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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With a Math Degree?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-many-ply? dept.

Math 416

First time accepted submitter badmojo17 writes "After achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a public school math teacher, my wife has found the profession to be much more frustrating than she ever expected. She could deal with having a group of disrespectful criminals as students if she had competent administrators supporting her, but the sad truth is that her administration causes more problems on a daily basis than her students do. Our question is this: what other professions are open to a bright young woman with a bachelor's degree in math and a master's degree in education? Without further education, what types of positions or companies might be interested in her as an employee?"

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Time to become an entrepreneur (0)

Pirulo (621010) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188387)

Worst case scenario she can say she tried.

Re:Time to become an entrepreneur (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40189045)

To be more specific, high-class hooker job pays better than a teaching job, is significantly safer and guaranteed even in this economy given about average physical appearance and makeup skills. With some brains, she could be a six-figure-a-month madam in no time at all.

software dev? (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188393)

I've know a couple of devs with math degrees, and they were excellent.

Re:software dev? (5, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188481)

Software development, and IT in general will do well. I have 2 math degrees, the logical flow of math works very well with all things in IT.. except for management.

Re:software dev? (4, Interesting)

McFadden (809368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188683)

Absolutely. As someone who regularly hires, I've recruited people with a math degree from a decent college over people with computer science degrees before. It's possible the two have changed, but back when I was at university, I did Comp Sci and sat in for a couple of lectures a week with the first year math undergrads. What they were doing was considerably more challenging than anything I encountered in my four years.

Re:software dev? (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188531)

I've know a couple of devs with math degrees, and they were excellent.

Mod parent up. A math degree is excellent background for software development. It sounds like the submitter's wife would have terrific skills to bring to a software development team: the obvious of math; the less obvious, dealing with socially awkward teenagers. If she finds that "coding" isn't her thing, there's still requirements gathering and documentation, testing, and project management.

Re:software dev? (5, Funny)

Snotnose (212196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188895)

Same here, BS in Applied Math and I do embedded software.

I never actually use the math I learned, except when I go off on a tangent....

Become... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188399)

...a quant

NSA (0)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188403)

I'm sure the NSA would love to have a mathematician.

Re:NSA (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188439)

I'm sure the NSA would love to have a mathematician.

With a PhD. Ranked in the top of his field. Specializing in cryptography applications.

Some teacher with a BS in Math? No.

Re:NSA (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188717)

Have to have a Masters to teach. Still shy of a PhD but better than a BS.

Re:NSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188887)

Have to have a Masters to teach.

Not to teach at the primary or secondary levels you don't.

Re:NSA (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189059)

In many states you do. And in this case, the summary notes that she has her master's in education.

Re:NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188957)

Where he says

She could deal with having a group of disrespectful criminals as students if...

leads me to believe (though I may be wrong) that she is teaching at a high school level. According to []

Public school math teachers must have completed a bachelor's degree program and be licensed by their respective state. Private school math teachers generally need a bachelor's degree, but do not need to be licensed.

Re:NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188735)

You ought to pay a little attention to just how big and bloated the NSA is, consider what its purpose has become, and contrast with the typical interests of mathematical geniuses.

It's not like every cryptographic protocol is full of weaknesses and you just need an elite cadre of researchers to break them and find out what the freedom fi^W^Wterrorists across the pond are doing, is it?

The NSA's interest is brute force: listen to as much as possible, and pick the low-hanging fruit. This certainly needs computer scientists and engineers, but an elite crypto researcher isn't going to help you much - he's far too intelligent to be worth the risk!

My experience in Oxford in England is that MI5 and GCHQ groom people in their undergrad years, knowing not only that they're generally intelligent but also that they've chosen a certain establishment lifestyle and hoping that they're fairly naive and pliable.

