Okay. So what can you do with a degree in mathematics? Actually, just about anything. No really, we mean it.

**Studying mathematics seriously** prepares you for almost any
career
(not just high-school or college teaching or pure mathematics
research). Here
are some links to check out which support this theme with actual
data and
reasoning:

- We Use Math, declares the BYU Math department, and gives a pile of career profiles. In January 2024 a faculty member summarized current common careers for mathematics students.
- Why Math? asks Duke University---and then provides answers about careers.
- Why major in Mathematics? asks the University of Georgia---and then provides answers.
- Careerbuilder.com explained Why It Pays to Be a Math Geek.
- BusinessWeek said in January 2006 that Math Will Rock Your World.

For pretty much any list you can make of aspects you'd like in a job (dress up? just jeans? work with people? work on your own? etc.), there's some mathematical career that's right for you. One of the reasons that mathematically-trained people are needed in almost every field is that we are known for our excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

According to multiple ratings, many of the most desirable careers are technical in nature and require some expertise in the mathematical sciences:

- The CareerCast 2021 ratings included 5 mathematical sciences jobs within the top 10.
- The Jobs Rated Almanac by Les Krantz in 2002 had mathematical sciences in best overall jobs and best working environment.
- Three top jobs on the 2009 Jobs Rated Almanac best list were mathematician, actuary, and statistician---the study of mathematics achieved a trifecta!

**Some of the career opportunities available to a major in
mathematics
include:**

**Actuarial Mathematics** -- The application of
mathematics,
particularly probability and statistics, to the insurance
industry. For more
info, check out Be An
Actuary, which
is supported and maintained by the actuarial professional
societies and some
major employers. The Princeton Review has an Actuarial
Career
Profile. Here is also an actuarial job recruiting site
and an England actuarial job posting site and a European actuarial
info site and
an actuarial info and jobs
site.
**
**A related career to that of an

**Applied Mathematics** -- Often this means working
on problems
in physics, chemistry, geology, and engineering from a
mathematical
perspective. There are seemingly endless possibilities, ranging
from being a
**climate analyst** who models long-term changes in
global weather
to working as a **forensic analyst** who
investigates data
collected at crime scenes to being a **population ecologist**
who
works to prevent species from becoming endangered. For more info,
check the
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics' career site, especially
their pages on
Thinking of a
Career in
Applied Mathematics?. Most government jobs, such as with Sandia, Argonne, or Oak
Ridge National Labs, NASA,
or the Jet Propulsion Lab,
NIST, or the Dept. of Agriculture are within
applied
mathematics. Some positions at the National
Security
Agency are applied mathematics and some are pure
mathematics.
Courses in mathematical modeling are helpful in
preparing for a
career in applied mathematics.

**Biomathematics -- **The application of
mathematics in the
health sciences. It's an up-and-coming field, and has been a big
trend within mathematics in recent years; it even has its own professional organization. Biomathematics includes bioinformatics, a sort of
cs/math/biology
hybrid field. The Bioinformatics Organization has job listings in
bioinformatics.
There's plenty of information at colorbasepair.

**Biostatistics** -- The application of
statistics in the health sciences. Here are the ASA
and Ohio State
and UWash and George Washington
biostatistics
careers pages.

**Computer Science** -- This is a field on its own, with lots of research subfields that are almost indistinguishable from mathematics.
One of
the mathiest practical parts is **graphics and animation**.
Here, a
great example is Pixar, where employees publish research
papers involving
things like using differential equations to make sure animated
clothing doesn't
intersect itself. Another especially mathy part is the
**cryptography** involved in **network
security**; think e-commerce and
mathematical algorithms
like RSA and Rijndael. Here's a detailed
overview of
cryptography for networks from Gary Kessler. A high level of
mathematical
ability and background is needed. Consider a double major.

