaniel58
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 4:57 am

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

Post by bdaniel58 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:05 am

I spent 27 years at Nortel working with proprietary software that was of no use outside the company. After 10 years of layoffs I told them to hit me next as I was tired of the stress. So they did in Dec of 2008.

The job market at that time was terrible. I finally got an interview at a SaaS company (Software as a Service). I knew nothing about web development and little about Java. But I had a personal website I had developed from the ground up and knew how to work with forms, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc. and I had a blog on my website.

I just tried to be myself and I aced the interview. In this case they checked out my website. They read some of my blogs to determine if I could communicate. They wanted someone with a “can do” attitude. They knew I could learn any technology with the right attitude. I also had paper copies of my good past job evaluations and “job well done” emails. That made me stand out.

That was almost 10 years ago. I’ve been doing software for 37 years and my skills are more valuable now that they have ever been.

Just my story.

Bobby
http://www.bobbystuff.com

mrmass
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:35 pm

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

Post by mrmass » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:52 am

Aside from data firms, there are many many firms that pay well for jobs that involve data harvesting, financial modeling, financial analysis, etc. Were
I work w use Power BI, SQL, (considering Azure SQ), with Excel as the front end. We also an online db called QuickBase. Excel is used as a front end. not the "source of data".

What I'm trying to say is that we pay people six figures to use all these tools. I'm not saying learning excel is the end all. It's a tool that needs to be in your toolbox.

Our recent college grad hire was a stats/math major. Couldn't spell SQL :wink: Now she are learning some SQL code, Power BI, and doing some advanced Excel to manipulate data and lean the flow of data as it relates to our business. She's going to gain some valuable experience.

FInally, she replaced a guy that was a CPA candidate that pivoted into the above and is now working for mega corp making a nice living.

msk
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:40 am

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

Post by msk » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:28 am

I came through physics myself, BSc, MSc, PhD. It's a great pity, but totally expected, that he finds it difficult to get a job with a 3.3 GPA in Physics. IMHO BSc's in physics are for those, like myself, who cannot decide what they wish to do when they grow up, e.g. also my own son. He is going onto a fully funded MSc, still not knowing what he wants to be after he grows up. Who would employ a neutrino physicist even with an MSc? My sincere advice for the kid in the OP is to do an MSc in whatever field he wishes to actually work in, be it AI or coding, or structural engineering... IF he has identified the field! A physicist has the privilege of being acceptable to most MSc programs, even biophysics or medical imaging, at universities the world over. He should use that opportunity. At one stage during my working life we recruited a lot of STE(M) majors and promptly sent them off to do one-year MScs in petroleum engineering in the UK. I was working for an oil major. Some proceeded to PhDs, some started working after their MSc's. The UK has a huge variety of one-year (sometimes called coursework) MSc's that welcome first degree holders so that they can switch/better-focus onto a career path. One of my daughters did a one-year MBA after a BA in English Drama. Stateside he ought to be able to find himself a fully funded MSc program somewhere that feeds him into his chosen career path. Or else one that allows him to wallow in unemployable fairyland all the way to a PhD. My classmates of 50 years ago who ended up with physics PhDs were, like myself, loathe to actually start working and have nothing to look forward to other than a pension in 30 or 40 years. Tell him grad school is FUN!

User avatar
jharkin
Posts: 1869
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

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

Post by jharkin » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:32 am

marcopolo wrote:
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?
+1 I'm a 20 year veteran of the software industry and Ive transitioned from technical to management - yet I found a new job in less than 3 months when I decided to make a switch this year. Even landed my first choice employer.

To the OP:

As an MSCS yourself you know this is a big difference between IT support, a developer at a dedicated software development firm, and engineers who do code development within other industries (like embedded controls, etc). And even within the middle category there is a huge diffence between working at a web services firm (FAANG) , vs. an application firm (Adobe, etc) vs. an infrastructure/services/hardware firm (Cisco, Dell, VMWare).


You also know that limiting his search to NYC he is going to run into mostly financial services firms.

I've got more thoughts I can share over pm.

Dude2
Posts: 739
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:40 pm

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

Post by Dude2 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:48 am

jharkin wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:32 am
You also know that limiting his search to NYC he is going to run into mostly financial services firms.
Yes, 100% true. I work in defense (a huge employer for engineering, IT, scientists), and so much of my industry has fled the HCOL areas. Taxes are just too high, despite the political pressures to make the jobs stay. It makes plenty more sense to relocate plants to rural areas in low tax states. If you work for the government, then you may have to live near DC, but there is no compelling reason to keep large defense programs near NYC - at least none I can think of.

