What are the typical careers for theoretical computer scientists (people with graduate degree in theoretical computer science)?

What kind of industries and institutions look for theoretical computer science knowledge? What careers do theoretical computer scientists typically peruse?


1 Answer 1


There are the obvious academic positions. Apart from that, many industrial research (or research-like) labs are very interested in hiring theoreticians who are comfortable applying theoretical foundations to solving problems as well as coming up with new theorems. Theoreticians also find positions (though may be not as many) in financial institutions as "quants".

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    $\begingroup$ COuld you give some specific examples of theoreticians hired to do theory work in industries (apart from research labs like MSFT research)? I do not think even specialized PhDs in mathematical finance do theory work in financial institutions. On the other hand an undergrad from my school got into goldman with programming skills. I would think industry values programming skills more than theory skills. $\endgroup$
    – Turbo
    Apr 24, 2014 at 7:45
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    $\begingroup$ I didn't say that theoreticians are hired to do theory work. They're hired because of their theoretical training. That's slightly different. $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2014 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say that a reasonably large fraction of hires in 'data science' are looking for analytical skills in combination with programming skills. Programming skills by themselves are not sufficient. $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2014 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ If your good, you could get a job with NSA (National Security Agency) but then you would inevitably find yourself in a position like Matt Damon in the movie "Goodwill Hunting" faced with the question" why wouldn't I want to work for the NSA ? :-) $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2014 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW, I know quite a few PhDs with theory training who are now software engineers in Google. $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2014 at 3:38

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