Re:NSA (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188791)

You're wrong about that. Yes, top of their field mathematicians have a place. But frankly, very few people have the training to be cryptanalysts even with a Ph.D. under their belt. There's theoretical cryptography, and there's real world cryptography; virtually everyone will require additional training to do the job, and if you need stronger theory, the feds give great education benefits. A B.S. in mathematics will definitely get you looked at if you've got a decent GPA or work history. Look at for job postings under mathematics and cryptanalysis; if you've got any programming background as well, they'll want you.

Finance (1)

negrace (984807) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188413)

Why do you want to limit your options? Have her do masters in math finance and then she will be making six digits easily.

Re:Finance (4, Informative)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189051)

Right, but she's already burnt out on working with flaming assholes.

I was going to say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188417)

Teach... but I see she tried that. Actually I know some programmers with Math degrees. Some other uses would be related to insurance industry and calculating policy premiums. If you don't plan on teaching with a Math degree, you do have to get a bit creative.

Very Few. Learn Programming (1)

frankgerlach74 (2653033) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188441)

C#, Java, C++, Ada, Pascal will do

Re:Very Few. Learn Programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188475)

Ada and Pascal?

Yeah, Ada and Pascal (2)

frankgerlach74 (2653033) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188727)

Ada in Aerospace (where crashes actually kill humans) and Pascal in the Delphi RAD business, which is still there.

Re:Very Few. Learn Programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188793)

Maybe she wants to go back in time and teach programming in the late 80's.

Tutoring (5, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188447)

There are families who value education and aren't satisfied with schools.

Re:Tutoring (4, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188485)

I came here to say this.

The problem is not that she's a teacher, the problem is clearly that she is working for the wrong employer.

Re:Tutoring (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188739)

Agreed. Tutoring will pay better than regular teaching, will generally involve better students and will always have the best administrator you can be.

Re:Tutoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188967)

Yes, & the best way to reap $$$ in Tutoring is to open a Tutoring centre in the home or near students homes or schools, maybe hiring other ex-colleagues (or, at least sharing the costs). Just keep the standard HIGH.

Oh, put the ~50 GB of KhanAcademy into net- or note-book computers, & tack-on $100 to cost price, & sell them to those who can't afford $40 / hour in tutoring. This could be part of Tutoring business; don't turn 'em away... sell 'em 3,200 tutorial videos INSIDE a computer... OR EVEN -rent- or -lease- the computer+KA-videos.

(I -think- llicenses its -free- videos in such a way to let you use them commercially.)

Netbooks are fine for kids with small hands & come in bright colors to please any kid.

You could even blend those videos with Coaching (if buyers / users have Internet) on

1. Enroll your tutoring student onto / (choosing userenames like BusName-StudentsInitial)
2. Set yourself up as each one's Coach (no cost to you, so far)
3. Kids watch Math videos at home, & do the Practice problems on-line
4. Use Coach mode to track students progress in real time (still no cost to you)
5. Kids use Skype to ask for help in real time (or you could Skype them when you see they're stuck)
        Share Skype desktops - in which you'd have a blackboard & stylus (eg, like Sal Khan's) in Skype video chats

If students are diligent - & sometimes maybe working competitively, in real time - you could be asssisting several concurrently, or maybe simultaneously, eg, in a Skype teleconference.

Your cost blackboard+stylus kit, so your help looks a bit like Sal's videos.

Research scientist / research assistant ... (2)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188449)

If she has additional background in biology, or computing skills, she might find work in a computational biology lab as a staff scientist or assistant ... but the real key is to have a complementary skill, where mathematics helps propel the analysis and work.

Re:Research scientist / research assistant ... (2)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188471)

(replying to myself): Also, if her statistics are good, she might consider joining the biostatistics core at a med school or medical company. There will be no shortage of clinical trials or other biological experiments where they really need a statistician (or mathematician) to help with experimental design and statistical analysis / hypothesis testing.

