8 Things About a Mathematician Career You Never Knew


What do mathematicians do? More than math problems

If you like numbers and data, you might want to consider becoming a mathematician. Here are 8 things you should know about this fascinating career.

Other Job Titles for Mathematicians

  • Agent-Based Modeler
  • Computational Scientist
  • Cryptographer
  • Cryptographic Vulnerability Analyst
  • Director of Quantitative Research
  • Emerging Solutions Executive, Image Scientist
  • Lead Simulation Modeling Engineer
  • Research Scientist

1. Their Future is Blindingly Bright.

In 2019 mathematicians had 2,630 jobs. It is one of the fastest-growing occupations through 2028 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 30 percent from 2018 to 2028.

More companies using statistical analysis to make better business is driving this growth. 

Mathematicians are a much smaller occupation, so only about  800 new jobs will be created over the next 10 years. 

Just take a moment and think about the amount of digital data that will be created during the next decade. 

Businesses will mathematicians to analyze the insane amount of information and data. 

In the science field, mathematicians and statisticians will be superstars in scientific research and development services and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industries.

Increased need for new treatments and technologies for the graying U.S. population will increase demand for math-minded people.

See Mathematician Jobs via Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics

2. They Can Work in Non-math Industries.

This profession comes up with new rules, theories, and concepts in mathematical practices such as algebra and geometry.

They also research for specific problems in the business, science, and engineering fields. They present their findings to various groups.

They work in education, marketing, psychology, sports and any industry that collects data. Government, healthcare, and research and development companies are popular places for mathematicians to land.

They also have job titles such as computer programmers or systems analysts. In finance, they are called quantitative analysts.

They are also known as data analysts and data scientists.

3. There is More Than one Type of Math.

Applied

Applied mathematicians use theories and techniques to solve practical problems.

They work with people in other occupations such as chemists to analyze the effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals.

As an applied mathematician, you may work with industrial designers to look at the aerodynamics of a new automobile.

Math is fundamental to so many industries, you can choose one that you really enjoy.

Theoretical

Theoretical mathematicians are more into finding the answers to problems not yet solved.

If you like exploring mathematical theories and pushing the boundaries of what could be, this might interest you as a career.

4. Their Native Habitat is an Office.

Mathematicians usually work in offices. They may work on teams with other professionals.

They typically work 40 hours a week with some overtime as needed.

5. They Need a Master’s Degree to Succeed.

Mathematicians should have a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics. However, some jobs are available for people who have a bachelor’s degree.

The good news is that the majority of colleges and universities have a bachelor’s degree program in mathematics.

They will likely have master’s and doctoral programs in applied mathematics or theoretical math.

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics will take 3-4 years to finish. The degree is usually a mix of applied and theoretical studies.

These courses might include analysis, algebra, geometry, and statistics and computation, calculus, linear algebra, abstract algebra and differential equations.

With a bachelor’s degree in math, you can be a mathematician or statistician for the federal government, an actuary or an operations research analyst.

Applied and theoretical math students need to have an in-depth understanding of calculus and differential equations.

6. The East and West Coast is Where They Study.

The best graduate programs in applied math programs according to U.S. News in 2018 were:

  • New York University
  • University of California – Los Angles
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Brown University
  • California Institute of Technology

Master’s programs give you a chance to specialize in areas such as computational science and scientific applications.

7. Math Skills Go Beyond Knowing Numbers

Here are a few of the top skills, in addition to mathematical skills, that you will need to develop if you want a career as a mathematician.

Analytical Skills

Mathematicians analyze large amounts of data. They must be able to identify and use the software that will help them analyze the data.

They must also know the best practices to preserve the integrity of the data and to make the most accurate conclusions from the information.

Communication Skills 

Mathematicians have to communicate their processes and findings to people who do not have an expert understanding of math.

8. Mathematician Make Moolah.

As of May 2019, the median annual wage for mathematicians was $105,030.

The lowest salaries were about $58,100, and the highest were more than $162,080.

2019 Median Salaries for Mathematicians by State

Location#
Employed
Median
Salary
District of
Columbia
60$126,290
Washington100$124,190
Virginia410$121,830
New Mexico60$120,490
Maryland180$118,190
New Jersey290$115,530
Illinois60$112,690
California550$104,680
New York100$102,150
Colorado60$98,030
Ohio30$91,040
Florida80$89,820
Pennsylvania50$86,030
Nevada40$70,260
Texas150$64,990
Michigan80$64,940
Massachusetts**$57,760
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 salary data

Is a Mathematician a Good Job for You?

O*NET Interests

If your O-NET Interest Profiler results listed investigative, conventional and artistic, a job as an mathematician could appeal to you. 

You can learn more about the free career test here. 

According to O*NET Interest Profiler categories, investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking.

These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. A mathematician would certainly check that box.

A secondary interest is conventional.

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas.

Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. Math is math in any language, the numbers and formulas give structure to this job.

Thirdly and much to the delight of creative thinkers, the job has a splash of artistic.

Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

“Pure mathematics is in its own way, the poetry of logical ideas.”

Albert Einstein

16 Personalities Match 

INTP

If your Meyers-Briggs personality type is INTP, a mathematician job is a must-have on your list of possible occupations. As an INTP you love patterns and coming up with new ways to solve the most complex problems.

INTPs are thinkers and tinkerers. They want to find efficiencies, better ways and the phrase “good enough” is not in their vocabulary.

Don’t know your personality type? You can take a free personality test at 16Personalities.

Soft Skills You Need to Be a Mathematician

Analytical Skills

You use mathematical techniques and models to analyze large amounts of data.

They must determine the appropriate software packages and understand computer programming languages to design and develop new techniques and models.

They must also be precise and accurate in their analysis.

Communication Skills

You must interact with, and propose solutions to, people who may not have extensive knowledge of mathematics.

Problem-solving Skills

You must devise new solutions to problems encountered by scientists or engineers.

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Job description and salary information are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mathematicians and Statisticians.

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Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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