The theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2015 is Math Drives Careers. The program’s goal for the coming year is to increase awareness of the breadth of careers available to those who study the mathematical sciences.
Nearly everyone is familiar with mathematics teachers and university professors in the mathematical and statistical sciences. This, however, may be the limit of one’s knowledge about what someone who studies mathematics or statistics can do as a career.
Careers in mathematics have received more notice in the press in recent years, and the job title “mathematician” has made the top of several lists of best professions.1. Nevertheless, information about what one can do with a background in mathematics is not widely known, despite the fact that in today’s economy much depends on mathematics, statistics, and computing. Indeed, whole companies have been founded on mathematical concepts, such as Google with its search engine.
Where do people trained in math/stat work?
Every student, no matter what the level of their academic background, eventually asks the question, what can I do with my degree? A common answer for students with degrees in the mathematical sciences is “teach mathematics” at some level. For students with a degree at the doctoral level the common answer is “find a position at a university and continue to conduct mathematical research.” Both of these options can certainly lead to satisfying careers. However, there are many other career choices ---ones that utilize training in the mathematical and statistical sciences--- that have an impact on solutions to real world problems.
People trained in the mathematical sciences work across the spectrum of businesses and industries. What makes many of the jobs they fill less obvious is that often they do not have “mathematics” or ”mathematician” or “statistician” in the title, even though training in the mathematical sciences is essential for the position.
There are career opportunities for students trained in the mathematical and statistical sciences in virtually every business sector.
Today, the mathematical sciences continue to provide a pathway to many career areas. We see increasing demand for people trained in data science – an interdisciplinary field that involves mathematics, statistics, and computer science. And as much more of our world has become quantified and digitized, mathematics has found its way into many new areas. Even motion picture production, with the increase in animation and digital special effects, now relies on mathematics and those trained in the field.
Mathematics Awareness Month 2015 provides profiles of people with degrees in the mathematical sciences who have found successful and rewarding careers outside of academia. These are just a small sample of the diverse and interesting careers driven by a background in the mathematical sciences.