Re:Research scientist / research assistant ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188677)

BS level math will have trouble getting into a good biostats gig. I suppose you could become a wizard at R but you really need to go back and get a MS in stats and we can talk. (BTW I do work with many biostats folks at a large medical institution, am a PhD in a related field and collaborate extensively with a few who are really excellent statisticians. ) Parent might be right, maybe you can become a second string data donkey at a drug company with a straight math degree -- from what I've seen it's not clear that gig would be better than teaching unmotivated kids with poor administrative support (an option that doesn't cost any more!)

Re:Research scientist / research assistant ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188741)

That is a really good point. And most of these will require something closer to the MS level ... or a very good complementary skill.

Engineering (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188451)

I work for a major defense contractor and we use math majors for simulations, guidance and other disciplines. We have a developers with math majors as well.

Contractor or Govt (1)

finlandia1869 (1001985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188681)

Contractors, definitely. The Feds needs math types in multiple agencies. The Census Bureau does a lot of stat work, for example. DoD needs math types at the warfare centers scattered around the country. Does she have any interest in Human-Systems Integration or training systems? There are a lot of people trying to find ways to get all those personnel trained up on new systems.

Alternatively, teach at a private school. They have the advantage of being able to select and expel their students and there will be less bureaucracy.

Game Developer (1)

alteveer (979070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188453)

Any creative math major can be a game developer with some CS. Education masters? Serious games: []

Re:Game Developer (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188537)

Math sure helps a lot with CS, but neither of her qualifications or CS guarantees or even implies a skill at developing games.

Re:Game Developer (1)

alteveer (979070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188625)

Linear algebra, matrix math, and set theory are pretty much pre-requisites to any serious graphics implementations, not to mention physics engines. Sorry to go anecdotal, but my web/art background prepared me for making models but certainly not rendering/shading them.

...and to be clear, I don't mean "game design."

Change schools. (5, Interesting)

rritterson (588983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188465)

I come from a family of teachers, so I know all about internal politics. Unless she no longer wants to teach under any circumstances, change schools first before giving up. Try private if you've only done public, etc. If it is truly her passion, she'll find the school for her.

Or, do what my college roommate did and specialize in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Make $120,000 a year and hate yourself.

Re:Change schools. (3, Interesting)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188607)

I come from a family of teachers, so I know all about internal politics. Unless she no longer wants to teach under any circumstances, change schools first before giving up.

I was a language teacher for a year. While still in school, I realized that I *hated* the public school I was working in - I figured it was just random chance, since I'd had many good experiences volunteering in schools, in the past.

So I took a 4 month contract starting in september at a different school, that had a much different reputation... which is like saying that I switched from Mr Pib to Dr Pepper. Sure, one SOUNDS better, but there isn't much difference. Teachers who had been in the system for awhile must have felt that the grass was greener at a different school, but the grass is just terrible at all schools. How do I know? the contract I took for the second part of the year was at ANOTHER school. That was terrible as well.

There is something broken with our public education system. And I'm in CANADA, which is infitintely better than your crappy american public schools (according to Geoffrey Canada, some know-it-all american educator in some know-it-all american "documentary"). So yes, I feel her pain. Now? I'm doing some consulting work for Training and Development at a large govn't contractor... no relation at all to either of my degrees.

Re:Change schools. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188801)

Same here (4 generations and likely to rise), and US public schools are a major problem. Private schools might work, particularly one that are properly streamed, tutoring almost certainly will.

Re:Change schools. (3, Interesting)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188845)

I have a hunch that she has an empathy for children which is what drove her to pursue the education thing. While it might be more practical to choose a different career, it is unlikely that she would ever be happy with anything less than engaging young minds.

Has she considered private schools, or even private tutoring (think Silvan [] or Math Addvantage [] )? The environment for both is radically different from that of a public school. In both cases the students involved are more likely to be "reachable" and education the actual goal.

Tons of options (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188487)

Actuary, software developer, financial analyst, just off the top of my head.

