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Your Ultimate Guide to Excel as a Mathematician

By Yann, published on 31/03/2018 Blog > Academia > Maths > Learning Maths for Professionals

Mathematics is that subject which teaches us lots of patience along with discipline. It also teaches us the analytical skills needed for step by step problem solving. Maths Education opens up a gateway to almost all the areas of science and engineering.

Applied mathematics helps build a solid foundation, not only sound engineering skills but also for fields such as law, business, sociology, anthropology etc. Most of the careers in mathematics top the list as best careers in the world.

We have gained the ability to understand patterns and are now able to make predictions of the future. We are also learning quantification of relationships, the prediction of profits, architecture of the world all thanks to pure Mathematics.

One of the most powerful tools that has played a vital role in the advancement of mankind is Maths, because it plays an important role in our understanding of the world and the communication. With the help of maths, we are able to transform our world into a global village.

There are absolutely no boundaries to where math is being used.

Most professionals take up maths as pure science but its boundaries expand far beyond science and even physics and engineering. Being a professional Mathematician requires one to have sound analytical and problem solving skills. Maths help students as well as professionals in understanding the world and enables them to solve the most complex problems this world has to offer.

In order to be a skillful Mathematician and to excel in this particular profession, a student having a degree in maths should have a strong portfolio including:

  • The use of correct strategies and their application to solve problems
  • Obtaining data through the use of mathematical models
  • The ability to properly deploy mathematical tools and concepts to come up with solutions to problems

How to Become a Professional Mathematician

Becoming a mathematician is a challenging yet rewarding task! There is an abundance of career opportunities for math graduates and recruiters are constantly on a lookout for the most skillful mathematicians out there.

Mathematicians are however, divided into two types

  • Theoretical
  • Practical

Go for theoretical mathematics if you want to focus on philosophy and study of mathematics. Applied mathematics will, however, enable you to apply your mathematical skills to areas of physics, engineering and more.

Maths for professionals is hard but rewarding Learn maths for rewarding jobs (Photo credit: JoeInSouthernCA via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND)

If you plan to become a mathematician the first thing you need to do is ask yourself if this occupation would match your interests and skill set. Below is a checklist for you to see if you are ready to avail the career opportunities in maths and proceed with a Maths degree.

  • Mathematical theories and techniques intrigue you
  • You have a natural ability to think analytically and logically
  • Solving complex problems is your middle hand
  • You have always been a shining star in statistics and probability, linear algebra, calculus, geometry and other branches of mathematical analysis
  • You know what tools and methods to choose when in need of solving a problem

If you are able to check this list off, then congratulations, you have just discovered the inner mathematician of you.

In order to become a professional mathematician, you might need to do Ph.D in one of the fields of mathematics. The specific requirements needed for mathematics as a profession, however vary due to a couple of factors such as

  • Opting for theoretical or applied mathematics
  • Responsibility level
  • The industry: public or private

If you plan to qualify for opportunities in applied mathematics then you should deficiently opt for an undergraduate degree in maths. A master’s degree on the other hand, will enable you to work in applied research positions in both private and public sectors.

Potential Maths Graduate Jobs

If you are good with numbers and are fully equipped with the right degree then you are in for a fairly lucrative career. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for mathematicians is set to grow by 23% between 2012 and 2022. The median salary predicted is $110,000. So, you can be rest assured the path you are adopting, is in demand today as well as in future.

The unemployment rate for mathematicians is one of the lowest out there. With only 1.2% unemployed, you can stay greatly optimistic because this is one of the rewarding careers.

Learn Maths and find jobs everywhere! Learning maths opens many doors. (Photo credit: Pragmagraphr via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND)

If you excel in maths, you can choose from multiple paths. Academic research is one option but recruiters and industries in business, banking, accounting and economics are also on a constant hunt for the best problem solvers aka. Mathematicians out there.

Unexpected doors can be opened for you once you become a maths graduate. You will find jobs in fields you never even realized you could. A plethora of maths jobs revolve around the areas of business, science and tech related sectors.

As a mathematician, you can easily opt for roles such as an accountant, technician, lecturer, researcher, actuary, statistician and a lot more. The skills of logical and rigorous argument, abstract thinking, formulation and solution of problems, data analyzation and mathematical modeling are highly valued by employers thus making mathematicians eligible for a career in a wide range of fields.

Let’s dive in to some of the most popular paths you can adopt as a mathematician: –

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Banking
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • BioTech
  • Cryptography
  • Meteorology
  • Academia and research
  • Teaching
  • Actuarial career

Maths Teaching Jobs

One of the most popular fields for mathematicians is teaching. The number crunching abilities of a mathematician are highly needed in primary and secondary education systems. If you are a highly numerate graduate and have keen interest in teaching then you are perfect for a teaching profession.

A lot of countries require a formal teaching qualification before anyone can begin a career in teaching. This qualification can be gained within a year, making you eligible for teaching. Universities usually hire postgraduate students in a specialism. Being a university professor would also give you opportunity to pursue academic research side by side.

For school mathematics, apart from knowledge of maths, you would also need to acquire the knowledge of students and instructional practices. Your responsibility as a math teacher would be to use your knowledge of mathematical facts, procedures, methods, concepts and the relationship between them to teach students in the best way possible.

Having knowledge of how students learn and behave is also necessary. A maths teacher must also develop an understanding of how students grasp mathematical ideas and use their thought process for problem solving.

You will have a promising career in teaching mathematics because the demand for maths teachers is on the rise with a median salary around £44,221 for a secondary school teacher.

The minimum requirement of education for math teachers at secondary school level is a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, statistics or other related disciplines. However, the education requirement might vary depending on the school.

Being a maths teacher means that one must have sound concepts of the basic maths. The lessons they give, should enhance the problem solving skills of their students. Making connections between mathematical theories and practical, real world applications is also important in order to inspire the students.

Apart from that, consider becoming a maths tutor on Superprof too!

Maths Needed to Succeed at GMAT

Now if you are not into teaching, and are looking to take admission in a graduate management program instead of opting for a job then you must take the GMAT (The Graduate Management Admission Test). It is an eligibility requirement for most of the graduate business schools around the globe. And although some schools do not require GMAT score, but your scores will immensely improve your chances of getting into your desired school.

The GMAT test revolves around four crucial skills that are:

  • Analytical Writing
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Interrogated Reasoning

Now, GMAT does not only check your level of knowledge in maths, but the maths portion makes up between 200 and 800 of your score. It is a Computer Adaptive test which means that the level of difficulty of your next question will depend on the correctness of your previous question.

One of the core sections of GMAT is the Quantitative Section which tests your math skills. It is also one of the most feared Section of GMAT but acing it is all about confidence and the much-needed practice of math problems. This Section has two parts:

  • Problem Solving
  • Data Sufficiency

You will ace this part easily if you have good grasp on basic math and formulas. The math you studied in secondary school, is usually sufficient to help you prepare for GMAT. For that of course, you need a good long term memory. Learning all the formulas by heart will also save you a lot of time!

Critical thinking along with your problem-solving skills is what you need for the quantitative section. A good grasp of topics on arithmetic, proportions, sets, geometry, algebra, area, circumference etc. along with an ability to think critically will help you solve the trickiest of the GMAT Quantitative Section questions.

Luck favors those who work hard so put in the necessary work and you will succeed in GMAT with a breeze!


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