User avatar
jharkin
Posts: 1869
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

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

Post by jharkin » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:02 am

Dude2 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:48 am
jharkin wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:32 am
You also know that limiting his search to NYC he is going to run into mostly financial services firms.
Yes, 100% true. I work in defense (a huge employer for engineering, IT, scientists), and so much of my industry has fled the HCOL areas. Taxes are just too high, despite the political pressures to make the jobs stay. It makes plenty more sense to relocate plants to rural areas in low tax states. If you work for the government, then you may have to live near DC, but there is no compelling reason to keep large defense programs near NYC - at least none I can think of.
Yep... the thing is "IT" "coding" and "engineering" are very broad terms... so many replies in these discussions limit to some slice of the industry that the responded is familiar with.... Lots of people think of "the IT guy" at their job who comes and fixes their laptop... or just things of people that went to a code academy and write web services for the FAANGs...

But look at me... my experience is enterprise engineering software (Think Dassault Systems, Siemens, PTC, Autodesk, MathWorks, etc).

Then there is telecom (Klangfool's field)

And then there are the big hardware companies (Dell, HP, Cisco)

Or companies that make application software (MS, Oracle, Adobe, etc)

The video game industry.

And so many other industries that embed software or use complex math in their design and analysis process (aerospace, auto,pharma, oil&gas, minerals, various basic research fields)

and on and on....

User avatar
LiveSimple
Posts: 1077
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

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

Post by LiveSimple » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:32 am

Please try the IT jobs in the corporate.


https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=python+de ... =NYC%2C+NY
https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=python+developer&l=CA

Use indeed.com for searching for the filed you want and for the geographical location.

These jobs at corporate requires only the programming or administrative knowledge and do not even care to check the basic qualification.
You will be surprised, that you may be even over qualified.

dknightd
Posts: 934
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

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

Post by dknightd » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:52 am

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?
It Bogles my mind that a physics/applied math person can not a find a job. Granted, a 3.3 gpa is more or less average these days. He should still be able to find something. A physics/math degree is a good starting point. He likely has basic skills and problem solving capabilities. It is a shame that they let physics/math students out of school without at least some training in computing.

IT is a big diverse field. Maybe he should dip his toes in, and take any job he can find. Then let his natural ability, and problem solving skills, find him a place to fit it.

He should definitely use whatever stony brook offers for outplacement. I assume they do not want their graduates to not find a job.

If he is interested in atmospheric/environmental science, he might consider applying to their graduate school in that area. I'm pretty sure if he is accepted costs would be covered, plus a small amount for living expenses.

After one year looking for an ideal job, he likely needs to just get any job. Prove he is not a basement playing video games kid who expects to live at home for ever. He could take a manual labor job, then use his innate skills to move up to who knows what. That worked out for my son in law.

Dottie57
Posts: 4631
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

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

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:03 am

I’ve taken a class from Udemy.com. Never pay fill price. If you wait a month or two, you can takebuy classes for under $20.

Not a total solution, but it might help.

Jags4186
Posts: 2538
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

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

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:03 am

Unless he’s passionate about coding I wouldn’t have went that route with his background. He could look for employment in consulting, industry sales, logistics, manufacturing (plant management, not line worker). Things that require someone with smarts but not necessarily hard skills. At my prior company, the plant manager at a food production company was a phsysist before he worked in manufacturing.

Dottie57
Posts: 4631
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

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

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:06 am

clarkebarry wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:49 am
Data Science is an amazing field to worn on. It involves a lot of math although plus it's a demanding job in the recent market. Data scientists are trained to identify data that stands out in some way. They create statistical, network, path, and big data methodologies for predictive fraud propensity models and use those to create to alerts that help ensure timely responses when unusual data is recognized. Delivering relevant products and understanding historical data.
I think AI would be math intensive too.

dknightd
Posts: 934
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

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

Post by dknightd » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:18 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:06 am
clarkebarry wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:49 am
Data Science is an amazing field to worn on. It involves a lot of math although plus it's a demanding job in the recent market. Data scientists are trained to identify data that stands out in some way. They create statistical, network, path, and big data methodologies for predictive fraud propensity models and use those to create to alerts that help ensure timely responses when unusual data is recognized. Delivering relevant products and understanding historical data.
I think AI would be math intensive too.
I suspect AI is a hot field going forward.

cherijoh
Posts: 4957
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

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

Post by cherijoh » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:27 am

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?
Did he have any statistics classes in his undergrad? Is so, I would recommend learning to code in SAS and R. SAS is a commercial program and R is open source. SAS offers a number of certificates that are highly desirable to companies involved in big data. He should also check out the data science certificate program on Coursera.