Dilbert is Life, Life is Dilbert (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188495)

but the sad truth is that her administration causes more problems on a daily basis than her students do.

And she thinks administrators/managers in the private sector are better???

Perhaps a career where she's her own boss may be more fitting for her personality. Tutoring rich kids, maybe.

Re:Dilbert is Life, Life is Dilbert (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188649)

I've generally found administrators/managers in enterprises funded by actual capitalism ("profit") to be much better, saner, and smarter, than any administrator/manager in any enterprise funded by tax dollars. Almost scarily so. It's two different worlds.

Professional Gambler (4, Funny)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188497)

Become a professional gambler.

Fairly obvious... (4, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188501)

Private school math teacher?

Re:Fairly obvious... (1)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188547)

I don't have mod points, but I was going to point out the same.
Motivated parents. Lean administration. No interference from politicians.

Re:Fairly obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188597)

Posting annonymously because I modded up parent (whom I shall henceforth refer to as "Daddy"). Statistician might be another option if she bothered to learn any real math along the way.

Math (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188503)

Do math.

She can still teach ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188507)

She can still teach. Aren't there schools with less bureaucracy and administrative nonsense; private schools, charter school, etc?

Hmmmmm (2)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188509)

My BS in Math hasn't hurt me, but I can't say it really gives you enough depth in math to do a lot with directly. It is a leg up on engineering or science career paths, but I'd be real surprised if anyone could find a position that relied on an undergrad math degree. Math is a beast, 4 years is barely enough time to learn the basics.

I think she's maybe be best off looking at some area where her education degree could be helpful. Training or some type of course design work or something. I'm sure there's a niche there somewhere for someone that is willing to go out and carve it out for themselves. The other option? Go for the PhD and teach education at a college level, lol (or math for that matter). Heck, I've taught a few college level courses as an adjunct myself, you don't usually need an advanced degree. It isn't the best paying job ever, but she might find that teaching a few courses at college level will tell her if she's at all interested in that. It is a BIT different from teaching K-12 in a public school.

Pornstar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188529)

...If she's "handy" that is.

A couple of options (1)

diewlasing (1126425) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188541)

First, there's always graduate school. Math is a fantastic subject to learn more about, just because (like many other things). After she could probably get into academia or industry (industry at a higher level).

Second, the people I know from undergrad with math degrees, who did not go to graduate school, chose one of three options:

1.) Work for a financial company doing number crunching of some sort

2.) Taking the actuarial exams

3.) Computer companies: but I've heard from them that at job fairs, computer companies that want to hire math majors always want to know the amount of programming experience you have

My two cents

Educational Software (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188543)

Someone with a BSc. in Math and a MA in Education should be looking into online courseware and educational software.

A good start would be to sample a few of the online coursews in programming and math related subjects from schools like Stanford and MIT. Get a sense of what's available and what improvements are there to be made.

Quantitative Analyst (3, Interesting)

Faulkner39 (955290) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188551)

In the Financial industry, "Quants" or Quantitative Analysts use statistics and sophisticated heuristics to feed ideas and information to organizations that deal with trading in the various markets (stocks, options, futures, commodities, forex, etc.), such as hedge funds, statistical arbitrage operations, and private investors. It's a high paying, highly challenging position that deals with all kinds of mathematical functions and techniques, such as optimizing adaptive filters. It's one of the best places for a mathematician to earn a great salary, but your skill and experience needs to be very top level.

Silly question (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188553)

Young, shown she can learn and apply reason and logic. Christ, pretty much any career. What does she want to do? She needs to think about what she wants to do, apply for jobs and let them tell her whether she's suitable or what she needs to do to become suitable.

Do something she cares about (4, Insightful)

dontclapthrowmoney (1534613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188555)

No-one ever said on their death beds that they wanted to spend more time in the office. And your career will never wake up one morning and tell you it doesn't love you any more. Both of these are reasons to do something she actually wants to do.

