Many students that are interested in engineering are also interested in applied mathematics. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.
|Ease of finding a job||Good||Moderate|
|Types of jobs|
you can qualify for
|Difficulty of the|
|Key things to note||Can give good job|
prospects with just
a bachelor’s degree.
Many of the more
a master’s degree.
The jobs you will
qualify for will depend
a lot on the specific
type of engineering
degree you choose.
|Not a very employable|
degree by itself if you
do not take applied
Very employable if
you combine it with
a more applied minor
such as computer
Also employable if
you combine it with
programming, statistics and
data analysis skills.
Source for applied math salary and jobs
As you can see from the table, there are many similarities between the two degrees. However, there are many things to consider when choosing between them.
Details about an applied math degree
Below are details about the applied math major.
According to Payscale, the average salary for someone that has an applied math degree is $76,007.
Jobs you can get with an applied math degree
Since applied math is used in many different fields an applied math degree will open you up to many different job opportunities.
With that being said, something to consider is that many of the more lucrative jobs will require a master’s degree.
Jobs that you could get with a master’s degree in applied math could include:
- Data scientist
- Quantitative researcher
- Math teacher
- Machine learning engineer
However, there are many jobs that an applied math bachelor’s degree will qualify you for.
Jobs that you could get with a bachelor’s degree in applied math could include:
- Business analyst
- Financial analyst
- Insurance underwriter
- Data analyst
- Software engineer
- Market researcher
The jobs you will qualify for will depend a lot on the classes that you choose to take. The reason for this is that most applied math degrees will give you the opportunity to take classes from a number of different disciplines such as computer science, physics, and statistics.
If you want to get into data science then taking lots of statistics, computer science and data analytics classes will help you a lot. It would also help to complete data science projects so that you can showcase your skills.
Also, while it is true that many data science and machine learning jobs often require a master’s degree, it is also the case that many people have gotten those jobs with a bachelor’s degree. If you can showcase your ability in data science or machine learning with projects, you should be able to make yourself competitive for these roles with just a bachelor’s degree.
In addition to taking classes relevant to the field that you want to enter it would be very helpful to try and get some internships in that field while you are an undergrad.
You’ll likely be taking a number of computer science classes as part of an applied math degree. Many applied math majors go on to become software engineers since it is a highly rated job for people with a bachelor’s degree. If your applied math program does not require many CS classes, it would help a lot to make sure to take some as electives since it will broaden your job opportunities a lot. It would also be a good option to have CS as a minor as well.
Classes you will be taking in applied math
An applied math degree will allow you to take a number of classes from a number of different fields.
There will be a number of math classes that you will likely be required to take which could include:
- Linear algebra
- Discrete math
- Differential equations
- Partial differential equations
- Graph theory
- Number theory
- Abstract algebra
- Real analysis
However, the specific math classes you will have to take will depend on your specific program.
For most applied math degrees, you will be able to take classes from other related fields and count them towards your major.
Classes from other fields that you might take could include:
- Computer science
- Big data
- Machine learning and data science
You can look here to see an example of the required applied math classes at Berkeley.
Difficulty of the major
An applied math degree can have some very difficult classes but this will depend on what classes are required in your specific program. In some programs, there are a lot of proof-based math classes that are required including real analysis and abstract algebra. These classes can be a lot more difficult than computational classes such as calculus or linear algebra.
Overall, you can expect an applied math degree to have a similar difficulty as an engineering degree. However, there will likely be one or two applied math classes that will be very difficult such as real analysis and you should be prepared to put a lot of time into them.
Alternatives to an applied math degree
If you are thinking of getting an applied math degree then there are a number of other degrees that you might want to consider which can include:
You can click on their links to see what I have written about them as majors themselves.
Is an applied math degree marketable?
How marketable an applied math degree will be will depend a lot on what you do in your time in the major and the classes you take.
If you take classes relevant to the types of jobs that you want to get upon graduating then it will be a very marketable degree. It will be especially marketable if you also can get some summer internships and do some projects in the field that you want to enter.
If you just take the traditional courses, while in the major, it will still be marketable for many different jobs such as data analytics. But you will have to do some extra work to increase your skills in that particular area. It will also be important to learn things such as programming in your own time.
