If abundance in varying opportunities is what you seek, then getting mathematics education will provide you with them. The perks of being a mathematician include an infinite option of several careers in several unconventional areas.

As a mathematician, you will have an open choice of opting for either a teaching profession, a researcher, or other maths jobs in several fields such as engineering or banking, etc. Whatever path you adopt, pure mathematics along with mathematical concepts, procedure, rules, and theories will follow you, and you would need to apply them in solving the most common problems faced in several fields. You will need to develop problem-solving maths skills.

Before we start with the discussion of how to become a professional mathematician, let us dive into what exactly is a mathematician.

Someone whose area of expertise is mathematics is a mathematician.

This is pretty self-explanatory. But what most people miss are the key ingredients needed to become a professional mathematician.

To become a top-notch mathematician and to excel in this field, it is incumbent upon the mathematician to adopt a thought process capable of exploring abstract theoretical problems, applying the theories to solve the problems found in practical areas of economic, engineering, business, physics, and other related disciplines.

If you are not afraid to dream big and want to become a math prodigy and climb up the ladder of the career as a mathematician, then let go of your fears because if you consider yourself intelligent enough, you will only need to put in time and effort to become a brilliant professional in maths.

Before we jump into the specifics of becoming a maths professional and the know-how of maths education, let us discuss some of the abstract yet equally important things you need to outshine both your mathematics degree and career. Following are a bunch of tips you can adopt to polish your mathematical skills:

  • Learn how to think better because mathematics is simply a new, out-of-the-box way of thinking. It all boils down to reflective thinking, which prepares you for skills like complex analysis.
  • While trying to solve a mathematical problem, you need to go deeply into the concept or the actual problem and try to make sense out of it. Spend time on understanding the problem and not on deciding what method to apply on it.
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The Path To Careers Involving Mathematics Is Exciting

Pi, a mathematical constant, is written on the blackboard of a classroom
Math can be defined as the study of patterns, shapes, and of course, numbers. It has four branches, namely calculus, geometry, algebra, and statistics, and one reason why so many students prefer a career involving mathematics is that it offers numerous job opportunities (Source: Pixabay)

Embarking in one of the several careers involving mathematics can be an enriching and exciting journey.

This is because there are many different job opportunities in mathematics for recent graduates. Additionally, recruiters are always on the lookout for people with advanced mathematical skills.

However, specialization in the field can be categorized into two key groups: theoretical and practical. Wondering which group suits which career? We have the answers for you:

Students who want to focus on mathematics and philosophy should consider theoretical mathematics. On the other hand, the applied maths is the best option for those looking to work in engineering or physics.

Hence, if you're aiming to pursue careers in mathematics, consider these things first before getting started:

  • Do you have a keen interest in mathematics techniques, theories, and problems?
  • Do you possess analytical and rational thinking?
  • Do you boast problem-solving skills?
  • How well do you know probability, statistics, calculus, geometry, mathematical analysis, and linear algebra?
  • Do you know about the analytical ways and tools needed to solve the problem?

Therefore, if you exhibit all or some of these skills, you'll have an excellent career in mathematics. You will also have several options to change, pick, and choose jobs within the arithmetic space.

And to get these options, you must have a degree.

  • D.: For the highest paying jobs and academic positions in higher education institutes
  • Bachelors: if you're interested in practical maths careers and entry-level positions in a wide array of maths-based careers
  • Masters: Alongside the benefits of a bachelors degree, it is a prerequisite for various research-based jobs within public or private sectors

Learning Math At School

Your journey to become a mathematician starts long before you start an undergraduate degree. Your thought process is the number one key ingredient which you can start to polish as early as possible.

Starting with school, your first step to become a professional mathematician is to take several mathematics courses while in school. School maths will help you strengthen your base and build solid foundations. Some of the mathematics courses schools offer are:

  • Algebra
  • Statistics
  • Trigonometry
  • Geometry
  • Calculus

Other than these pure courses, you can also take courses such as:

  • Physics
  • Computer courses

This is because these courses apply mathematical skills in real-world scenarios. They will help you develop skills for data analysis, communication, and mathematical models. Taking courses related to computer science will help you learn about large data sets, matrices, or recursive calculations. Find maths revision help from maths tutors all over the US with Superprof.

Search for a good math tutor near me here.