If she is in the unenviable position of having to trade her time for money in order to live, she should at least do something she has some interest in. Just work out what she wants to do, then get the qualifications or experience to suit. Don't assume her current qualifications should be the starting point for making that decision. She wouldn't necessarily be starting from scratch, having a degree of any kind (especially a Masters degree) gives you a head start in many other areas.

The OP says this person is a "bright young woman", retirement is probably a long way off... hopefully she can find something she likes that makes economic sense also.

Good luck.

Software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188563)

See the other Slashdot article today saying 49% of companies are having difficulty hiring for IT jobs?

Learn to write code, even if it takes an additional certificate program to prove. The starting salary for a BS in CS now is as high as $70k/y, and CS used to be a subset of the math department.

From a few people I know with math degrees... (2)

Kalendraf (830012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188565)

- Insurance companies sometimes hire them for statistical analysis of cost/benefits
- Larger hospitals that do research sometimes hire them for statistical analysis of medicines and treatments
- Manufacturing companies sometimes hire them to do statistical analysis of product failures

If she doesn't mind focusing on the statistics branch of math, there are jobs out there.

Re:From a few people I know with math degrees... (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188787)

Mod parent up. First post that doesn't suggest she make a radical career change to IT.

I know a couple of people with Math degrees working at insurance companies.

What to do with a math degree. (-1, Offtopic)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188567)

Count down from infinity.

Re:What to do with a math degree. (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188817)

Yeah, but which infinity? There's a lot of them.

The business world (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188571)

If she wants out of the education field, and has no interest in learning how to code, her best bet is the business world. Not a guarantee by any means, but she has a better chance than your art history or women's studies major. She'll probably start as an administrative assistant of some kind, for management that would like some number crunchers on their team, and she can make her way from there. It's not quite the mail room, but it won't be a "ready made" position like accounting or HR either. She just has to get her foot in the door somewhere. It'll be for low pay at the start, but that wont last long. I'd try putting in at banks, finance companies, and manufacturers. She'll have less luck at service industries where they either want sales types or admin types with a particular skillset ready to go. Banking is big, profitable, and it's not going away. That's the first place I'd start.Once she has her foot in the door somewhere, the education background might come in handy if an opportunity to be a trainer in the corporation comes up.

BTW, has she checked into being a math instructor at a community college? They'll often take BA's in Math with a Masters in Ed to teach introductory algebra classes, "business math" classes, etc. It's pretty easy for community colleges to find English, History, and Sociology majors. It's a little harder finding Math majors, and they'll pay a little better.

Product development and marketing ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188763)

Go into a specific business field that uses math in a non-accounting manner: product development and marketing.

"Product development" in the specification sense, not in the implementation sense. The determining of needs and wants of potential customers and coming up with products and product features that meet this need. Believe it or not the way people are taught to do this sort of thing in business school actually involves mathematical modeling, sampling and statistics, etc. I was shocked and thrilled to see how much advanced math is used in graduate level marketing classes.

Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188577)

"but the sad truth is that her administration causes more problems on a daily basis than her students do"

By this, you mean that she has a boss or coworkers that dont allow her to fullfil an already hard job? Where have I heard this before...besides... EVERYWHERE!

Every job has this kind of challenges. She has 2 options:
She can fight status quo and think a solution to bypass administration or get some freedom of action, or
She can just do what everybody else does and do what she is asked as far as she can, even if her job is not as efficient as she thinks it could be done.

This answer applies for almost any dependant job. Earning your collegues and boss respect is a hard thing to do, sometimes you get reasonable ppl, sometimes you dont.

And, as a freelance, your client is your boss, and you have the same problems except that if your client doesnt trust you, they just stop calling.

Get a CS degree? :) (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188583)

Only half joking, my freshman math professor actually did this. He was finishing up his doctorate at the time he taught the class I was in. Couple years later he was in a CS class with me. He'd decided the pure math jobs out there were crap, but math programming there was a market for.