User avatar
market timer
Posts: 5954
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

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

Post by market timer » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:31 am

I'd suggest looking for a job at a startup. They generally won't pay as well or offer the job security of an investment bank or FANG, but they also won't be as selective. Would help to move to NYC or San Francisco and network like crazy until finding a job. Then continue networking and learning.

dknightd
Posts: 934
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

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

Post by dknightd » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:16 am

He is your cousin. Not really your problem. All you can give is advise. My advise would be - get a job - any job.
Even a crappy job is better than no job. Then start saving for retirement ;)

downshiftme
Posts: 1049
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:11 pm

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

Post by downshiftme » Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:50 pm

Many people mean well to suggest IT or programming to young people with math/physics backgrounds, but these are very different disciplines and while some math people do enjoy IT or programming or software engineering or data science or project/program management or any of the dozens of other related careers, they are not for everyone. Back in my day, people interested in software development could get a job with any kind of academic background or even none at all. That is a lot less common now.

Most math/physics students get some significant exposure to software in school, perhaps at least as an elective. If your nephew has so little experience that he'd consider a coding bootcamp, then maybe this isn't a field that interests him. If it actually is of interest and he just hasn't had much practical exposure, then getting some practical exposure should be his first move. It's very rare for a company to hire anyone in software or IT roles with only academic exposure. Everyone is looking for practical experience from internships, open source projects, self directed code projects or even personal websites can be used if necessary. Be prepared to talk about at least some level of what the software did and why technical choices were made.

To get an entry level job may involve setting sites lower. Consider an academic project that needs software help, then the physics background might be a plus. Large well-run famous software companies will be absurdly hard to get interviewed without practical experience, much less hired. Consider smaller companies who might not appeal to MIT grads but might be pleased to have a Stony Brook physicist. Even larger companies with a commerce website may be "smaller" considering only the technical people creating and running the website. If they are small enough they may pay less than prevailing wages for top notch software talent and be interested in smart candidates with less traditional software backgrounds. They can be a good places to get experience, assuming you can avoid picking up too many bad habits.

With a year since graduation, any job at all is probably better than no job. Also, having a job gives immediate exposure to at least some other jobs. For young people who really don't know what they want their life work to be (probably most of them) getting exposure to more possibilities can help with deciding what directions to at least look in. Also, even clerical jobs will likely have some exposure to IT and computers. A job can be a good place to start to get known as the kid who can do X with computers and (if he likes it) become known to the local IT or software groups who may be able to arrange internal transfers if appropriate. Doing anything is better than sitting at home not having a job.

gotester2000
Posts: 589
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:59 am

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

Post by gotester2000 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:15 pm

OP,

Please dont waste his talent in coding jobs in IT. Look for a career in Maths/Physics instead of targeting to FIRE after 10 years due to continuous stress and end of the line feeling as a software engineer.

DJP1944
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:12 pm

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

Post by DJP1944 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:26 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.
+10

I do not think more university education is the answer...but perhaps coursera + some interview training would do the trick. There is enormous opportunity for anyone that knows the basics of SQL/SAS/Python/R/Tableau/etc...

InvisibleAerobar
Posts: 195
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:33 pm

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

Post by InvisibleAerobar » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:36 pm

student wrote:
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.
that's not always true, especially for MS degrees taking 2 years or less

STEM doctoral students shouldn't pay for getting their degrees, b/c they've signed up to be paid below minimum wage while performing tasks with high values added. But this isn't true for MS degrees, where one mostly take classes.

student
Posts: 2574
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

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

Post by student » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:34 am

InvisibleAerobar wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:36 pm
student wrote:
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.
that's not always true, especially for MS degrees taking 2 years or less