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Computer Skills can open new doors (Photo Source: StockVault)

You will also learn the basic maths needed for complex mathematical concepts to optimize as well as create intricate algorithms. All in all, these courses will prepare you for your undergraduate degree.

Learning Math At University

The next step is to get yourself enrolled in a undergraduate program in maths. Bachelor's degree in maths train students on extremely crucial skills of mathematical reasoning such as logic, formal proof, generalization, and abstraction. The degree involves advanced mathematics subjects such as

  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Linear Algebra
  • Differential Equations
  • Calculus-II
  • Number theory
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Statistics and Probability

Third step in this journey to become a professional mathematician would be to take admission into a doctoral program. Some degrees might require you to complete a master's degree first.

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Go for a Master's in Maths if you plan to get a high-paying job (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Getting into a doctoral degree needs you to be highly competitive. Most schools offering these degrees require entrance test exams such as GRE or GMAT. Here is the list of things you might need to enhance your chances of getting selected in a doctoral program:

  • Letter of recommendation
  • Transcript
  • A Statement of purpose or (SOP)

There are some programs which need much more than GMAT scores and these documents. They might also require advanced courses in maths along with their own entry test exams.

It is also important for you to make a choice while opting for a doctoral program. This is because doctoral programs are divided into:

  • Theoretical
  • Applied

Overlap also exists between these two, to some extent. If you decide to opt for theoretical side of doctoral program, you would need to showcase your competence in the core classes of maths which usually include topology, geometry, analysis, and algebra.

In applied doctoral programs, mathematics-related classes such as economics, physics, astronomy, or other such fields are also needed along with the coursework of mathematics.

But regardless of the track you choose, your first two years in your doctoral program would require you to give your full time to your classes, seminars, and guest lectures by other mathematicians.

These doctoral programs start off with a year on basic courses and move towards more rigorous and selective courses in the coming years of the degree. You can select courses of your interest. Some of them might include the following:

  • Topology
  • Combinatorics
  • Functional Analysis
  • Homo-logy
  • Functional analysis

A qualification exam is required towards the end of your second year of the beginning of the third year. Qualification exams are usually written or oral or sometimes a combination of both. These exams are carefully designed to test your knowledge of advanced maths and the concepts and theories.

Passing the qualification exam then asks for you to select an advisor along with a dissertation topic. You will then spend the last three years of your degree writing and researching on this dissertation.

This will enable to pursue scholarships which will help you to contribute to the study of mathematics. The dissertation topic you choose, depends on your path of the doctoral degree, and it may be composed of the following:

  • It may be involving topics that discuss application of specific mathematical principles and concepts for finding solutions encountered in the other fields, for example, application of algebraic principles to biochemical reactions.
  • It might also involve new advanced researches to analyze some new concepts and new innovative tools for technology.

During your studies, get internships too! This will help you understand about the best jobs for professional mathematicians out there. Get into research projects in your final academic years. Be on a look out for job openings and opportunities of career in mathematics.

Hiring a maths tutor to help with GCSE maths revision could be the first step to become a professional Mathematician
The more knowledge you have, the higher your chances of success (Photo Source: Pixabay)

If you get free time, spend it to get online courses on side subjects such as Data science, Bio-statistics, mathematical physics, etc. This will help you in your thesis and will prepare you for getting a fellowship in mathematics too.

You might be wondering, now that you have gotten yourself enrolled in one of the programs, that what is the golden trait you must have in order to become successful in either a mathematical degree or a professional career. You also need to stay vigilant about those traits which might also hinder your success.

Unlike any other career, persistence is one important factor needed to outshine yourself in mathematics. You should remove the word "give up" from your dictionary because it is the first thing that will lead you to failure whenever something seems hard, especially in mathematics.

Now that we have discussed the basic steps to become a professional mathematician let us peek into the rules and requirements to make this journey more rewarding for you.

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The Golden "DP" Rule

You will face many situations during your preparation for becoming a mathematician where you will be stuck on a problem set. This is where most people panic and lose track of whatever they were doing. This leads to many short-term as well as long-term failures.

Whenever you find yourself in that situation, follow the "Don't Panic" (DP) rule and start thinking hard on it. If you cannot figure it out. Leave it and come back on it the other day. Keep coming back to the problem and keep brainstorming on it until you come up with something. This will help your brain grow and stretch.

