[UNI] Should I Drop My Maths Degree to Focus on Purely Computer Science and Finance?

Hi everyone,

Currently a studying student at University of Adelaide, studying Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences. I am planning to get into the area of financial data analytics in the future, possibly working as a risk analyst at one of the big 4 banks in the future. The way this course is currently run means that I have to do three loads of coursework in the "two" degrees. I am under alot of stress right now, having to balance two jobs and 5 courses in one semester, as I had to take another course to catch up with the rest of the cohort in maths. My current job is at a IT company, however there is no technical work so to speak so far. The other is HJ.

My current 5 courses are, Economics, Financial Markets, Maths A, Maths B and Programming.

I really didn't do well in maths in high school, so is there a chance that I wouldn't have as high of a chance if I were to drop my maths classes to focus purely on just Finance and Computer Sciences? I am considering this options as I didn't get a good grade for Maths and I am worried taking double maths will bomb my GPA.

I would love to hear from anyone in this sort of field, or anyone who has/had been in a similar sort of situation like me.

Thanks

EDIT: Thank you everyone for your advice and support, I am finally deciding to drop the Mathematics Major, moving into Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Computer Science and pursue a Masters Degree in Data Science after graduating to get into the Financial Analytics sector, as well as opening up the possibilities for Software Development and other Data Science fields.

Poll Options

  • 9
    Stick with Maths/Finance/Computer Science
  • 25
    Drop Maths and Go with Finance/Computer Science
  • 2
    Move Maths A to Next Semester, Continue As Per Normal

Comments

  • +11

    Just wondering why do a mathematical course if you were not doing well in high school in the first place?

    • -2

      I read that it was one of the requirements to do Maths for this field. I am genuinely passionate about Data Science but a little bummed I have to go through specialising mathematics to get there

  • +3

    Only read your headline / post topic, OP.

    Do a degree you want to do. I started one I thought I wanted to do. That didn't work out. Then I did one I liked. And finished it. And enjoyed doing it. Now I work in a completely different field.

  • -1

    Yes I would drop it if you still end up with a degree. I got behind in maths in high school and never caught up. Still passed my university entrance even though I failed art

    • +2

      This explains so much

  • +2

    Currently a studying student

    I'd hope you'd be studying if you're a student …

    Can you study part-time? If you're under stress, you're going to have to make a compromise somewhere … Can you not study Maths A in one study period and Maths B in another?

  • +6

    I don't have any experience in your field, but I do have lots of university experience.

    Some other options that don't involve dropping courses:

    1) Can you study part-time for a semester? Studying only 1 or 2 subjects at a time will make it easier to focus on those, and be less stressful overall.

    2) Can you cut back your work hours temporarily? This will mean less money so may not be possible, but would give you more time for your studies.

    3) Talk to the University and tell them how stressed you are. Talk to the lecturers and tell them too. Ask for advice from people who are directly involved in your studies.

  • +2

    Working part time while studying is hard enough to do either well. You are doing 3 loads of coursework + 2 jobs, that is just insane!

    I would probably space out the courses as much as I can if I were you, because there is a danger of not doing any of the things you have picked up well. Usually people will only look at your GPA, not so much how long you spend at university, so if spacing out your coursework will help you get a better GPA, it is certainly worth considering.

    • +1

      Thank you for the advice. Maths A can actually be moved to next semester, so i might just do that so i can spend some more time on Maths B (which is the simpler one, and the one that's recommended to do before doing Maths A).

  • +6

    Going by your previous posts, it looks like this is your first semester at uni. Make sure if you drop any subjects, that you do so before Census Date

    • Great sleuthing haha. I'll make sure to pay attention to that, cheers!

  • -1

    Do what you'll be passionate about in the future.

    Honestly computer science and finance will be two very stable industries. Finance imho will be a little dry, while the computer science will be fairly interesting.

    At my uni straight maths set you up to spend the rest of your life in university teaching or doing PHD's etc, not somewhere that people moved on from (although they were bloody smart).

    I'd shift courses if you wanted to move into the industry, i'd imagine a fair few of the units would carry over.

