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Mathematics is not the most attractive subject in the world for the majority of students. Whether you’re looking at a degree in math as a first-time student in your teenage years, or whether you’re looking at it as an adult who wants to expand their horizons and add to their range of qualifications, it’s a hard subject to fall in love with. It’s complicated, it’s difficult, it requires more thought and concentration than almost any other subject you could think of, and much of it is theoretical. Math is hard work. That’s why so many people are so bad at it. Some people are apparently even born that way!
Aside from the difficulty of math as a degree, some people are put off the idea of pursuing a degree in it because they struggle to imagine where they could put that degree to good use. The purpose if any degree is, after all, to improve your prospects of earning money and make yourself more desirable to an employee, or more useful as an asset to anyone who wants to utilize your skills. If you have a degree in computer programming, your career track is obvious. The same can be said of degrees in business management, medicine, or sports science. With math, it’s not so obvious.
We’re here today to bang the drum for math as a career-enabling subject. There are many things you can do with a mathematics qualification that you wouldn’t be able to do without one, and they’re high-earning, prestigious jobs of the kind that anyone would be proud to have. Check out these options and consider whether any of them appeal to you.
If you’re enthusiastic about math, you understand math, and you can teach math, you have a ready-made career waiting to go. There’s a huge teacher shortage almost everywhere in the western world at the moment, and especially in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The moment you’re qualified, you’ll find yourself with plenty of offers to come and share your skills if such an idea appeals to you.
Although not every school student loves math the way you did, you can rest assured that at least some of them will. Those students need the same attention and development as you did to nurture their talents and feed their enthusiasm. If that’s you, and you think you can cope with the demands of controlling a classroom, you could be on $60K a year as a new teacher and up to $90K per year when you’re experienced.
Some people create mathematical models for their own amusement and entertainment. You might even be one of them, and that’s fine. What you might not realize, though, is that there are whole industries that need mathematical modelers, and they’ll pay you handsomely if you can fulfill their vacancies. Those vacancies exist in engineering, in research, in animation, but perhaps most of all in the world of casinos.
There’s been an explosion in popularity of web-based UK slots in recent years, with online slots websites in particular operating within a market worth tens of billions of dollars every year. The logic and mathematics that go into creating an online slots game are incredibly complicated and have to be watertight to ensure that an individual online slots game doesn’t pay out to players any more or less often than it should do. It’s a business-critical role, and so it’s not unreasonable for you to command a six-figure salary if you can do it well.
From an outsider’s perspective, the world of high-end finance is a bear pit. It’s all ‘buy low,’ ‘sell high,’ take risks, and reap the rewards. If it were that simple, though, everybody would be at it, and the world would constantly be bouncing between boom periods and recessions. Predicting the behavior of stocks, shares, and trades is a fine art – and it’s a fine art that’s underpinned by the skills of excellent mathematicians.
When you remove the dollar, pound, yen, or other currency signs from the matter, all financial analysts really do is work with numbers and spot patterns. They then use those patterns to predict movements and forecast how action ‘x’ might impact stock ‘y.’ If you’re a mathematician, that’s second nature to you. You might even consider it easy – but very few people can do it! $80,000 per year at entry level as a financial analyst for a big firm is the minimum you should expect in return for your services.
What attracted you to mathematics in the first place is probably the same thing that puts most people off it – a love of numbers, patterns, calculations, and records. Where most people see numbers, you see trends. Where most people see problems, you see paths to a solution. That’s what separates you from the crowd, and makes you a fantastic candidate to become a statistician.
Almost every major industry you can think of requires statisticians. Statisticians measure footfall and passenger numbers of transport routes, and recommends the opening and closure of those routes, or even business cases for creating new ones. Statisticians track the spread of a virus or identify potential holes in care and medicine provision. They’re the people who help to ensure that people and objects are where they need to be before they’re needed – and they make around $90K per year because of it.
We’ve all heard about Google, Facebook, and other huge technology companies using algorithms, but how many of us actually understand what those algorithms are, or what they do? Actually, you probably do because you’re a mathematician, and algorithms are your bread and butter. Those algorithms have been developed over years and become more sophisticated all the time, but they still need assistance with developing and creation. That’s where you come in.
An algorithm engineer is a person who tells a computer program or even a piece of computer hardware what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Algorithms tell Google how to rank search results, but they also tell a self-driving car when to start, stop, turn left, and turn right. Algorithms are almost like the base code to the known universe – and they’re written by people like you, earning up to $150,000 per year or perhaps even more. A degree in math isn’t a limitation – it’s a key to the door of a world of employment and opportunity that many people don’t even know exists. If you have the skills, determination, and patience to pursue a degree in math, the rewards are there to be claimed. We hope that this article has increased your resolve to take the challenge on.