STEM doctoral students shouldn't pay for getting their degrees, b/c they've signed up to be paid below minimum wage while performing tasks with high values added. But this isn't true for MS degrees, where one mostly take classes.
As another reader has noted, there are ways to get around it, you enter a PhD program and then leave with a masters degree. For many lower tier schools, especially one with no PhD program, their masters degree students receive financial support. My employer offers such stipends and tuition waivers for qualified STEM masters students.

bling
Posts: 293
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:49 pm

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

Post by bling » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:32 am

there are plenty of non-finance tech companies in NYC. amazon/google/facebook all have a large presence. mongodb, jet, foursquare, seamless, squarespace, datadog, box, asana, etc. just to name a few.

gips
Posts: 475
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 5:42 pm

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

Post by gips » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:43 pm

thanks for all the great feedback and ideas! Here are some thoughts:
- statistics: He has an applied math degree and is very strong in statistics
- data science: he;d love to work in the field but claims 95% of the job postings require an ms or phd
- geography: he's not limited his search to nyc. A defense contractor flew him out to ca for a final round interview and he's looking at jobs in other geos.
- advanced degree: he'd like to go back to school for engineer or cs but can't afford it. I mentioned the idea of a phd program and then quitting after he receives an ms. He said gaining admittance to a phd program is very competitive and he's not sure his grades will play.
- open source projects: he has a couple of projects on github, I agree, working on others projects is a good idea. I'll mention it to him.

by way of update, he has a final round hr interview tomorrow and a first round interview with an investment bank on wed. Hopefully, this will all be moot by the end of the week!

User avatar
onthecusp
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:25 pm

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

Post by onthecusp » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:42 pm

A good intersection of programming and physics is in some sort of Chemical or Oil/Gas Process Control and Instrumentation Engineering. (Mid Atlantic, Chicago, and Gulf Coast are the concentrated areas but the industry is spread out all over.) I've known a few physics majors in the field. Entry level would be with engineering companies working on projects for operating companies. If he has an interest in learning instrumentation or analyzer technology such people are hard to find. With strong data analysis interest and math skills there are Advanced Process Control opportunities too.

HappyWorkerBee
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 9:31 pm

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

Post by HappyWorkerBee » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:07 pm

My fingers are crossed that your nephew's final interviews are successful. In the event that they are not, I'll re-iterate what several other folks on this thread have said: he needs to improve his interview skills.

As a new grad, I interviewed for over a dozen jobs and got no offers. Eventually when I did get an offer it was because I happened to get lucky and interview well on that particular day. After I had some professional work experience, interviewing well became easy, so every time I interview I get a job offer.

Poor interview skills are a common problem among new grads. Fixing it is relatively difficult because the kids typically don't realize how awful they are at interviewing and they aren't keen to do practice interviews (and often don't know anyone qualified to conduct one).

newguy84
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:40 pm

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

Post by newguy84 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:28 pm

(If he's looking to get into data science)

Python is definitely the hottest scripting language right now (I grew up using SAS, but times change!), so I would encourage him to get some experience using that particular language. R/SAS knowledge is also something I look for on a resume.

I would say that knowledge of how to turn a business issue into technical requirements is the number one competency that I look for in a candidate. I don't care which technology someone uses to solve a problem as long as it solves the problem correctly.

What grinds my gears is when I talk to a candidate and they just use buzz words (e.g., "AI", "Deep Learning", "SVM", "Ensemble", etc.) and miss the boat on more fundamental things like talking through the thought process on using supervised/unsupervised techniques, algorithm explainability and predictability trade-offs, data limitations, etc.

Shamb3
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:58 pm

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

Post by Shamb3 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:35 pm

Volunteer on open source projects and look for jobs at small companies.
The pay may not be good, but it will get him the experience.

SDLinguist
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:39 pm

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

Post by SDLinguist » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:01 am

newguy84 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:28 pm
(If he's looking to get into data science)

Python is definitely the hottest scripting language right now (I grew up using SAS, but times change!), so I would encourage him to get some experience using that particular language. R/SAS knowledge is also something I look for on a resume.

I would say that knowledge of how to turn a business issue into technical requirements is the number one competency that I look for in a candidate. I don't care which technology someone uses to solve a problem as long as it solves the problem correctly.