    • -1

      Honestly computer science and finance will be two very stable industries

      You couldn’t be more wrong. Don’t go around giving bad advice.

  • More majors or degrees sound great but it extends your study time and stress.

    Computer science & finance alone will get you a job, I don't see a mathematics major helping much. Just pick up one of the mathematical modelling subjects as an elective.

    Focus on networking at the careers events, it'll help you more to get vacation work.

    *career in chemical engineering/energy/modelling/digital twins/process control with aspects of finance

  • -1

    If you weren't good at maths in high school don't do maths at uni!

    I was very good at maths in high school (not winning state comps type level but best in the top level class never needing to ever study) but drifted down down down in university maths doing a bachelor of science majoring in physics & maths. 2nd year i ended up quitting half way through as I just couldn't do one of the maths courses. After trying a major in all the different sciences ended up starting all over again with a degree in computer science and loved it.

    Don't waste more time on it, if you know what you're good at and enjoy do that. Anything else is a waste of hecs and a waste of time.

  • Which year or study are you in? Your list of courses sounds like first year subjects?
    If you are struggling with the workload so early on then definitely drop courses. Better to do a few things well than a broad number of courses terribly.
    If you want to do risk analysis later on the stats and modelling courses will really help out. However from the 2 universities I am familiar with the maths structure is extremely rigid in pre and co requisites. It would be really hard to make the requirements of you had dropped.
    On a more personal note I loved maths in university, wait till you get up to higher analysis it's a wild ride.

  • +2

    You should drop some more hash browns.

    Sorry, couldnt resist a HJ joke.

    • Lol, don't know why you got negged, it was funny. Just finished my shift haha

  • +3

    please don't get too hung up on part-time work. I did part-time work when I was studying and it really impacted my grades. It's not worth the stress. Money can come in later but you can't change the grades you get. My biggest regret is letting myself get so stressed from keeping myself in part-time work and not being focused on coursework.

    Also math doesn't get easier in uni. If you know you aren't able to keep up just drop the course before census comes. I refused to drop courses because it impacted my youth allowance so … effed my good ass up.

    If you really want to keep your part-time job for money, (i agree having money to spend makes life so much easier), be a part-time student. Don't think you need to keep up the same pace and be in the same graduating cohort as your peers. Everyone ends up graduating in different cohorts in the end.

    Don't try and finish fast because chances you're gonna end up switching shit around. I switched so many times and now its my sixth year being enrolled at uni and all I'm graduating with is an Arts degree lmao.

    Also you just need the most relevant degrees for the job description.

    The employer doesn't get impressed by how many degrees you have. They just want you to have the required job skills and a relevant degree to do the job.

  • +1

    Stick through with it IMO. Maths and computer science go hand in hand for what you want. A little bit of pain for the certificate in the end after a few years is worth the rewards at the end. If it was easy everyone would do it.

  • +3

    Maths might be good for some specific data science work but otherwise computer science would be way more useful.

  • +3

    One of your degrees is Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences. If you want to complete that degree, you will need to do maths.

    I highly recommend you sit down and force yourself to do the work. It sucks, but then it clicks and you get it (I say this as I am procrastinating…).

    For study aids, make friends in the years above and get copies of their past papers with answers. No competent lecturer will reuse the same questions, but it will give you a good idea of what to expect as most lecturers will skip steps and make a few leaps of logic that only an academic can make.

    Is the math part important in com sci? Depends on what you want to use it for. Maths can be insainely important for some programmers, but a waste of time for others.

    But I want to do 'financial data analytics'? Sorry to burst your bubble, but the analytics part is maths.

    Like others had said, space out your degree. There is not point killing yourself. You will be 25 when you graduate instead of 23 with no degree.

    Make sure you check requirements for next semester and next year before you alter your course.

    Make sure you drop any subjects before census date to avoid paying for a subject twice (droped subjects may still show up on your academic transcript, depending on your university).

    Talk to your faculties academic advisor if one is available for 1st years for advice on extending your degree.

  • +1

    If you are not good at maths, you will be a terrible data scientist.

  • Do not what is best for you now, do what is best for you 5 years from now.

