What Are the Different Types of Mathematics Career Opportunities?

Daniel Liden

There is a wide range of mathematics career opportunities in fields as diverse as education, engineering, military, and social sciences. Many modern fields rely on a degree of accuracy and precision that can only be accomplished through mathematical work while many others rely on the compilation and analysis of statistics. As such, there are many mathematics career opportunities for those who are skilled in a variety of facets of mathematics. Even some careers that are not primarily based in mathematics, such as computer science, biomedical research, and environmental science occasionally offer positions for mathematically inclined individuals. Mathematics career opportunities beyond "pure" academic mathematics are often interesting because they provide specific real-world problems for people with mathematics skills to work to solve.

Scientific fields like chemistry and physics make extensive use of applied mathematics.
Scientific fields like chemistry and physics make extensive use of applied mathematics.

Many individuals who primarily studied mathematics during their higher education favor mathematics career opportunities based in academia. Such careers tend to involve conducting and publishing research regarding problems and methods that are of interest to the mathematical academic community. Those who pursue mathematics career opportunities in academia are also generally expected to teach several classes each year. This career path is good for those who are primarily interested in mathematics in and of itself rather than its application to other fields and problems. This path may also offer the opportunity to work in a variety of fields such as physics, economics, and computer science over the course of one's academic career.

Other people pursue mathematics career opportunities that have particular goals beyond simply advancing the field itself. Many people, for instance, choose to study economics as well as mathematics in order to go into a finance-related career. Others are more interested in applying mathematics to achieving a greater understanding of the workings of the world. Scientific fields such as chemistry and physics are great for this, as there are many unsolved mathematical issues in both fields. Such mathematics career opportunities are most appropriate for people who are skilled at mathematics but who are interested in broader conceptual problems.

Still other mathematics career opportunities primarily involve solving specific practical problems, such as plotting flight trajectories or making engineering-related measurements. Fields such as aeronautics, engineering, telecommunications, and optics all tend to involve a substantial amount of mathematical work. Mathematicians can find profit and interesting and varied project-based work in such careers. They may also get the opportunity to learn non-mathematical skills relevant to the particular fields in which they choose to work.

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