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What do you do with a Math Major?


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Math seems like a good fit if she is not interested in engineering. The problem solving skill honed in math can be applied in many ways. Unfortunately most major/career lists look at pure math applications and my sense that your DD could end up applying her math skills in a non-traditionally math way. 
 

I personally was thinking about cost estimating, construction management, sales, political campaign statistics, and data analytics. I read a couple of years ago that some companies hire math major to be computer programmers and teach them how to program because it is easier to teach the programming than the math. 
 

I definitely understand the uncertainty which arises in a parent when their DC is interested in a major without a clear career path. My oldest DD is an English major. It was been interesting watching her explore career options. She is currently in her last semester and is headed for a career in producing podcasts. Go figure. 

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I don't know, but its one my DD is looking at, too.  She is interested in accounting and business stuff, but also space and physics, and computer science.  I'm trying not to care too much right now- I think mine needs to explore in college before she picks a major.  Its normal for bright, gifted kids to have lots of interests!  Math intersects all those fields,  so I guess she can start toward any degree and decide later.  

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I have a  degree in math.  People are always impressed.  I think math majors can do many things, but it definitely doesn't lead to one specific job path.  Grad school is an option.  Teaching is a possibility.  I tended toward desk jobs and so worked as a Contract Administrator, an Administrative Assistant, and a Management Assistant (and then a stay at home mom for twenty years and an awesome homeschool teacher ).  But I could have done other stuff.  It's a good degree, but you have to find your jobs.  It's not as straight-forward, for instance, as my dd who is a Nursing major and will be a Nurse.

Edited by perky
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On consideration might be whether she is interested in applied math or theorectical math. - don't ask me to define, I'm going off what my son (the math major) has talked about. Ds is more interested in theoretical math, so he's had to do more independent studies as his program has shifted toward applied in the last few years. 

Here's a forum post that might help with the difference.

My son also has a lot of programming experience, so he'll probably end like Arch at Home discussed, a math major in a programming job. 

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On 1/17/2021 at 6:35 AM, MamaSprout said:

 So what would a math major who isn’t particularly suited to a desk job do?

I can't actually think of many non-desk jobs that are directly related to having a math major. Atmospheric science requires a lot of math and has non-desk jobs, but you need the AS degree, not a math degree. Same for various other sciences. 

When you say desk job, do you just mean she would want to be more active in the job or that she would actually want and outdoor job? Like a teacher is inside but not at a desk most of the time. 

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12 minutes ago, katilac said:

When you say desk job, do you just mean she would want to be more active in the job or that she would actually want and outdoor job? Like a teacher is inside but not at a desk most of the time. 

Not at a desk most of the time. She’s said engineering previously, because she is pretty good with hands-on stuff, but engineering can be very desk-based.
 

While she doesn’t like competition math, she does like the hard math in EMF/ eimacs, which is heavily proof-based.

She shadowed some engineers at a well-known place, and they told her she should consider being an analyst... but that seems to be a fuzzy job title at best.

Edited by MamaSprout
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Thanks for all of your feedback so far.

We’re kind of lonely academic homeschoolers where we are, and this has been one of the few safe places I can ask questions about how to direct my accelerated dc without dealing with the posturing that happens on “gifted” lists, especially on FB.

Edited by MamaSprout
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This is going back many years in my memory. I shared an office (big room) with approximately 4 or 5 other people.  I believe 2 or 3 of them had Math degrees.  Also I believe that before they got the Math degrees, they had Music degrees and there's a big correlation between Music and Math.

So now you want to know what those people with Math degrees were doing to earn their living.  We were doing Assembly Language on 16 bit Mini computers. Software Engineering on Bare Metal.

I receive a lot of emails about Software Engineering jobs and some of them show a long list of possible degrees, probably including a B.S. in Math and some of them being very specific to 2 or 3 Majors.

BTW, there is (or was) a super Math Camp at Texas A&M University that is FREE.  They take approximately 17 new students each year if my memory is correct.  My DD applied but didn't make it.  At least 2 of their Math Professors were involved with it and if you read their resumes you would be quite impressed.  Awesome if your DC is accepted there...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and, 

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23 hours ago, MamaSprout said:

Not at a desk most of the time. She’s said engineering previously, because she is pretty good with hands-on stuff, but engineering can be very desk-based.
 

While she doesn’t like competition math, she does like the hard math in EMF/ eimacs, which is heavily proof-based.

She shadowed some engineers at a well-known place, and they told her she should consider being an analyst... but that seems to be a fuzzy job title at best.

Analyst is a broad title and doesn’t describe the job scope. 
 

Due to COVID-19, the only people who are doing hands on stuff in my husband’s department are the lab technicians and even they have to work in shifts. My husband used to pop into the lab whenever he needs to but now he needs to get a lab time slot due to the COVID-19 measures. I find that for engineering, as you climb the ranks, things get more managerial and less hands on even if it is in a field like construction or surveying or manufacturing.

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Here's a list compiled from a quick online search of math-degree careers. They all seem desk-based, to me... 😉

Business-related
- Statistician
- Actuary
- Finance
Financial Analyst / Investment Banking Analyst
- Accountant
- Management Analyst / Consultant
- Logistician
- Economist

Science/Engineering
- Data Scientist
- Process Engineer
- Operations Research Analyst

Computer
- Algorithmic Engineer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Software Developer
- Database Manager

Other areas:
- Mathematician - academia & research
- Teaching
- Meteorologist

Edited by Lori D.
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11 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Here's a list compiled from a quick online search of math-degree careers. They all seem desk-based, to me... 😉

...

- Process Engineer
 

Process Engineer’s job can have hands on components, it depends on job scope. Linked article has an explanation 

https://www.processindustryinformer.com/process-engineering-everything-need-know

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There are lots of different things she can do with math like pp’s have mentioned. I will also suggest looking at the fintech industry. It is a fast growing industry and there are lots of quantitative analysis being done. I will advise her to seek out research opportunities on campus from her first year as that will expose her to more areas of math and what she can do. My college freshman is going CS but wants to do a math or music tech minor. She is waiting to see which one as the much tech one is hard to get into. 

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