Teaching or dev (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188611)

Do teaching or software development

Move Abroad... Teaching is still a respected job. (5, Interesting)

burning_plastic (164918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188619)

There are plenty of countries where teachers are actually respected, paid decent wages and supported by their schools - my little brother ended up in Australia, and even though he's not currently in a particularly nice school (inner city...) he still says it's a massive leap above most schools in the US/UK...

The world's oldest profession... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188633)


Is she a good communicator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188639)

Lots of companies want employees who think logically and communicate clearly. People who have these skills XOR are common, but AND is unusual.

Rather than ask what kind of job she could do, ask her what kind of organization she wants to work for; i.e., what interests her? High-tech? Non-profit? Biz? Then have find and research specific companies that interest her. Last, direct sales: make direct contact and explain "this is why you want to hire me."

Accounting? (1)

vinn (4370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188645)

While we're on the subject of giving up your passion, how about accounting? Granted, it's like culinary chef working at McDonald's, but a CPA pays much better than a teacher.

Do what the others have said, go to a different school. And yes, learn to put up with bullshit because it exists in every profession.

What To Do With a Math Degree? (0)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188647)

"What To Do With a Math Degree?

Would you like your fries Super Sized?

Software Development / Actuary (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188659)

I've got a Math degree (not Math Education, mind you, just plain Math). I couldn't find a job to save my life for awhile, but sooner or later I took a tech support job and was moved up to Quality Assurance and may one day move into development.

One thing I *want* to do, but just don't have the fortitude to do is take some of the actuary exams. If your wife is a standard math nerd, doing actuarial work should be right up her alley.

I guess she can really do whatever she wants. A lot of place will just take anyone that isn't an idiot that has a degree. I'm sure anything that she wants to do will be rewarding in and of itself.

Vegas, Baby! (4, Funny) (142825) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188665)

1. Head to Vegas.
2. Count Cards.
3. Profit.

Re:Vegas, Baby! (2)

oxdas (2447598) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188855)

Clearly you have never tried to count cards in Vegas. After the MIT kids robbed them blind, they changed their rules and developed sophisticated methods for detecting card counting. My friend and I were escorted to the door withing 15 minutes and that was 8 years ago.

Card counting is easy, but it relies on probability and betting high when the count is good and low when the count is bad. The house keeps track of the count too and your variation in betting.

The M.Ed. is worthless; the Math degree isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188675)

There isn't much value in the Master's in Education outside the field. She could look into teaching at a private school, or work for a non-profit or governmental institute evaluating teaching, but that's about it. Staying within education broadly construed, she might look into Instructional Design or Corporate (e.g. Continuing Professional) Education.

The B.A. in Math however, says a lot and has a lot more application. Depending on her interests and background it could land her in anything from software development to quantitative finance to a staff support position in the social (or even the 'hard') science.

Frankly, as an owner of small software company, a B.A. or B.S. in Math, is a whole more meaningful to me than the time she spent in Education. The only non-professional majors I like to hire as much as Math are Physics and, oddly, Philosophy. Sure, a computer science best or engineering background piques my interest more, but of all the liberal arts and sciences people with all three of those majors have been among my best hires.

Of course, all of the best candidates learned something and did some software development before applying to our company. But in my opinion, a Math degree is an easy sell.

Tutor, Sales, Bank Teller, Business Operator (mos) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188679)

We should really know what we're getting into, before choosing a career... but when we don't...
at least Math still opens doors, especially if she did well at university.

Did I forget: Relief Teaching?

Teaching ADULTS [Literacy &] Numeracy... in AU, there's $$ in doing that in small grouups with indigenous students, to prepare them for jobs, eg, in Mining. (and...Mining pays -very- well).

Me too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188685)

I am a former math teacher. For me, it was also my colleagues that created more trouble than the students. Now I'm in IT.

