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What Jobs are Available for Math Majors?

blate Lots of options (301 comments)

I was rather like you when I was in undergrad (in the late 90's). I started out as a Math major (Operations Research) which required certain CS classes. As I learned more about CS, I found that there is a very rich mathematical basis for Computer Science -- from the theories of computation to graphics to algorithm analysis. Almost any serious PhD in CS involves a heavy dose of mathematics in one form or another. Think of it as applied mathematics, in a geeky twisted way :)

Part of what I'm saying is that you can do CS and not end up as a programmer, per se.

The other half of the equation is that there *are* significant (well-paying) jobs for mathematicians. Now, I doubt that you'd want to (or could) seriously pursue any of them with just a BS, but a PhD need not be a requirement. My S/O's employer has several math/statistics majors on staff who perform marketing analysis, trending, etc... some of it rather high-powered stuff. If you look into the Actuarial or Operations Research fields (if that floats your boat), there are awesome opportunities.

Whatever direction you choose, I strongly encourage you to go past a BS -- at least stay in school through an MS program. For one thing, it opens more doors down the road (I've gotten at least two jobs partially because I have an MS/CS). More importantly though, IMHO, it makes you a better professional; you learn a heck of a lot more in grad school than in undergrad -- at least that was my experience. You study your subject in far more depth and with far more rigor than in undergrad and you're treated more like a colleague than a student. It's an awesome experience, particularly if your're more of the geeky theoretical type :)

Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it. Of course, you can always go back and get a second degree in underwater basket weaving or Anthropology, but it's a heck of a lot easier to get it right the first time. The sooner you identify a career path (at least vaguely), the better choices you can make in courses, internships, research focus, etc.

Good luck to you!

more than 8 years ago


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