Career Opportunities In The Field Of Mathematics

A student wearing a black t-shirt raises their hand in class
Want to know about the career opportunities in the field of mathematics? Well, mathematics is arguably one of the most sought-after STEM fields worldwide. Therefore, with your maths degree, you can enter into the following sectors: finance, accountancy, banking, actuaries, statistics, research, engineering, metrology, and of course, teaching (Source: Unsplash)

Want to know what career opportunities you have in the field of mathematics? Mathematical professionals are in high demand worldwide, no matter the type of industry.

Study mathematics, and you can have access to job opportunities in industries you never thought of, including specific fields like medicine and law.

Nevertheless, options for careers in mathematics are found within science, business, and tech-related industries, with mathematics graduates occupying positions such as actuary, technician, accountant, economist, market researcher, and statistician.

Here's a list of careers involving a mathematics degree, along with the necessary skills you'll require to succeed in the professional world:

Careers In Finance And Accountancy

Careers in finance and accountancy provide a wide range of choices for mathematics graduates across different sectors.

These specializations include positions such as:

  • Tax accountant
  • Auditor
  • Management accountant
  • Corporate advisor
  • Forensic accountant

Alongside a maths degree, you'll require additional professional qualifications if you want to be a chartered accountant.

Although, this won't be a problem if you start as a management trainee at an organization in this sector. Here, your employer will assist you in gaining the advanced certification and experience required for the role.

Banking Careers

Career opportunities in banking vary from investment banking to retail banking and more. Both these arenas handle financial assessment – private and public – with chances to pursue a specialization in:

  • Privatization
  • Lending
  • Initial Public Offerings (IPO)
  • Shares and bonds
  • Mergers & acquisitions

Furthermore, your responsibilities may include making new commercial opportunities, creating financial models to solve client's problems, and market research.

As a result, mathematics careers within the banking sector can be highly lucrative; however, expert financial qualifications are required for higher positions.

Actuarial Careers

Actuaries assess financial risk to advise and manage clients by merging risk analysis abilities with comprehensive knowledge of business and economics.

Primarily, they are charged with ensuring healthy investments for their clients while fulfilling business and commercial goals.

If you're a beginner in an actuary job, you may find yourself working with insurance and pensions, considerably low-risk fields.

This experience will be quite beneficial. It will arm you for a future where you may get a chance to operate in healthcare, investment, or banking.

Actuarial positions can be customer-facing and require an essential communication skill to communicate complicated analyses and data to non-specialists.

This is especially true if you find employment with insurance/pension companies and consultancies.

Statistician Careers

Statisticians are experts in quantitative measurements – the analysis, collation, presentation of quantitative data and statistics, and interpretation.

A statistician's expertise is needed in various sectors, including sports, finance, government, and healthcare.

You'll be responsible for collecting, arranging, and managing data through surveys, contextual analysis, and experiments.

In addition to that, you'll have to make reports and counsel colleagues/clients on available strategies. For instance, you will help companies make sound economic decisions to advance business goals.

Being an expert statistician, you must have proficient analytical abilities and solid IT and communication skills.

Careers In Research And Academia

Careers in research and academia are extremely popular among maths graduates. This field appeals to those with an unrivaled knowledge of theories, applications, and discoveries.

Additionally, they must also exhibit the desire to emulate or surpass the works of some of history's greatest mathematical brains.

Therefore, research and academic-based jobs in mathematics can be extraordinarily wide-ranging and will largely depend on areas you want to master.

A lot of the careers are based in university departments. However, long-time academics are also frequently engaged in:

  • Publishing
  • Writing
  • Curating specialist periodicals and journals
  • Assisting with textbook publications

Others

Other common mathematics careers include but are not limited to:

  • Operational research
  • Logistics
  • Intelligence analysis
  • Market research
  • System analysis
  • Management consultancy
  • Computer programming
  • Software engineering
  • Scientist

Less Common Careers Involving Mathematics

Here are a few less typical careers that you can pursue with a maths degree:

Engineering

Though the easy and simple way to join the engineering field is through a degree in engineering, you can also do so with a mathematics degree in specialist positions.

Mathematics graduates can help you solve physical, real-life troubles and can easily be found operating in aeronautical, structural, mechanical, and other engineering fields.