    1. 5 subjects a session is stretching it thin if you had no job. Cut down to 4 max.
    2. Do you have the skills now? No? Then you need them uni is a way.
    3. Drop one degree.
    4. No one cares what your marks are in the future they are good for your first job and that's about it.

    5. > Financial data analytics in the future, possibly working as a risk analyst at one of the big 4 banks in the future.

    Do you need more than high school maths and a stars course for this? It sounds like a bunch of SQL and stats work.

  • 5 subjects is a lot for anyone. Cut back, you'll enjoy life more, and do much better.
    I hated my engineering course sorta early on, especially when I started trying to fit in 5 subjects semesters to add a double degree to it (wanted to to Arts/language studies for something more fun).
    After failing a few subjects in one very bad semester, I cut down to 4 subjects max each semester, with no more than 3 engineering subjects at a time. Which meant I was doing a bit less tough study than people just doing a single degree.

    I think this only added one semester to my overall study time, but I went from hating my course and wanting to drop out to really enjoying it, and my marks became much better. Fun detail: my lowest and highest marks in my degree were for the same subject, which went from a massive cause of stress one year to one of my favourite subjects in the whole degree the next year.

  • +1

    Get to know some people who do the work you want to do. Ask them what you need to get their type of work. I you think you really like data analytics, then you are likely to like, and do well at the maths needed.
    U of A has an excellent Careers Service - make an appt to see an adviser and ask how you can find out more about getting into that field. The Careers Service has direct links to industry, including vacation placements and graduate opportunities - well before you graduate. There is also an online Career Hub. The Uni also has a Maths Learning Center you could check out.
    Those people deal help students with your type of dilemma everyday.
    Ask lots of questions, and make your own luck!

  • +1

    I'm a bit confused but lets break this down.

    Maths A can actually be moved to next semester, so i might just do that so i can spend some more time on Maths B (which is the simpler one, and the one that's recommended to do before doing Maths A).

    just checking are you 100% sure about this - because queensland highschools used the same names until recently but with reversed meaning:
    maths A was simplest life skills maths,
    maths B was uni entry maths,
    rare maths C was jump start beginning of uni level maths

    I am under alot of stress right now, having to balance two jobs and 5 courses in one semester

    😮

    So was your plan all along to definitely have a nervous breakdown or is that just a side project? /s

    Seriously dude that seems like too much.You probably need less work or less school.

    My current job is at a IT company, however there is no technical work so to speak so far. The other is HJ.

    Could you not live any more frugally for just the next few years and therefore work less?
    HJs is not going to add a lot to your resume. Are you earning a lot for your time?
    Is your IT job part or full time? Does it not pay a frugal living wage?

    studying Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences….
    The way this course is currently run means that I have to do three loads of coursework in the "two" degrees.

    because one of the two degrees is a double major which equals 3 majors or main areas of study;
    1 finance
    2 mathematical science
    3 computer science

    I really didn't do well in maths in high school, so is there a chance that I wouldn't have as high of a chance if I were to drop my maths classes to focus purely on just Finance and Computer Sciences?

    I don't know if you can do that.

    You are currently studying a bachelor of mathematical and computer sciences.
    There's just no way you can do that and study no maths.

    Finance and Computer Science themselves involve some maths anyway. So do data and risk analysis.

    If you mean: Should I change degrees to just a
    bachelor of finance and a bachelor of computer science,
    or
    a bachelor of finance and computer science…
    ….well maybe, yes….
    Do those degrees exist?

    5 courses in one semester, as I had to take another course to catch up with the rest of the cohort in maths.

    I wouldn't worry about falling behind or catching up. It probably seems important now but it won't later.
    I would worry about not being skilled enough at maths to be able to do what you want to do.

    I am considering this options as I didn't get a good grade for Maths and I am worried taking double maths will bomb my GPA.

    Does that really matter? ( I honestly don't know - does it?)
    If i were in your position, to me it would be more important to be able to do the finance and computer science degree i wanted to do, and that would mean I needed more maths skills, therefore I would need to do maths courses. And I would prefer to do them first thing so that I could use those new skills when i did the finance and computer science.

    My current 5 courses are, Economics, Financial Markets, Maths A, Maths B and Programming.

