71 Math-tastic Jobs for Math Majors
Guide to highest-paying opportunities for STEM-focused students
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a whopping 22 percent employment growth for mathematicians from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. The BLS reports that a person with a PhD, a strong background in mathematics and a related field, and the ability to apply mathematical theory to real-world problems will have excellent job prospects.
Here’s how the job market breaks down for some popular math-related majors.
Jobs for Computer Science Majors
According to the career consulting firm PayScale, the best graduate degrees in 2015 are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, with median, mid-career salaries of $131,700. “The top of the list has consistently been dominated by STEM degrees, especially statistics and computer science in the last five years,” said Katie Bardaro, the director of analytics and lead economist at PayScale, in a recent interview with Fortune Magazine.
The BLS projects that the employment of computer and information systems managers will grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022. As companies in fields across the board expand their wireless and mobile networks, the demand for computer software employees—from technicians to managers—will increase. Cybersecurity is a hot emerging career for computer science majors, as concern about cyber threats is expected to rise over the next decade. According to PayScale, the 15 top-paying jobs that hire computer science majors include:
- Chief Information Officer
- Vice President, Engineering, Computer Software
- Agile Coach
- Quality Assurance Director, Computer Software
- Enterprise Architect, IT
- Business Intelligence Director
- Software Engineering Manager
- Security Architect, IT
- Program Manager, Computer Software
- Software Architect
- Director of Information Technology Services
- Software Development Manager
- Applications Development Manager, Computer Software
- Data Architect
- Business Intelligence Architect
Research Jobs That Use Applied Mathematics
Applied mathematicians use theories and techniques to solve economic, scientific, engineering, physics, and business problems. It’s no wonder that research positions are available in fields across the board—from finance, to sports and entertainment, to scientific laboratories and medical institutions.
According to the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, many organizations, corporations, and research institutions look for candidates with a degree in applied mathematics to fill scientific research positions. Examples include:
- Government laboratories such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Government information agencies such as the National Center for Computing Sciences and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC)
- Federally funded contractors such as the Mitre Corporation, RAND Corporation, and the Aerospace Corporation
- AT&T Laboratories
- Energy systems firms such as Lockheed-Martin Energy Research and the Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC)
- Aerospace and transportation equipment manufacturers such as Boeing, Ford, General Motors, Lockheed Martin, and United Technologies
- Chemical or pharmaceutical manufacturers such as DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Inc., and Pfizer
- Producers of petroleum products such as Exxon Research and Chevron
- Academic institutions
- Consumer products companies such as Mars and Procter & Gamble.
Emerging Field for Math Majors: Operations Research Careers
The BLS forecasts a 27 percent employment growth from 2012 to 2022 for operations research analysts. These high-level executives use mathematical modeling, data mining, and statistical analysis to assist companies in solving business problems and organizing operations more efficiently and cost-effectively—making better business decisions. A major in applied mathematics, computer science, or a related degree is required for this career.
Examples of how companies use operations research analysts:
- UPS: Chart the flow of packages, provide real-time route guidance to drivers, manage distribution
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Design a radiation treatment plan for prostate patients using sophisticated modeling and computation techniques
- Verizon Wireless: Oversee supply chain strategy and analytics to ensure that stores have enough product
- U.S. Air Force: Develop multibillion-dollar weapons systems that stretch the frontiers of technology
Environmental Careers That Use Applied Mathematics
Sustainability is one of the fastest growing career paths in the U.S., as protecting the environment becomes a growing business concern, as well as a personal philosophy. Careers in sustainability use math, science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems.
Here are eight of the highest paying careers in sustainability:
- Chief Sustainability Executive: Typically in charge of envisioning, developing, and implementing sustainability initiatives
- Natural Science Manager: Coordinates teams of scientists and researchers focused on sustainability challenges
- Operations Manager: Carries out the directives of the Chief Sustainability Executive
- Atmospheric Scientist: Studies the impact of air pollution and climate on organisms, people, and ecosystems
- Industrial Production Manager: Increases production efficiency and decreases the pollution associated with manufacturing processes while remaining on schedule and within budget
- Environmental Engineer: Involved in water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues
- Health and Safety Engineer: Designs processes and systems that ensure the safety of people and the environment
- Campus Sustainability Coordinator/Manager: Works on operational issues, energy efficiency, waste and recycling, and student engagement in sustainability; may also work with faculty to develop the curriculum for a degree in Sustainability
Top-Paying Engineering Jobs
Engineering majors consistently lead the pack when it comes to top entry-level salaries, particularly with a master’s degree. According to a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 9 out of 10 of the highest paying careers for college majors are in engineering fields.
There are a variety of engineering specialties, from civil engineers who design roadways, to biomedical engineers who help to cure diseases, to chemical engineers. All of these experts are employed in a wide variety of businesses as the go-to person for taking ideas from the drawing board to the real world. All engineers use many methods of numerical analysis, as well as algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics.
Healthcare Jobs for Math Majors
Exciting new discoveries in healthcare are happening, in part because of mathematicians. Engineers are using math to design new diagnostic and surgical tools. Biostatics is a fascinating emerging field that applies statistics to study diseases, genetics, and medicine in general. Biomathematicians solve problems in biology, usually by creating a model of a biological system. Rutgers University reports that mathematical modeling methods have become increasingly important in all branches of biology.
The BLS forecasts a 17 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for mathematical science occupations. Jobs that intersect math and medicine include:
- Statistical programmer
- Biomedical engineer
- Radiology researcher
- Medical lab technician
- Bioinformatics specialist
No matter what career you’re interested in, it’s clear that math is somewhere in the equation. For more information and inspiration about math jobs and STEM, read Closing the STEM Gap for Girls and the companion blog, Women in Tech.