Details about a degree in engineering
Below are details about a degree in engineering.
It can pay well
According to Payscale, the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in engineering is $85,100. This puts engineering among the highest paying degrees available.
Engineering is also a major that will give you good job prospects with just a bachelor’s degree.
However, many of the better jobs will require a master’s degree. Getting one will also improve your long-term pay prospects. However, this can also be said for most majors.
Something to consider is that the average salary will vary depending on the specific field that you are intending to enter. You can look here to see what the median and average pay is for each of the different types of engineering degrees.
Also, the job progression and working hours will depend a lot on the specific field you want to enter.
Before choosing an engineering degree, it would help a lot to do lots of research on the specific type of engineering degree that you are interested in and to make sure that it has good job prospects. It would also help to make sure that it is something that you would be interested in doing.
Job prospects are projected to improve
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics it is expected that there will be a total of 139,300 new jobs by 2026 when compared to 2016. You can look here to see how each of the different types of engineering jobs are projected to improve.
Many people with engineering degrees go down the software engineering route. These jobs tend to pay well and be less demanding unless there are deadlines coming up.
With that being the case, picking up a minor in computer science will help to broaden your job prospects significantly. At the very least, it would help to make sure to take computer science algorithms and data structures since that is what gets tested in software engineering interviews.
It can be difficult to get a high GPA
Engineering majors are, usually, majors with a high dropout rate. There are many possible reasons for this but one main reason is that an engineering major is more challenging than people would expect.
Engineering makes use of lots of mathematics. In engineering, you will need to learn, single and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, discrete math and differential equations as well as some physics. These can be difficult classes that will require a lot of time spent studying. Many students are not willing to put the necessary amount of time into studying for these classes so they end up not doing very well in them.
However, if you are also interested in an applied math degree, it is likely that you will be able to do well on the math side of an engineering degree which is where most students struggle. Also, the math classes in an engineering degree are rarely proof-based so they will not be as difficult as the advanced math classes in an applied math major which can be proof-heavy and often very difficult.
Another thing to consider is your level of interest in the subject. If you are interested in engineering then you will likely have an easier time motivating yourself to continue studying when you are struggling.
Engineering degrees will often require more credits
Another reason that people have a hard time doing well in engineering is that it will often require more credits to graduate than some of the other majors.
This means that you will likely have to take more classes in each semester as an engineering major and you will have to spend more time studying.
There are a number of alternatives if you are thinking of getting an engineering degree.
The alternatives can include:
- Computer science
- Computer engineering
Things to consider
Since the different engineering degrees will be more applied to a specific job role, they should give you better job prospects than an applied math degree by itself.
However, it can still be difficult when job searching especially right after graduation so it could help a lot to improve your job opportunities by also taking classes from a discipline such as computer science. With that being said, an applied math degree can also be very employable if you also combine it with computer science, programming and statistics.
Another thing to consider is that most engineering classes will not be proof-based. Whereas, some of the later applied math classes could be proof-heavy. Before choosing an applied math degree, it would help to see what classes you will be required to take and to work through an intro to proofs book to see if it is something you are interested in.
Reasons to choose an applied math degree
While an applied math degree is not as applied to a specific type of job like the different engineering degrees are, it can still be very employable if you combine it with something such as computer science, programming and statistics.
Also, applied math can be very useful when applying to graduate school as it is a lack of math classes that often makes students less competitive. Although, again, it will still be important to take classes related to the discipline that you are interested in.
If you do choose to get an applied math degree, it would help a lot to consider what you would like to do after graduating and to make sure to take classes related to that. It would also help to try to complete projects and to do summer internships related to a job you are interested in to make your job search much easier after graduation.
Reasons to choose an engineering degree
As mentioned above, most engineering degrees have much better job prospects than an applied math degree by itself. Getting an engineering degree should be a reliable way to put yourself in a good position after graduating. However, it would still help to try to do internships along the way.
Also, the math used in an engineering degree will usually be much more computational than the math in advanced math classes. Most students tend to prefer these computational classes over the proof-based math classes.
If you want to improve your job prospects further, it could also help to minor in another employable subject such as computer science.