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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:
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:
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).
By Amber Gragert
Albert Einstein once said, "Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas." His perspective is as true today as it was then.
Mathematics is the language of numbers. Anyone with a love and affinity for its clarity and the satisfaction of knowing without a doubt when you have a right answer, you are likely hard wired as a logical thinker - a natural match as a mathematics major. Learning to speak and write using symbols imbedded with meaning is akin to learning any other language. Math majors become fluent in the language of numbers and problem solve using mathematic equations, concepts and principles. This is a highly regarded skill in today's job market.
Majoring in mathematics is a great way to prepare for a variety of jobs. Today, employers are all but desperate to find applicants that have backgrounds in mathematics. The reason for this is their typical stellar problem-solving skills and diligent, versatile, and innovative knowledge along with their tendency toward organized personalities. Mix in analytical skills and this perfect storm of qualities all dovetail neatly with what you will be taught during college.
With years of mathematics and statistical coursework under your metaphorical belt, it should go without saying how marketable your skills are, and will be, in the job market. Some of the top highest earning and fastest growing jobs in the country are S.T.E.M. positions. That trend only solidifies the fact that a math degree holds a huge amount value. We now have a highly data-driven market, one that favors those with an advanced analytical, problem solving, and statistical evaluation skill set. Those with a mathematics degree hold those very keys. If mathematics is directly related to the core of any business, or not, every business has a need for someone who knows the language of mathematics.
If you really want to raise your game, you would be wise to minor, or at least take supplemental classes, in computer science. More and more mathematics overlaps computer science, so having a working knowledge in that area is hugely marketable. An understanding of statistics - the ability to calculate, understand, and work with statistical information, will give you an edge when your resume sits on a stack of others. Even if it is not a passion of yours, having the experience of some computer science and statistical skills, will set you above the rest.
Most math majors will not become "mathematicians" but math degrees are still popular among aspiring engineers, teachers, scientists and technology professionals alike. With an algorithm behind every social media post, our world runs as much on the foundation of numbers as it does words. By becoming proficient in numerical literacy, you can find an array of opportunities for jobs even right out of school. The more a student can connect their theoretical studies to solving real-world problems, the more successful they will be at finding jobs upon graduating.