What grinds my gears is when I talk to a candidate and they just use buzz words (e.g., "AI", "Deep Learning", "SVM", "Ensemble", etc.) and miss the boat on more fundamental things like talking through the thought process on using supervised/unsupervised techniques, algorithm explainability and predictability trade-offs, data limitations, etc.
This is so true. I do a lot of interviews, almost all of them are of recent PhD grads in AI, ML or CS related fields. Very, very few of them think in a business oriented way. The idea that you have customers to satisfy and deadlines to meet is anathima to them. Or even the idea that the work you do needs to be something someone else would be willing to spend money on.

And even fewer understand the concepts of maintainability and reusability and extensibility. When you are in a SaaS/PaaS world those are really key.

The really big companies have the money to employ a bunch of researchers who probably produce something useful maybe once a decade and then employ an army of software engineers to make it a usable product after a business analyst has found a market for the idea. But realistically there are very few companies that can do that but people read stories of certain tech companies and think that every place is like that.

gips
Posts: 475
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 5:42 pm

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

Post by gips » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:44 pm

thanks again for all the replies!

he received an offer yesterday! Mid-sixties in Boston, 6-8 weeks of training and then off to a client site. Not his dream job, he has two weeks to accept and continues to interview. He has 2nd round interviews with a hedge fund and an investment bank, I'm sure stating he has an offer in hand will help a little.

best,

KlangFool
Posts: 10391
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

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

Post by KlangFool » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:33 pm

gips wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:44 pm
thanks again for all the replies!

he received an offer yesterday! Mid-sixties in Boston, 6-8 weeks of training and then off to a client site. Not his dream job, he has two weeks to accept and continues to interview. He has 2nd round interviews with a hedge fund and an investment bank, I'm sure stating he has an offer in hand will help a little.

best,
gips,

1) Make sure that he does not have to pay for training. Or, sign a 2 years contract for the job. There are job scams out there.

2) Do a google search on the employer/contracting company.

KlangFool

gips
Posts: 475
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 5:42 pm

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

Post by gips » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:34 pm

thanks kf, I googled and I have an ex-partner that worked there. all good.

KlangFool
Posts: 10391
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

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

Post by KlangFool » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:34 pm

gips wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:34 pm
thanks kf, I googled and I have an ex-partner that worked there. all good.
gips,

That's great!

KlangFool

rgs92
Posts: 2222
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:00 pm

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

Post by rgs92 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:32 pm

gotester2000 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:15 pm
OP,

Please dont waste his talent in coding jobs in IT. Look for a career in Maths/Physics instead of targeting to FIRE after 10 years due to continuous stress and end of the line feeling as a software engineer.
I second this advice. Coding is grunt work where you are often just handed huge piles of legacy spaghetti code. Or you are just given impossible deadlines and you have 20 people whose job just seems to be asking Is It Done Yet? And you get blamed for everything.

Project management, although frustrating and painful and political and often mind-deadening, is at least more predictable and not subject to impossible demands.

Valuethinker
Posts: 36317
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

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

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:52 am

gotester2000 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:15 pm
OP,

Please dont waste his talent in coding jobs in IT. Look for a career in Maths/Physics instead of targeting to FIRE after 10 years due to continuous stress and end of the line feeling as a software engineer.
Other than high school teacher I can't think of a career in Math/ Physics that does not require at least an M.Sc? If you look in the back of New Scientist (which sometimes has American jobs) that would be a consistent pattern. Most people in those jobs probably have Phds?

Presumably for a teaching job you also need a year at teacher's college? (not sure how US works on this - varies by state?).

I can think of lots of jobs where a B.Sc. in those fields is useful - data science, financial analysis etc.

But there are probably 1000 jobs in coding for every job in Math/ Physics per se. Maybe 10k - I don't have time at the moment to look that up.

invst65
Posts: 644
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:04 am

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

Post by invst65 » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:00 am

gips wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:15 pm
I've reviewed his code and it works but demonstrates an unfamiliarity with basic design patterns and best practices.
A "Hello" World" program works, but it doesn't prove much.

I'm a retired programmer with over 40 years of experience and I can tell you that I would have never wanted a newbie like this on my team. I've encountered a few and it's more trouble than it's worth.

If he really wants to make a career of it, maybe he should work on a project with some degree of complexity. Maybe build a website or something. That would also give him something to demonstrate his abilities.

Afty
Posts: 824
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

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

Post by Afty » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:11 am

This got me thinking. My undergrad degree is in physics, graduated in the early 2000s. Looking at where my classmates are now, I'd say more than half of us are either software engineers or data scientists. It seems to be a good path for someone with a physics background.

Post Reply