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Mathematics and Statistics

Careers in Mathematics

Careers in Mathematics

Interested in pursuing a math degree?  Consider the following careers:

Video on careers in Mathematics

  • Actuaries
  • Auditors
  • Budget analysts
  • College instructors/professors
  • Computer programmers
  • Cost analysts
  • Cryptographers (Coders)
  • Data analysts
  • Estate planners
  • Financial/investment analysts
  • Flight management analysts
  • High school teachers
  • Industrial/applied mathematicians
  • Inventory controllers
  • Investment bankers
  • Market researchers
  • Military defense analysts
  • Network programmers
  • Operations researchers
  • Optimization analysts
  • Production managers
  • Purchasing agents
  • Quality control engineers
  • Risk managers
  • Software designers/analysts
  • Statisticians
  • Strategy analysts
  • Systems engineers
  • Textbook editors
  • Urban planners

Specific Mathematical Career Areas

The ways in which mathematics is used in the workplace are too numerous to list. However, there are a number of special areas of interest where mathematicians are especially concentrated:

Actuarial Science
Actuaries are experts in the mathematics and finance of risk, and they are in demand throughout the private and public sector. In the rankings published by Jobs Rated Almanac, "Actuary" has never been listed lower than the fourth best job (out of 250 rated), and in two editions of the Almanac was ranked first. Qualified actuaries are well paid and always in demand. If you like mathematics, statistics, and finance, then you should strongly consider this very rewarding career.

For an excellent on-line resource describing all aspects of the Actuarial profession, visit BeAnActuary.org. (Don't miss the very well-done ten-minute video on the homepage.)

Also see Baldwin-Wallace College's Pre-Actuarial Course of Study intended to help students prepare for the first two of the all-important Actuarial Exams. Please review this site carefully to get more information about preparing for an Actuarial Career at B-W.

Applied Mathematics
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics is the leading professional organization devoted to the advancement of applied mathematics. Their Careers & Jobs page not only lists openings in this vast field, but also gives an excellent summary of what applied mathematics is.
 
Mathematical Finance
Mathematical finance is the branch of applied mathematics that deals with the financial markets. As these markets become increasingly complicated, the mathematical tools used to analyze them become correspondingly more complex. Experts in mathematical finance are employed by financial institutions, investment banks, and commodities firms. An internet search on "mathematical finance" will bring up technical information, graduate programs, and more.
 
Operations Research and Management Science
According to informs.org, operations research is "the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions". This is another very rewarding field for someone who enjoys applying mathematics to real-world situations. See the Institute for Operations Research and the Mathematical Sciences, especially their Career Page and Career Booklet.
 
Statistics
According to the American Statistical Association, statistics is "the scientific application of mathematical principles to the collection, analysis, and presentation of numerical data." An excellent resource for careers in statistics is the ASA's Career Center. Statisticians are in constant demand, with plentiful career opportunities in a wide variety of fields.

Finding a Position

Of course you want to get help writing a good resume, learn interview skills, etc. But here are some tips specifically for mathematics majors seeking employment:

  • The MAA has an excellent new clearinghouse to link employers and applicants for both academic and non-academic positions in the mathematical sciences: math classifieds. Here you can search for openings, post a resume, set searches, and more. Internships are also listed. Everyone searching for a position in the mathematical sciences should make use of this resource. (Also see math-jobs.com.)
  • Don't think that a position isn't for you just because it doesn't say "mathematics" in the title, or even the description! Many jobs whose most important requirement is an understanding of mathematics are disguised by titles like "Business Analyst", "Specialist", "Engineer", "Associate", etc. Read the description to see what the employer is really after.
  • There are more employers of mathematics students than you might think! This list is by no means complete, but is provided to help you see the great opportunities available to those with solid mathematical training:

Maintained by David Calvis
Mathematics Coordinator
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Baldwin-Wallace College.
Math Jobs

Why major in Mathematics?

(Thanks to Dartmouth University and Duke University, from whom we have pilfered liberally.)

  • You like it and/or you're good at it. Do you really need another reason? If you need a little more convincing, read on.
  • Professional graduate schools (business, law, medicine) think it's a great major because they realize that studying mathematics develops analytical skills and the ability to work in a problem solving environment; these are skills and experience which rank high on their list of assets. Their entrance tests support this bias. A study of college students' scores on admission tests for graduate and professional schools showed that students majoring in mathematics received scores substantially higher than the average on each of the tests studied. The study, by the National Institute of Education, compared the scores of 550,000 college students who took the LSAT and GMAT with data collected over the previous eighteen years. The table below excerpts some of these data from The Chronicle of Higher Education. The entries show the percentage by which the mean score of test takers from specific undergraduate majors differs from the mean score of all test takers. Full Article

Like math but don’t want a degree in it? Consider the following careers:

  • Animators
  • Archeologists
  • Architects
  • Astronauts
  • Bankers
  • Biologists
  • Bomb technicians
  • Cartographers (Maps)
  • Casino managers
  • Chemical engineers
  • Chemists
  • Civil Engineers
  • Contractors
  • Doctors
  • Drafters
  • Economists
  • Electrical engineers
  • Electricians
  • Environmental engineers
  • Geologists
  • Information systems analysts
  • Investigators
  • Marine scientists
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Mechanics
  • Metallurgical/Material engineers
  • Meteorologists
  • Mining engineers
  • Music producers
  • Nurses
  • Pathologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicists
  • Real estate agents
  • Researchers
  • Surveyors

Other Websites that may be of interest:

1. Simply/Hired: www.simplyhired.com

2. The State of CA: www.spb.ca.gov CA Jobs and/or Student Assistant Internships

3. Serious Job Seeker: www.seriousjobseeker.com