**Financial Mathematics (or Mathematical Finance, also
known as
Quantitative Finance)** -- Mathematics used on Wall
Street, for mortgage
backing, financial derivatives, and stock market analysis.
Sometimes people in
this profession are referred to as "quants." Stony Brook has excellent
information. Here's one set of book
lists and another set of book lists.
There are lots of professional master's programs
(see google
and google).
There are plenty of mathematics graduates who are
**traders**, working with **stocks**,
**commodities**, or with **foreign exchange**.

**Knitwear** -- Higher mathematics is rarely used directly in
the knitwear industry, but the types of abstraction and rigorous
thinking in which mathematicians are trained are used all the
time. Kate Atherley
is a technical editor of knitting patterns. Sandy
Black is a professor of knitwear design (interview). Lynne Barr
(interview)
creates technically innovative designs. Or, do it all: Amy
Herzog has dual careers as knitwear designer
and cybersecurity expert (here are two older papers).

**Law or Medicine** -- A major in mathematics is a
good
preparation for law or medical school. Here are a law
testimonial and a
medicine testimonial.

**Music** -- It's not a common or easy career, but
you can do
it; witness Jennifer Parkin (Ayria),
who
earned her math degree from UWaterloo. Straddling the math/music line are Carl
McTague, Ph.D. mathematician and composer, and Kit
Armstrong, professional composer and pianist with a master's degree in mathematics.

**Operations Research** -- The application of
mathematics to
problems of optimization and decision-making, especially for
large-scale or complex problems and
often in the field of business. In other words, OR
people attack every practical problem you've ever thought of, from
economic impact of airline safety measures to relocating
endangered species of plants. The discipline is sometimes
called
Management Science or Industrial Engineering. For more info,
check
out What are Operations Research and Analytics? and What O.R. Is and the
INFORMS
Career FAQ on Is a Career in O.R. and Analytics Right for You? and the US News best-jobs description of a career as an Operations Research Analyst.

**Public Health and Epidemiology** -- Epidemiologists
study the spread of diseases
and model how to respond to epidemics. A basic introduction to
mathematical
epidemiology can be found in Chapter 1 of *Calculus
in
Context*. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention employ statisticians and
mathematicians to model disease and study preventions and
interventions. Here are two descriptions of public health informatics.

**Public Policy** -- A mathematics degree can lead
to advisory
positions in educational and/or science policy as well as work in
quantitative
public policy. Gillian
Brunet
used her mathematics major to work in public policy (before going on to graduate school in economics). Here is the program for an AMS Special Session on Mathematics and Public Policy. A
master's
degree in public policy is useful for a public policy career (see google to find programs).

**Research Mathematics** -- The study of mathematics
for its
own sake. Just about any mathematics faculty member will be more
than happy to
chat with you about this. As a career, this almost always requires
graduate
school; to investigate the possibilities, think about doing
something during the
summer.

**Statistics** -- The study of methods for
collecting,
classifying, analyzing and making inferences from data. There are
*tons*
of jobs in statistics; here is a page similar to this one, but about statistics careers. For more info, check the Career Center at the
American Statistical Association's website. Here are a couple of
statistics job
sites... ASA jobweb, statsjobs.com ...

**Teaching** -- At all levels. Here is EducationWorld's
state
certification listing and edX's Certification Map.
To teach at
the community college level, you should get a Master's degree in
mathematics or
a Master of Arts in Teaching; to teach at the college level, you
should get a
Ph.D. (in mathematics, mathematics education, applied mathematics,
or
statistics).

**Technical Writing** -- This includes everything
from science
reporting for periodicals to writing documentation for computer
software to
editing textbooks. For more info, check out Getting Started
in Science
Writing or How to Become a
Technical Writer.
Also check out this mini-biography of Allyn
Jackson
(scroll down), who used to be a technical writer with the American
Mathematical
Society. (Not in the mini-bio: she's trained in modern dance as
well...) See also Erica Klarreich, Dana Mackenzie (bio here), and Evelyn Lamb.

