The school year is a busy time for any high schooler, and it’s even more so if you’re a self-motivated planner who’s juggling the rigorous academics and full suite of extracurriculars that you’ll need to be a competitive college applicant. You might be enrolled in AP or honors coursework, you could be a leader in student government or a dedicated student athlete. Whatever the case may be, there’s no shortage of activities during the school year.
If you’re a student who’s interested in pursuing a career in math, the story is the no different. It’s likely that you are taking challenging math and science classes, juggling a math club or two, and participating in any other extracurriculars that make you tick. But when summer rolls around, how can you carry this momentum forward? After all the hard work you put in during the school year, you might be tempted to land on the couch for a 3-month Netflix binge. But don’t be fooled.
You can continue to build a strong college application and grow as a person over the summer, even while stepping back from your usual rigorous schedule. Read on for more information about a career in math and CollegeVine’s advice for how you prospective math majors can make the most of your summer vacation.
Is Math a Good Career Path?
Before you can really think about activities that might contribute to a future path in math, you should have a good understanding of what a math career actually looks like.
Right now, you probably spend a lot of time solving math problems from a book or, preferably, working together with peers to tackle more complex problems. In the real world, math becomes even more hands-on and engaging. And the good news doesn’t end there.
In 2016, CareerCast ranked mathematics as the most desirable career path. In fact, four of its top 10 jobs for 2016 were math-related, with the top ranked job being data scientist. These rankings are based on a number of factors including work environment, job stress, income potential, and hiring outlook. The high demand for data scientists and statisticians is expected to become even more pronounced in the near future due to an increasing emphasis on collecting and evaluating massive amounts of data in an increasingly digital world.
The popularity of math careers is also due in part to the breadth of possibilities it affords. It’s easy to think of math as an isolated skill set, carried out in cubicles with the company of a calculator. But math-based jobs actually require broad skill sets that, depending on the direction you go, could include communications, science or engineering, and even social sciences. Math is a valuable skill that can be applied in almost any discipline.
Some common career paths for math majors include:
Finances or Actuarial Science:
These jobs apply math and statistics to better understand financial investments and insurance. Insurance relies on a balance of probability, statistics, and economics, and students who like playing games of chance might enjoy learning more about it.
Tech jobs are always in demand. Computer scientists implement and apply computation to computer programming. These jobs will appeal to students who like experimenting with technology.
This is an exciting and expanding branch of computer science and math that involves the science of hiding data. These jobs are those of security analysts, security system developers, and even the people who develop password systems. You’ll like this line of work if you grew up playing spy.
This is another interdisciplinary field of study, merging biology and math to model natural and biological processes. The work includes epidemic modeling, population genetic studies, and more. If you’re fascinated by the expert scientists on The Walking Dead, this is the job for you.
This is one of the more common math jobs that is used by nearly any industry. Operations researchers apply mathematical methods to maximize or minimize things like costs or profits. A mathematician in this field is of value to any company that buys or sells products.
Of course, in order for math to continue its upward trajectory as a top career, we need to continue to produce top mathematicians. And this isn’t possible without great math teachers. Math enthusiasts who love communicating with and helping others should consider a career in academics.
So, are you sold on the math track yet? It’s clearly a diverse track that offers a little of something for everyone, and its long-term growth and job outlook are positive.
If you’re an aspiring math major who’s wondering how to make the most of the your summer break, read on.
So you love math, but don’t plan on becoming a mathematician any time soon. Naturally, you may be wondering what kind of degree you should pursue (other than a B.S. in mathematics) that would put your passion for and knowledge of math to good use.
It turns out there are many majors that may lack “math” in name, but that are still based on mathematical concepts and principles sure to excite any math enthusiast. Such majors can prepare students for a wide variety of exciting careers across several disciplines.
If you’re a math aficionado who doesn’t want to pursue a traditional mathematics degree, check out these five majors for math lovers (that aren’t math):
Behind every structure is at least one architect who made its construction a reality. Besides an imagination, understanding of policies and codes and knowledge of materials and building systems, architects must be proficient in math.
On a daily basis, architects use math to design blueprints that can be scaled accordingly into real structures, to analyze structural problems, and to understand the various shapes of design elements. As a result, architecture majors can expect to encounter algebra, calculus, linear programming, statistics and trigonometry in their studies.
Many students who like math also like science. If this is true for you, you may want to consider majoring in biology. From there, you could enter a career in areas such as academic research, environmental science, public health and human or veterinary medicine.
From accurately analyzing study results using statistics to correctly dosing medicine, many of these biology-based careers rely heavily on math. Bio majors are typically required to take algebra, calculus, geometry, statistics and trigonometry.
3. Computer science
Computer science is a large field encompassing several types of careers that all rely on math. Students who major in computer science typically find employment as researchers, software and web developers, database administrators, theorists, or inventors.
As such, those working in computer science use math to design software, write code, compute data, or perform some combination of all three. When pursuing a computer science degree, you can expect to study algebra, calculus, combinatorics, graph theory, ordinary differential equations, numerical methods, theory of analysis and trigonometry.
If you are good at math, chances are you are good with finances. And if that’s the case, you may make an excellent economics major. Besides working with money – in professions like accountant, actuary, auditor, or budget analyst – those with a B.A. in economics may work in diverse areas such as research, natural resource management, or education.
When employed in the economics field, you can expect to use math to illustrate and predict business cycles, collect and analyze data, and provide financial advice to businesses and organizations. As an economics major, you will take courses in algebra, calculus, game theory, mathematical economics, statistics and trigonometry.
By definition, engineering is the use of math and science to solve problems. This means engineers can be found across many fields, with some of the most popular fields being computer, biomedical, electrical, environmental, material and mechanical engineering.
Engineers may work in research, for the government, or in the private sector. No matter what engineering field you enter, the one constant is that you will rely on fundamental math and science principles in order to do your job. Engineering majors (independent of specialization) can expect to take courses in algebra, calculus, differential equations, geometry, statistics and trigonometry.
Erica Cirino is a contributing writer forVarsity Tutors, the leading curated marketplace for the top private tutors in the U.S. The company also builds mobile learning apps, online tutoring environments and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies.
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