Be part of the solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188689)

How about becoming an administrator and being part of the solution?

Starbucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188737)

...has positions available.

Banks (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188761)

Banks employ lots of mathematicians nowadays, especially in the insurance field, but most of them require an MS.

Wall street (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188765)

Tons of analyst jobs.

Congress could use some math training! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188785)

You could lobby Congress for a grant to tutor them on math! They obviously have issues with negative signs.

Shoot self and respawn (1)

militiaMan (672558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188797)

Shoot self and respawn. Not a single STEMS degree has any value. Look at the billionaires. Do they code? No. Can they do complex math? No. Do they even have a degree? 80% don't. Face the truth and give up on a career. Go build a robot army in a unsuspecting country and become a despot. That will put you math skills to work.

Move to a better school district (2)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188835)

Move to a better school district. She won't have "criminals" (not my word!) in her class. She will have brighter, more educated, and well-behaved children. That will probably improve the administration situation as well. I would say just "teach" in a better school district, but the sooner you make the move yourself to a better district, the better... since raising kids in a bad school area gets progressively worse as the kids get older.

And don't give me any crap about how I must be a mean conservative... most of the white liberals who work and live in/near Berkeley, CA refuse to send their kids to the neighborhood government schools...

Technical instructor (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188861)

She could develop and/or present courses for Mathworks or a similar company.

House Wife!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188889)

Get back in the kitchen and bring me a beer!!!

My gf tells me to post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188893)

She is a happy public school teacher. It took her 6 years to get good enough, and to find a good school, one that is primarily made up of refugees. The kids barely speak English, but they love to learn and realize how good they have it. Her administration supports her, and her fellow teachers are working together to integrate math and science education into something interesting to middle schoolers, while stressing above all the prinicals of logic and reason.

So I guess it happens. Sometimes. To some people. If they are lucky and patient. Not much hope, but some hope...

Signal Processing (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188903)

There are a lot of opportunities in signal processing (wireless, speech, and vision), and the math background would be an excellent differentiator. However she would need to learn digital signal processing, MATLAB for prototyping, and C/C++ for building fast signal processing systems.

The NSA will hire smart math grads for signal processing and train you up to some extent.

Go Up a Step (1)

Zinner (873653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188907)

Tell her to spend the year getting a master's degree in mathematics. At that point, she is eligible to teach at a two year college. I have a high school teaching license in science but after 1.5 years I gave up for pretty much the same reasons. Because I have a master's degree in physics, I started teaching at a community college. So much better! The students grow up over night, you don't deal with parents regardless of the students age, and you can kick any trouble makers out of the class. I'd never go back to a high school! Lots of jobs for math at two year colleges.

Sign on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188911)

Sign on duck.

Try an internship before you wast 7 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188915)

Next time, try an internship (substitute teaching) before getting 2 degrees!

Operations Research Analyst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188919)

If her specialty involves linear math or modeling, ORAs can make a *lot* of money, and most that I know really enjoy their work. Uses both the math side of the house (simplex algorithm, Gauss-Jordan elimination, etc) and the creative side in terms of modeling discrete systems.

Anything - with physics or maths the world is your (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188929)

Anything - with physics or maths the world is your oyster.

Seriously, if you are qualified in physics or maths (note the plural, maths is a contraction of mathematics, math is not) you can work for anyone.

When I say anyone I mean from defence through to stock market trading (physics degrees being the most common in the stock market).

Stop thinking small scale and assuming the only career is being a teacher. If you are qualified in maths then you are top of the tree numerate candidate.
You can turn you hand to anything (unless you are a clutz in the real world, so don't become a plumber).

I've worked with awesome mathematicians who we awful software engineers. Why were they tolerated? Because they could do the maths. Simple.
Some of them I could lead them to the bug in the debugger and they still couldn't see it. They could not debug themselves out of a wet brown paper bag. I had zero respect for them as software engineers. They were awful. But they were very valuable. In maths terms. And that is why they were hired. And why they never got fired.

