If you are fascinated by all things numerical then look no further than mathematics for a viable major. Most lists of top-rated jobs are heavily populated with careers that can be accessed with a math major.
All sectors of the economy have become increasingly more concerned with outcomes; the quantitative measurement of performance by-products, organizations, and individuals has become a dominant trend.
Skills You Develop as a Math Major
Mathematics majors learn to think analytically, solve problems and justify solutions with quantitative data. They can identify patterns and distinguish between relevant and extraneous data. Math majors have the discipline and perseverance to puzzle over complex problems until they find solutions. (See below for a list of top skills for math majors.)
Dynamic fields like scientific research, marketing research, engineering, finance, biotechnology and computer technology all have a strong foundation in mathematics.
Consequently, mathematics majors are in high demand in some of the most vibrant sectors of the economy. In addition, a multitude of options for graduate or professional school training exists for mathematics majors who later choose to transition away from jobs that are primarily quantitative in nature.
Your final decision about a career as a mathematics major will be influenced by your individual interests, skills, and values, but here are some promising options for your consideration.
Actuaries are powerful players in the insurance industry since they have the skills required to determine the probability of insurable events like fires, deaths, illnesses and business failures. Like mathematics majors, they must weigh a variety of complex factors in order to formulate the structure and pricing of insurance policies.
Actuaries often use spreadsheets, graphs, charts and statistical software to communicate the results of their analyses to other corporate leaders.
Statisticians help marketers, scientists, sports teams, government agencies and political candidates to interpret data critical to their operation. They design surveys and other research instruments so that they yield reliable and valid sets of data.
Statisticians, like mathematics majors, solve problems using numbers and help their organization to make sound decisions based on collected usable data.
Operations Research Analysts
Operations Research Analysts study production, logistics, sales and other areas of operations with an eye toward solving problems, creating efficiencies and improving performance. They collect data from a variety of sources including employees, databases, and observations of operations. Operations Analysts conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses of this data. They organize and present their findings in ways that will inform the decisions of managers in critical areas of operation.
Financial analysts research companies, industries, stocks, bonds and other investment vehicles for financially oriented companies like banks, insurance companies, and investment firms. They often apply complex mathematical models to estimate future earnings, valuations and market trends.
Financial analysts also help other corporations to solve financial problems and gather financial data essential for decisions about their operations.
Business analysts study problems for organizations and propose remedies. They often work for consulting firms who are hired by corporations to provide solutions to problems or recommendations for enhancements of their operations. Many business analysts evaluate how computer technology is being applied to various businesses and make recommendations for alternative configurations.
Business analysts must be capable of presenters and often use tools familiar to mathematics majors such as spreadsheets, charts, and graphs to facilitate their presentations.
Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts assess the viability of products and services. They help companies decide whether to introduce, modify or expand the manufacturing of products or offering of services. Market researchers design surveys or research models to gather data and simulate consumer responses to products/surveys. They conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data and present their findings to marketing managers.
Marketing research analysts work for consumer and business products/services companies as well as specialized consulting firms or advertising agencies.
Accountants, like mathematics majors, must be able to think in numbers. They organize and analyze financial statements, set up systems for compliance, plan for taxes and oversee audits.
Most states have adopted the 150-credit requirement for Certified Public Accountants. With this development, one viable option for prospective accountants is to major in mathematics, perhaps with a minor in business or accounting. Later you can complete graduate work in accounting to finish up the credit requirement. This combination of mathematics and business training will enable accountants to take on complex financial analyses and leadership positions within business and industry.
Insurance underwriters evaluate applications for insurance and assess the risk factors presented by clients. They must be able to interpret actuarial data, quantify the level of risk represented by the client's profile and calculate the appropriate premium for clients. Underwriters must also figure out an appropriate level of coverage given risk factors and the customer's ability to pay.
Insurance underwriters utilize computer software to conduct their assessments and present findings to insurance agents who ultimately sell policies.
Digital analysts help companies and clients to optimize the use of the web to improve or expand the organization's impact through the internet. The analyst research, quantify and report on website activity and trends. Digital analysts recommend the best mix of web media to promote products and services to targeted demographic groups.
Digital analysts use both quantitative and qualitative analytics to conduct their assessments and to make recommendations on strategies for enhancing internet operations.
Math teachers at the high school level are in higher demand than teachers for many other disciplines. Mathematics teachers plan lessons, teach and tutor students, correct assignments and advise student groups or coach athletic teams. Teaching allows the mathematics major to apply broad-based subject knowledge within a highly interactive, helping role.
Math Major Skills
Here's a list of the skills that employers seek when hiring Mathematics majors. Highlight the skills you acquired during your studies, internships, and jobs held during college in your cover letters, resume and job applications.
- Abstracting General Principles from Examples
- Advanced Numeracy
- Advanced Quantitative
- Applying Mathematical Principles to Real-World Problems
- Applying Numbers Theory to Cryptography
- Calculating the Area, Circumference, and Perimeter of Various Geometric Fields
- Computing Limits and Integrals
- Constructing Real Numbers
- Constructing Valid Arguments
- Creating Charts and Graphs
- Creating Computer Programs
- Critical Thinking
- Detail Orientation
- Developing Efficient Algorithms
- Distinguishing a Coherent Statement from a False One
- Logical Reasoning
- Logical Thinking
- Making Vague Ideas Precise Using Mathematics
- Managing Stress
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Modeling Physical Phenomenon
- Note Taking
- Predicting Outcomes
- Quantifying a Set of Data
- Solving Quadratic Equations
- Testing Hypotheses
- Time Management
- Verbal Communication
- Writing Proofs