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Mathematics Overview - Preparation - Day In The Life - Application -
Earnings - Employment - Job Hunting Advice - Development - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations - Profiles of Mathematicians -
Mathematics PowerPoint - Mathematics Podcast

Mathematicians hold about 2,900 jobs in the United States. Many people with mathematical backgrounds also worked in other occupations. For example, there were about 54,800 jobs as postsecondary mathematical science teachers.

Many mathematicians work for the Federal Government, primarily in the U.S. Department of Defense which accounts for about 81 percent of the mathematicians employed by the Federal Government. Many of the other mathematicians employed by the Federal Government work for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In the private sector, major employers include scientific research and development services and management, scientific, and technical consulting services. Some mathematicians also work for software publishers, insurance companies, and in aerospace or pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Mathematicians work in every major sector of the economy: industry, business, government, and academia. These arenas are marked by very definite characteristics that will be important to consider as you explore options.

Consisting of manufacturing and consumer products companies, this sector is typically characterized by an emphasis on the bottom line. At companies like Boeing, Kodak, and Microsoft, mathematicians report that an appreciation for deadlines, a multiplicity of problems to solve, and the tangible impact of their work on a final product makes this sector personally rewarding.

Companies whose primary function is service-oriented, like consulting or financial analysis, fall into this sector. Business depends on profits and thus offers a mathematician a variety of problems at a challenging pace; however, its profitability is proportional to client satisfaction and therefore might require additional capabilities from its employees -- strong interpersonal and communication skills foremost among them.

The federal government includes organizations as diverse as the national labs, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Navy, each with disparate cultures. Despite variance in specific agencies, government work in general is distinguished by the necessity of operating within certain guidelines and procedures. The pace is often quick and the problems challenging. Salary, benefits, and promotions are likely to be dispensed in accordance with regulations.

A title is like the suit (or jeans, as the case may be) you wear to work. Underneath it all, you're still you. In the nonacademic world, mathematicians wear many different titles. They may be called Analysis Lead, Consultant, Design Engineer, Member of Technical Staff, or Section Head, but they function as mathematicians. Sample titles include:

Actuarial Scientist
Actuary Assistant
Air Pollution Meteorologist
Associate Consultant
Business Analyst
CAD Engineer
Contractor / Programmer
Cost Estimator
Cryptologic Mathematician
Customer Support Manager
Data Processing Consultant
Data Processing Consultant
Database Specialist
Field Inventory Asset Specialist
Financial Engineer
Intelligence Application Officer
Management Consultant
Manager of Financial Analysis
Market Strategy Analyst
Mathematical Software
 Programmer / Analyst
Mathematical Statistician
Media Specialist
Member of Technical Staff
Network Analyst
Operations Research Analyst
Performance Analyst
Pre-Sales Consultant
Project Scientist
Purchasing Agent
Research Assistant
Research Associate
Research Mathematician
Research Mathematician
Research Scientist
Research Statistician
Researcher / Software Design
Section Supervisor
Senior Consultant
Senior Engineer
Senior Structure Engineer
Software Analyst
Software Engineering Manager
Staff Mathematician
Support Scientist
Systems Analyst
Systems Engineer
Technical Consultant
Vice President

You may be surprised to find that your reasons for studying mathematics -- because it is your best subject, because you find the subject content interesting, because it is challenging, etc. -- are motivations shared by those in the field.

Some topics are more prevalent than others. Mathematical specialties include Modeling and Simulation, Numerical Methods/Analysis, Statistics, Probability, Engineering Analysis / Differential Equations, Operation Research, and Discrete Mathematics. This graph displays the percentage of mathematicians surveyed with Master's degrees or Ph.D.'s who mentioned mathematical specialties as a primary technical requirement of their positions; multiple mentions were allowed.

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association of America, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 Actuarial Science


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