• Question: In which fields do mathematicians have most job opportunities?

    Asked by modlucia on 17 Jun 2020.
    • Photo: Daniel Bearup

      Daniel Bearup answered on 17 Jun 2020:


      That depends what you mean by “mathematicians”. If you mean people who studied maths at university and want to use it in their job … well the possibilities are endless. The obvious answer is “financial jobs” but that ranges from classical accountancy (keeping track of a business’s money); to market analysis (working out what is doing well in a “market” – which is itself a broad term); to programming computers to do financial tasks. (In practice, there is no way that I could list all the individual “financial jobs” that exist.)

      Engineering is another big area. To some extent it is beneficial to do a specialist degree (Engineering) if you want to get into that … . Engineering is, in large part, about applying maths to a practical problem and will typically teach you about the practical problems and the maths you need to deal with those problems.
      On the other hand, in developing fields: e.g. traffic modelling, environment modelling, agricultural modelling, conservation modelling, it may be better to do a general maths course. In these areas, it’s less clear what the problems are/what you need to be able to do, so you need to be flexible. A maths degree is going to give you a much broader (and thus more flexible) tool set which you can apply to any problem, rather than being focused on a particular set of applications.

    • Photo: Maja Popovic

      Maja Popovic answered on 17 Jun 2020:


      I would say computer science.

    • Photo: Deirdre Toher

      Deirdre Toher answered on 17 Jun 2020:


      Statistics – encompassing data analysis, model building and related data science fields are a pretty major employer. Note that interesting Data Science jobs require good programming skills, knowledge of statistics and also linear algebra (and also increasingly graph theory).
      So employers often want the skills that comes from training in mathematical sciences that run across the subfields of mathematics rather than just a single field of mathematics.

    • Photo: Chris Budd

      Chris Budd answered on 17 Jun 2020:


      All fields!!! Mathematics opens doors to more careers than any other subject. A survey by the CBI showed that you need some level of mathematics in 70% of all occupations. If you want to see the rich variety of careers open to mathematicians look at the IMA maths careers website:
      https://www.mathscareers.org.uk/. My own work as an industrial mathematician exposes me to maths used in a huge number of areas, from food processing to medical imaging and from weather forecasting to the desing of timetables. With technology become ever more reliant on maths (think about how much maths there is in a mobile phone) or companines that employ mathemaitcians in large numbers (such as Amazon), or companies founded by mathematicians (such as Google) we are living in a world full of opportunities for mathematicians to get great jobs.

    • Photo: Sarah Barry

      Sarah Barry answered on 17 Jun 2020:


      I would agree that statistics is one of the biggest fields. There are more jobs than statisticians and they are in all sorts of really interesting areas. I do medical statistics (also known as biostatistics), which allows me to use my statistics knowledge to solve useful problems that will help people, and along the way I get to learn about really interesting medical areas too.

    • Photo: Sophie Carr

      Sophie Carr answered on 17 Jun 2020:


      I’d say all the fields have lots of opportunities – the decision is more if you’d like to work in a university, for the government or in wider industry. All have people who work in research, development and the application of maths. One of my favourite areas is statistics and that is in the news a lot of the moment. Data science also uses a lot of statistics (and other areas of mathematics) so you see those types of roles advertised a lot. Probably because it’s a hugely exciting area to work in!

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