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Articles on Mathematics:
   Major in Mathematics
   A future in Mathematics

Major in Mathematics

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.” ~Galileo Galilei

Did you know that 94% of American workers use some sort of math in their job? In fact, 33% of blue-collar workers commonly utilize algebra in their work. Surprisingly, video game developers and computer animators are in the 5% of careers that periodically tap into applied calculus! There is almost no industry untouched by mathematics. Whether government or finance or sports or transportation--everyone is looking for someone to provide economic productivity, complex data clarification, and technological efficiency. None of these things can be accomplished without a strong understanding of numbers and how they work on a practical level. Therefore, individuals with math degrees have high employment opportunity and strong marketability. In fact, over the next decade there is a 23% projected job increase for mathematics graduates, which is well above the national average of 7%. Clearly this competitive major is in high demand.

In today’s economically-driven world, being called a “math nerd” has become a rather endearing nickname, and being deemed a “number cruncher” is a high compliment. In addition to strong math proficiency, a mathematics major should possess other skills as well. Being logical, analytical, and having good problem-solving skills are imperative. It is also helpful to be a good communicator. In many math-related professions, you will need to not only work out detailed equations and formulas, but also apply them to real life situations and to express complicated data in understandable terms. It can be challenging for a math-minded individual to communicate clearly with someone who does not necessarily think in the same computational way.

So what classes can you look forward to taking in college? Obviously, there are the core math classes you might expect, including several levels of calculus. These will often be rounded out by courses in computer science, engineering, and the physical sciences. The upper-level math classes you’ll take vary greatly depending upon your school and also your future career goals. Often you can tailor your electives around the specific goals you have for the future and what you most need to learn for your desired career. Some examples of these include:

  • Statistics and Advanced Statistics
  • Number Theory
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Logic and Foundations
  • Differential Equations
  • Linear and Abstract Algebra

Once you obtain your degree, the sky’s the limit as far as career choices. Some graduates pursue employment in teaching fields, both elementary and secondary. Others seek out technology-based careers (computer programming, systems engineering or technician) while some branch out into the sciences (meteorology, for example). A mathematics degree may even open “backdoors” into fields like architecture or engineering. Some of the most popular career options for a mathematics major are:

  • Accounting
  • Banking or stockbroking 
  • Statistics
  • Research
  • Actuary
  • Analyst (data, budget, finance, energy, etc.) or economist
  • Financial planner

Four of the jobs listed directly above have been ranked in the list of “Top Ten Most Rewarding/Satisfying Careers” (based on job environment, stress level, outlook and income). If God has wired you with a math brain, then maybe His intent was for you to use it in a way that shines His glory as you delve into the endlessly complex and intricate “language” He Himself created. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31).