**More career options** are listed at Duane Kouba's
Mathematics-Related
Professions site.

**For examples of career paths and advice from
professionals in many
of the above fields (and more!)**, check out Career Profiles
(Part of the
AMS-MAA-SIAM Mathematical Sciences Career Information Project)

**Advice on preparing for jobs in industry or the business world:**

- from a 2016 SIAM panel
- Achieve programming proficiency in C, Python, or MATLAB. (Such programming is needed to demonstrate and test feasibility.)
- Take computer science courses.
- Take enough statistics to be able to model data, because mathematicians often work with data scientists.

- (from a
panelist at the 2006 Joint Mathematics Meetings who is a
consultant of some
sort and whose name I didn't catch)
- People don't know why they should hire mathematicians; be useful as well as smart.
- Know how to code, using C++ or the equivalent. You will need to deliver not just a solution, but an implementation.
- Take probability and statistics.
- You'll need to learn new mathematics regularly and quickly.
- You'll need to learn the fields of your teammates/clients so you can help them (for example, one needs to learn some chemistry to work with the pharmaceutical industry).

**If you're looking for a job**, note that many position titles appropriate for mathematics graduates end with the word**Analyst**.

**What about Graduate School? Go here for all the info you need.****Books:***Great Jobs for Math Majors*(review)

*She Does Math*(review)

*101 Careers in Mathematics***Links to More Mathematics Career Information:**http://www.math-jobs.com/ (what more can one say?)

PhDs.org Science, Math, and Engineering Career Resources

The Association for Women in Mathematics maintains a Career Resources page

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for Mathematicians and Statisticians and Math Occupations more generally.

Ask questions at the Art of Problem Solving's Careers in Mathematics Forum

*Latest update January 2024. This page was originally developed for the Xavier University Math/CS Department (more than two decades ago!) but has since been substantially revised*.

Michael Dorff note posted on MAA Connect, January 19, 2024; some links added.

I co-direct PIC Math [ed.: Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences] and I run a "Careers in Math" speaker series at my university in which we bring in mathematicians who work in BIG (business, industry, and government). So, I have talked to a lot of recruiters from companies that hire math majors. Some of the most common careers for mathematics students include:

- Analyst or data scientist: Data scientists collect, clean, and analyze large data sets to see patterns, make data-informed decisions, determine whether proposed changes are statistically significant, and help improve efficiency and productivity. Mathematics, statistics, and computer science are fundamentals in data science. Examples of companies that hire data scientists include large tech companies such as Google, professional sport teams, government agencies, and National Labs.
- Software engineer: Examples of companies that hire them: FAST Enterprises, Epic , Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon Lab 126, Amazon Web Services, IBM.
- Financial analyst: Examples of companies that hire them: Goldman Sachs, Jane Street, Ernst & Young, Morgan Stanley, Capital One, RBS Global Banking, Accenture.
- Technology consultant: Examples of companies that hire them: Tech firms such as aerospace (e.g., Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin), General Dynamics
- Operations researcher: They are used by the transportation industry, telecommunications, hospitals, manufacturers, governments, National Labs, Google, UPS, etc.
- Scientist: Examples of companies that hire them: National labs such as Nevada National Security Site,
- Medical scientist: Examples of companies that hire them: Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Pharsight Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Bayer
- Computer graphics imaging: They work on movies and video games.
- Actuary: Examples of companies that hire them: Insurance companies. TransAmerica, Cigna
- Other careers include business management, cyber security, consulting, engineering, law, government, military, research, marketing, sports, and statistics.

Such jobs can often be found on web job search sites and also by signing up to get email announcements about jobs from national labs and agencies. Also, most of these jobs do not use the word "mathematician." Instead, they use keywords such as analyst, data, engineer, researcher, scientist, finance, tech, consultant, etc.

Many of these companies hold math majors in very high regard. Some specific attributes that make a math student desirable include:

- They are critical thinkers
- They are persistent problem solvers
- They pay attention to details.
- They are good at learning new things on their own.
- They are good at taking a complicated problem, breaking it into smaller pieces, solving those pieces, and then reassembling them to solve the original problem.

Attributes that make a math student more hireable

- Good communication skills such as being able to talk to people with different backgrounds, being able to explain complicated ideas clearly and briefly
- Experience coding
- Summer internships and undergraduate research on unsolved problems