Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries are employed by universities, government, bank and trust companies, insurance companies, pension benefit consulting firms or science and engineering firms. In the last ten years more and more mathematicians have been employed by computer software companies.
With the skills acquired in Mathematics and Statistics, students open up a whole gamut of opportunities for themselves and their future. Career prospects for students obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree in mathematics are quite good. Our students have been able to secure professional positions soon after graduation. Several of our BSc students have proceeded to higher degrees like the PhD at other institutions, and other students have obtained jobs such as: biostatistician at Syreon Corporation; a BC Certified Teacher at Delta School District; position at McDonald Detweiller; programmer at a gaming company; programmer in a software company in Silicon Valley, California; senior Lab Instructor at UNBC; Law School (Georgetown University); Theology school in Toronto; Instructors at Selkirk College and Okanagan College.
What can you do with a degree in Math?
Work in firms or corporations
With a Mathematics degree some of our students have obtained jobs in corporations such as: McDonald Detweiller (in Vancouver), a software company in Silicon Valley (California), Scotia Bank, a gaming company, Syreon Corporation (Vancouver), and others. There are many companies that hire mathematicians, such as Hewlett-Packard, Rockwell International Corporation, various aerospace companies.
With a B.Sc. major in Mathematics students can pursue a Doctoral degree in Mathematics or Statistics. Example: some of our alumni went to study their PhDs in: University of Rochester (New York), University of Oregon (Eugene), University of Victoria, University of British Columbia; another studied for the M.A. in Statistics at SFU.
Teach in a local school or community college. (For example, we had alumni securing instructorship positions at Selkirk College, Okanagan College, as well as in local schools in Prince George.)
Life Insurance companies (and re-insurance companies) hire people with mathematical and statistical skills to study and model risk and analyze related data.
Cryptography is the art of writing or solving ciphers. The process of encrypting and decrypting is governed by mathematical algorithms. Cryptographers analyze and decipher encryption systems designed to transmit military, political, and law enforcement information.
Market analyst or researcher
Study and predict the sales of products and services. This job involves gathering information, analyzing information, and writing reports stating predictions and conclusions. Collect, analyze, and interpret information on consumer preferences and public attitudes towards issues. Information is used to determine to whom and how to market products or services, where to open a new location or the overall feeling of the public towards political issues.
A few Mathematics majors pursued the study of law in a Law School (for example, one of our alumni went to the Law School at Georgetown University).
Importance of Mathematics for a future career
How important is mathematics as an entrance requirement to university programs?
Students who choose to ignore Mathematics, or not take it seriously in High School, forfeit many future career opportunities that they could have. They essentially turn their backs on more than half the job market (see the areas listed below). The vast majority of university degrees require Mathematics. The importance of Mathematics for potential future careers cannot be more emphasized. For example, degrees in the following areas require good knowledge of Mathematics and Statistics:
- The physical sciences (like Chemistry, Physics, Engineering)
- The life and health sciences (like Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry)
- The social sciences (including Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linguistics, Education, Geography)
- The tech sciences (like Computer Science, Networking, Software development)
- Business and commerce
- Actuarial science (used by insurance companies)
Importance of grades for entrance to university and success upon arrival in the first year
Students would be wise to enter university with a good background in Mathematics. Experience has shown that students who come to university with a poor grade in Math (or who choose to skip Math in high school) have a difficult time progressing in the disciplines they have chosen to major in. So we strongly recommend students take Mathematics seriously during their high school years and score at least a B to be able to do reasonably well in university Mathematics. This is in the student's best interest. Nevertheless, the Mathematics Department at UNBC offers MATH 115 for students who did not take MATH 12, to help such students bridge their transition to university life.
Challenges faced by first-year students: work load, mathematics topics, transition from high school
There are cultural differences and challenges. In the university setting students are treated as adults who are responsible for their own welfare and course work. Normally, students take 5 courses per semester so as to complete the degree requirements in 4 years (which are normally 120 credits, though some degrees have more). However, help is available in terms of tutorials, support from the Learning Skills Centre, office hours, and collaboration with fellow students. Our faculty have a proven record of being helpful and supportive of their students (something which we often hear rumoured by our students).
The many uses of mathematics in the university setting
Mathematics is pervasive in the university and in the many other degrees that UNBC offers. Mathematics courses are required for students who want to major in the following areas: Business, Marketing, Finance, Commerce, Biology, Economics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, Environmental Engineering, Forest Ecology and Management, Psychology, Nursing, Health and Human Sciences.
Experiences with mathematics as it is used in career areas
Every area of Mathematics has its own unique applications to the different career options. For example, Algebra is very important for computer science, cryptology, networking, study of symmetry in Chemistry and Physics. Calculus (including differential equations) is used in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Engineering, the motion of water (hydrodynamics), rocket science, molecular structure, option price modeling in Business and Economics models, etc.
Motivational topics that outline the competitive nature of the working world and the importance of success in mathematics
Students are encouraged to give serious attention to their future. The career world is competitive. The competition and the opportunities in the career world become a serious problem for students if they do not do well in Mathematics, because then they are excluding themselves from the many career paths that need Mathematics. We therefore exhort all our high school students to take matters in their own hands, to study hard, achieve a level of excellence, and take such a fundamental discipline like Mathematics seriously if they think they may go into any of the Physical, Social, Health Sciences, Business, Medicine, or related areas.
Careers with a Mathematics degree
Aside from being useful to becoming a High School teacher, a degree in Mathematics is quite useful in the following job areas (where people with a Mathematics degree have been hired). More detailed information can be found in this informative book "101 Careers in Mathematics" , by Andrew Sterrett (editor), MAA publication, 1996--which I recommend to anyone interested in knowing what opportunities a degree in Mathematics can can open up.
- It prepares you for an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) degree and become, for example, an Accounting Manager or a Certified Public Accountant.
- Can work as a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
- Can work as a mathematician in places like Rockwell International Corporation
- With a degree in Mathematics you can go to Law School
- Can work as a project manager in a company like Hewlett-Packard
- You can go on to an engineering school and become an industrial engineer or work in companies like Westinghouse Wireless Solutions
- Informations Systems Consultant
- Manager at a place like Advanced Research Computing Services
- Can work as an Actuary for a life insurance company or a re-insurance company or any kind or insurance company
- Senior software engineer (e.g. at Harris Scientific Calculations)
- With a MSc in Mathematics one can work as an aerospace mathematician in space centers like the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- Can be a mathematics editor for a publisher (e.g. Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
- A computer systems specialist for a chemical company
- A professional relations representative for a health care company
- Educational markets manager for companies like Texas Instruments
- Operations research analyst (e.g. for FedEx or any courier company)
- Director for inventory control
- Can work in companies like Exxon Production as a research specialist
- A statistician at a health research laboratory
- Can work at a Boeing company as instructor and/or consultant on quality control
- An Environmental Mathematician for an engineering company
- With a double major with economics you can become an economist for an Oceanographic company
- Some national laboratories hire mathematicians to analyze problems numerically (Numerical Analysis)
- A statistician in a census bureau
- Telephone companies are known to hire mathematicians, even ones with only a BSc degree
- Financial Analyst
- And many more!