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Mathematics Overview - Preparation - Day In The Life - Application -
Earnings - Employment - Job Hunting Advice - Development - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations - Profiles of Mathematicians -
Mathematics PowerPoint - Mathematics Podcast


Job Hunting Advice
Your career will grow in unforeseen directions, but the first moves are important. Before you can build the groundwork for a satisfying career you must understand the lay of the land. You need to research employers who intersect with your skills and interests, determine which occupations are attractive, and learn what starting a job is like.

Researching Jobs
Employers look for specific qualities in job candidates -- you should be just as selective in evaluating them. Resources in your career placement office, the library, and on the Internet will help you identify interesting employers. Research that list in depth to find the employment situation that will fit you best. In addition to the type of employment offered and how you will be compensated for your work, you should consider the size of the employer, its culture, and its location.

Size
A company's size will impact your job satisfaction. Large organizations tend to offer stronger benefits and professional development opportunities, but also come with a certain amount of bureaucracy. You would probably have less opportunity to be recognized for individual contributions, but greater resources to draw on for your work. Smaller employers may provide more client contact and greater exposure to upper management, but your individual successes and failures are more visible. There is less of a chance that you would be able to transfer to other assignments within the organization, but you might develop a more diverse range of skills.

Culture
The personality of an organization is difficult to pin down from the outside. You will want to understand how the employer treats its people, what kind of formalities exist between employees and their supervisors, how different departments are valued, whether the organization sponsors sports or other after-work activities, how people dress, if there is a structured mentoring program, etc.

Location
Employers are located across the country, so you should evaluate the role geography plays in your plans. When contemplating a move to a new location, consider the cost of living in that city as well as its demographic make-up, access to cultural and recreational activities, the quality of the local school system, its climate, and your own feelings about being far from family and friends.

Occupations
Mathematicians develop theories to predict traffic patterns on the internet, create models to optimize routing at call centers, chart financial markets, and counsel corporations on health benefits. They are designing flight simulators for Boeing, managing development teams at Intel, and forecasting the economy at the Federal Reserve.

Accounting and Finance
Occupations in this area include financial analysis and engineering, the preparation and verification of financial reports and taxes, and work with systems that provide information about financial institutions and markets. People in this field construct trading models for Wall Street firms, design mathematical tools to assess risk, and forecast cost estimates for government projects.

Computer Programming
Computer programmers write and maintain code that computers must execute to perform their functions. Programmers often follow descriptions prepared by systems analysts who have carefully studied the task that the computer system is going to perform. The code may be used to solve a very specific problem on one project or it may become part of a library of codes used by many to solve similar problems.

Sales and Marketing
Occupations in this area are driven by research related to the promotion of products or services. Market researchers design surveys, perform analysis on the data from surveys, and report on their results and recommendations. An individual in sales helps customers determine what resources they need to meet their requirements.

Management and Related Positions
Managers plan, coordinate and direct the many activities required to bring a project to completion. This includes research, development, design, production, and computer-related activities. They determine scientific and technical goals within broad outlines provided by top management; they hire, assign, and supervise staff, as well as forecast costs and manage budgets.

Actuarial
Actuaries build and run mathematical models, and collect and analyze data to answer risk-based questions by putting a financial value on future events. They work for insurance companies, investment firms, employee benefits consulting firms, and other types of companies that need to quantify financial risks.

Computer Systems Analysis
Analysts implement the means for computer technology to meet the individual needs of a product or organization. They study scientific and engineering data processing problems and design new solutions. They make sure an organization's computer code meets certain specifications for speed and efficiency.

Engineering
Engineers apply the theories and principles of science and mathematics to the economic solution of practical technical problems. They design machinery, products, systems, and processes for efficient and economical performance.

Statistics
Statistics is the collection, analysis, and presentation of numerical data. Statisticians design surveys and experiments, then collect the resulting information or data. In some companies statisticians help other scientists design their experiments and train managers how to use statistical tools in decision making.

Mathematics / Operations Research / Modeling
Mathematicians solve economic, scientific, engineering, and business problems using mathematical knowledge and computational tools. Operations Research (OR) analysts help organizations coordinate and operate in the most efficient manner by applying scientific methods and mathematical principles to organizational problems. Modeling enables complex systems to be understood and simulated.

Other Computer Science
Computer scientists solve problems related to the design of computer hardware and networks. They help determine the specifications new systems should meet and test new computer products.

Other Sciences / Health / Social Services
There are other occupations within the sciences where an education in mathematics may be applied. Included in this group are those working in meteorology, pharmacy, and biochemistry.

Other Technical Areas
Many occupations require technical skills that a degree in mathematics provides. Included in this group are land surveyors, draftsmen, and electrical technicians.

Other Occupations
There are other occupations outside the sciences that hire graduates of the mathematical sciences. Included in this group are occupations such as law clerk, air traffic control and legal assistant.

Beginning
Transitions are always unpredictable, but the start of your first job is perhaps even more so. Many employees receive formal training or become part of a mentoring or coaching program when they start a new job. Other organizations simply introduce new hires to the people they will be working with and the group takes the responsibility of explaining the job and getting new members started. In any case you should be prepared to learn the ropes and become a fully functioning member of the team as soon as possible.

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association of America, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.


 


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