Same for non-software professions.

Stop thinking "teaching". Start thinking "what do people need solved?" With a maths degree (or better) you partner has a huge range of jobs available.

From Someone with a Math Degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188975)

I have an M.A. in mathematics, and have had a lot of difficulty finding a non-teaching job, so much so that I'm going back to school to get a Computer Science degree.

With a Masters in Education, my first recommendation would be to look for a college-level teaching job, either at a community college, 4 year school, or tech school. I'm currently a teacher at a private tech school (a la Devry, Univ of Phoenix), and while the students are certainly not the best, I've found that with some patience and creativity you can make it work. I sympathize with having shitty administrators... if it really is intolerable I say just try to find another teaching job with better bosses; math teachers are usually in pretty high demand, and there are bound to be some good administrators out there somewhere.

If you want out of the classroom, I would look into math textbook publishing with Pearson, Wiley, or something similar, they often have editor positions open that require a strong math background, and I'm sure the Education degree will be an asset. There also seem to be a number of online education companies springing up that may be hiring someone to write curriculum guidelines, generate material for online students, do online tutoring, and such -- don't know of any off the top of my head, but they shouldn't be too hard to find.

If you're looking to get out of teaching and education altogether, then, as others have said, with a moderate amount of programming knowledge, it's probably possible to get hired on doing data analysis or technical programming of some sort, but when doing my own job hunts, I often felt that the companies were much more interested in hiring someone with a full CS background.

If CS is not your bag, I would strongly recommend getting into statistics. Most large businesses usually have positions open for statisticians of some sort, usually as data analysts or something similar, and business-types usually seem impressed by strong stats skills.

Hope that helps.

Masters or PhD (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188983)

If she is bright and loves mathematics, she should go on to do graduate studies. Undergrad maths is really boring compared to graduate level stuff. Then the world is her oyster. She should find a good school and a good supervisor. The world of professional mathematicians is pretty exciting !

Education degree useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40188991)

I degree (whether bachelor's or master's) in Education is absolutely useless for anything other than a public school/teacher's union setting. No one else will give any weight to a degree where you know less once you've finished than when you started. Indeed, a Master's in Education is negatively correlated with student success.

However, a private school will value the math degree. Another option is to focus on a Master's or Ph.D. in Mathematics and go after a "Quant"-type job.

I just graduated with a math degree (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 2 years ago | (#40188995)

I just graduated with a pure math BS from UCSD with a minor in CS. I got hired by Metron ( as an operations analyst. Which is essentially just answering questions and doing research for the DOD. As someone who is also a tutor, I can also understand your wife's position. A good question to ask is what did she specialize in? I specialized in probability theory and real analysis, this lends it self to multiple careers. If you specialize in math education your options might be more limited since those courses tend to take away from your time attending more applicable courses. That said, private tutoring is lucrative if you know how to do it and know who to look for. People who tutor calculus are sought out pretty often, given that a lot of high school calc courses are less than adequate. Other things to consider, she probably could market her self as someone with high critical thinking skills and thus apply for positions, that while not math oriented, will accept math majors.

Hope she finds something better :)

Perspective (1)

bleedingsamurai (2539410) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189007)

One mistake I think a lot of people make is translating a degree into a career path. True, you can match degrees to jobs but often most employers are looking to see that you have education when they look for a degree. At least in my rather limited perspective.

So she should try to find something she likes, not necessarily directly related to a degree in math.

Simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40189011)

Go back to school for 4 more years, acquire a Ph.D in mathematics. $300,000 year starting, any job she wants.

Software training (1)

suutar (1860506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40189057)

I know a math degree doesn't guarantee she can get her head around various products well enough to train folks how to use them, but I'm pretty sure she'll do better than some... and the students are usually a little less riotous.
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