With that being said, careers in engineering often need particular knowledge, which you may not have covered in a dedicated mathematics degree.

Hence, work experience and engineering internships can help you if you seriously want to ensure better employability.

Meteorology

People have a misconception that meteorologists only forecast the weather. However, that assessment is not true! In fact, meteorology is unquestionably important.

The position involves examining weather conditions through data gathered using radars, satellite images (placed throughout the world), weather stations, and remote sensors to understand weather shifts.

To be a successful meteorologist, you'll require exceptional IT abilities with robust expertise in interpreting and analyzing complex mathematical data.

Teaching

Apart from academic positions focused on teaching, you can also get into teaching.

We've all experienced school ourselves or through pop culture; hence, we know of the importance placed on math. It is a top priority within secondary and primary school systems.

As a result, math teachers are always in high demand. For schools that may not need another full-time math teacher, there are probably vacancies for substitute positions – there is always a need!

However, to teach in the US, you'll need formal teaching qualifications. You can gain this qualification within a year or so, and it is mostly subsidized by governments.

On the other hand, to teach at the university level, you'll need a postgraduate degree and that too in the relevant specialization.

Also, if you pick teaching as a profession, you can get a chance to continue your academic research.

Some Essential Skills You Need For A Successful Career In Mathematics

A meeting of the minds, facilitated by the latest technology
Most of the time, careers involving mathematics do not only require computation skills but a whole range of other traits. Some of these skills that businesses and other sectors require include effective communication skills, active learning abilities, system analysis expertise, decision-making skills, and teamwork skills (Source: Unsplash)

Given the importance and contributions of careers involving mathematics, employees working in these areas should be highly trained – not just in doing calculations.

Here are a few skills you need to increase your odds of success:

Active Learning Abilities

People working in math-related professions consume massive amounts of detailed information daily to:

  • Make theories
  • Provide guidance
  • Seek solutions

hence, it is important to display active learning abilities. They help absorb useful, up-to-date information about various issues and data that affect their industries.

Communication Skills

Though managing numbers is central to a math career, it Is hard. Hence, to make yourself a better fit for this competitive sphere, you can brush up on side skills, such as communication.

In other words, written and verbal communications, in addition to mathematical skills, can enhance your profile tenfold!

Whether you're communicating with a stranger or a colleague, being a math expert, you should know how to create verbal and written messages that a particular audience may understand.

Decision-Making Skills

Employees are frequently responsible for judgment calls, which affect their customers. As a result, people depend on their skills and talent to understand detailed information.

This calls for strong decision-making abilities, which enable them to work as reliable advocates for their clients.

System Analysis Abilities

This skill involves finding out how different systems operate and change under certain circumstances. It can enable professionals to understand the effects of a rapidly-changing world.

The realms of technology, finance, and science can affect their operations. Therefore, boasting an understanding of systems can provide clarity within those specific fields.

Teamwork Skills

For those not interested in the field, a career in math sounds like the most boring, solitary, and lonely professional future. But, in fact, mathematics career paths involve a good deal of cooperation.

To seek solutions to mathematical and technological problems, employees have to work together as a team, considering the broader perspective in mind and how the work they do influence each other.

Understand How To Own Maths

Just like a computer code, mathematics is sequential. Memorizing the concepts and formulas will help short term, but for long term, memorization just doesn't work. You need to ask a lot of question about a concept. How and why it works? How and where can you apply it? This will enable you to retain the information for a long, long time, and you wouldn't need to jump into your books whenever you need to reuse them somewhere.

"Practice makes a man perfect"

Almost all of us have heard this at some point in our lives. And this phrase seems more applicable on mathematics than on any other areas. Want to become adept in mathematics? Then practice all you can, and practice hard. Get into the best possible tune you could. The more you practice, the more you excel.

Talk about becoming a stellar mathematician only if you are passionate about it. Learn how to stay motivated. Stay curious and keep questioning how is a problem solved and what were the causes of a great discovery.

If you got skills and a burning passion in you, then you are bound to succeed as a mathematician but don't forget that there is always an online math tutor at hand if needed. Professionalism will come to you through experience. Combine both, and you are good to go! And Roger Bacon also emphasized the importance of loving and adopting mathematics as follows:

"For the things of this world cannot be made known without a knowledge of mathematics."

Join the discussion: what are the job prospects for math students today?

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