Early Career Profile Network

Early Career Profiles:
Recent bachelors-level graduates in the mathematical sciences


 

  • Name: Tim Mooney
  • Undergraduate school: Northeastern State University
  • Position: Advanced Programmer
  • Company: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
  • Industry Sector: Information Technology

What he does:

  •  As a person with degrees in both Mathematics and Computer Science, Tim Mooney is excellent for the job.  Tim works as an advanced programmer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. writing and maintaining code to fit Wal-Mart’s business needs.  His job involves testing the computer processes used and deriving the specific business rules for the final code to program the computer system used throughout the company.  He is also responsible for helping to mentor other members of the ‘team’.

 

Math on the job:

  •  He says, “From a mathematical standpoint, I suppose the most interesting task I had was a sub-task in a much larger project.  Basically we could get some very generic data back form the database.  Using some logical reasoning, it could be shown that if we applied function A to the data and got back value a, then independently applied function B, returning value b, the product of a x b should equal the number of records input into both functions.  If not, we could apply function AA or BB and see if that caused the proper balance.  If not, we had an error condition.  To derive this, I pretty much had to write out a proof (either out of habit or necessity).”

 

Tim's background:

  •  Tim graduated Northeastern State University with B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science in December, 2004.  He feels logic and general reasoning skills play a large factor in performing his job.  These help to ensure the ‘rightness’ of algorithms.  Specifically, Linear Algebra, Discrete Math, Math Modeling, and Computer Graphics were key courses involved in preparing Tim for the job.  He says that knowing two of the following programming languages is also important: Java, C, C++, Perl, COBOL, Visual Basic, or .NET.

 

Advice for students:

  •  Tim would like to leave this advice for high school and college students considering mathematics:  “Beats Sociology (I still miss it).”