    Are you enjoying the economics, financial markets and programming subjects?


    Some suggestions that might help:

    Brilliant.org - just getting into it myself. it's a learning website that uses puzzles instead of videos or text. has maths, finance and computer science courses. https://brilliant.org/ https://www.ozbargain.com.au/deals/brilliant.org

    Book: a mind for number by barbara oakley https://www.amazon.com.au/Mind-Numbers-Science-Flunked-Algeb... i've been meaning to read it for ages so can't recommend directly but have heard good things

    • +1

      Thank you for the detailed response.

      Maths A and B aren't actually what they're called. They are called Maths IA (for Specialist students) and Maths IM (for Methods students). I only took methods in high school and I am struggling alot with the specialist side of things.

      Currently I'm leaning towards less uni rather than less work. I've heard that the work experience is probably more crucial to landing a job than the theory learnt in my degrees. A bit shaky on the HJ job as I might quit within 6 months.

      At this moment in time I am thinking of not dropping maths entirely, rather just delaying it by maybe one or two semesters so it doesn't interfere with my other studies or work.

      I also heard that GPA is crucial for a job in the financial industry so I don't think taking double maths courses in one semester will actually help with that.

      Again, thanks for the extremely detailed response, I'll look into those links you sent and see what I can gather.

  • +1

    If you really want to get into financial data analytics, or even data science, the maths will put you ahead of others that do not have that.

    It will also keep you ahead of all the cheap 'commodity' programmers from places like India that large Aussie companies outsource to, as those guys generally have no maths skills (or finance skills). The Finance degree will also be to your advantage, especially if you are targeting bank jobs, but the maths component will put you in into a category of people that is relatively small and be very much in your favour.

    I think the maths component will give you a much higher chance of getting a good job and it will allow you to command a higher salary.

    BUT, you need to be confident that you can complete the maths work at uni AND you must know within yourself that you will enjoy it if that becomes a core part of your job. If you wont like maths as a core part of a job then don't do it, you'll just hate work and probably fail in that kind of job.

    I'm 25 years as a software developer/dev lead/dev manager in very large global organisations (not banking).

    Good luck, keep up the hard work, it will pay off. But don't burn yourself out.

  • +1

    Did the exact same course at the same uni. I probably know you since its Adelaide and all :)

    I also struggled a little with the maths side of the degree - but it is certainly a huge part of the degree and I feel like thats where I learnt the most. I really enjoyed the challenge and if you dont want to stress, you can always take some easy econ subjects to pace it out. Puzzle based learning (1st yr), game theory (3rd) were really fun/easy subjects I reccomend.

    However, I would urge you to pursue maths atleast until second year where you start to learn about some more interesting concepts like Multivariable Calculus/PDEs. I actually didnt do much of the comp sci part - electing to do more econ/finance subjects which for some reason also counted as "maths". To be honest my coding skills are not great because of this, but at my current job I dont have to do too much coding which is great!

    My advice, drop the second part time job at HJs. I think work experience is important - but its also the type of work experience that matters. If you already have decent interpersonal skills working at HJs wont help you much. I also found that no one cares what your GPA is. It feels more like a flex number, if its not good, dont mention it. Similar to ATAR - I havent found a single person who mentions that either without a subtle flex

    I am a 26yr old working in software dev. DM me if you want to chat more about certain subjects @ uni I found fun/interesting.

    • A software dev with not so good coding skills? How is that even possible hahahaha. PM'd you :P and thank you for the advice!

  • Anything to do with Data Analytics, do it. Anything else forget it. You will end up doing Maths in CS. However, I'm dead against Uni IT courses. You'll get a job in the end but regret doing the degree.

  • +1

    EDIT: Thank you everyone for your advice and support, I am finally deciding to drop the Mathematics Major, moving into Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Computer Science and pursue a Masters Degree in Data Science after graduating to get into the Financial Analytics sector, as well as opening up the possibilities for Software Development and other Data Science fields.

    • After checking the Masters Degree in Data Science at the University of Adelaide, they have the core Maths courses specifically for data science, probability and statistics, which will be more relevant to my career choices. Again, thank you to everyone's contributions. :))

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