How to Become a Mathematician
Mathematician Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Mathematician
Mathematician Salaries
Influential Mathematicians
Leading Organizations for Mathematicians
Top Cities for Mathematician Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Mathematician

Mathematics is established in antiquity. It is one of the most vital sciences available to mankind. Mathematics has been constantly developed into various theories, computations, algorithmic techniques, and computer software that have and will continue to assist in the solving problems in diverse topics including engineering, the sciences, physics, business, and economics. Mathematics is classified as being either applied or theoretical/pure. These two classes are intertwined and they often overlie.

Persons with an interest in pursuing mathematics as a career can find these jobs in the Federal Government having acquired a bachelor's degree with a major in Mathematics. Outside the Federal Government more academic proficiency in the subject is a requirement and as such most people have master's or Ph.D. degrees. Many colleges and universities in the US offer courses that lead to bachelor's degrees in Mathematics. To qualify for these courses, one must have a background that includes knowledge in calculus, abstract and linear algebra, and differential equations. Other vital and related topics include topology, discrete mathematics, numerical analysis, probability & statistics, mathematical analysis and mathematical logic. In addition most colleges insist that students pursuing a major in mathematics take up a course in an affiliated area for example engineering, economics, physical sciences, or computer science etc. Mathematicians find employment mainly in the research and development departments of various firms. These mathematicians are normally attached to the technical divisions of these R&D departments. As noted above, the Federal Government offers mathematicians jobs as long as they have qualified with bachelor's degrees in the subject. In other areas of employment, this qualification is not sufficient. Most successful candidates have Ph.D.'s in the area while those who have master's degrees are moderately successful.

What does a Mathematician do?

Theoretical mathematicians ameliorate the subject by advancing new mathematical axioms and identifying hitherto undiscovered relationships that exist among the already established tenets of mathematics. Theoretical mathematicians do not tie themselves to the application aspects of these fundamental principles but their breakthroughs are the basis of the success of the many scientific and engineering feats that have been achieved and will continue to be achieved. Applied mathematicians on the other hand make use of these principles and theories to solve the many diverse mathematical problems that are inherent in daily life. These problems are in different sectors including economics, engineering, medicine, social sciences and government. Some applied mathematicians work in the R&D departments of industries where they formulate and improve upon mathematical methods to solve specific problems. A branch of applied mathematicians that are referred to as cryptanalysts decipher and interpret encrypted information packages. Cryptanalysts use these skills to interpret various codes that are used to convey information or data related to military, financial, or political matters. The simplest way to describe applied mathematics is by envisioning a particular problem, breaking it down into its constituent elements and then reducing these to mathematical variables. Having done this, the applied mathematicians then use computers to detect the relationships between these variables. Complex problems are then solved by means of formulating models that have alternate solutions. The field of applied mathematics is more diverse than that of theoretical mathematics. Applied mathematics is used by a large number of professionals in their daily work. Professionals like actuaries; computer scientists, engineers, economists and statisticians are all specialists in their respective branches of mathematics.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Mathematician?

Persons who wish to pursue careers in mathematics have to have the ability to reason critically. This reasoning capacity will enable them to identify, interpret, and analyze various mathematical and technical problems. This will then assist in deploying the right mathematical principles that will be suitable for solving the particular problems. Mathematicians should have competent communication skills that will assist them in the process of explaining the often complex principles and theories of the subject. This is more so for the purposes of addressing those who just have basic mathematical skills.

For applied mathematicians, it is necessary that they have a solid foundation in the course to which they wish to apply mathematics to. Therefore depending on the subject, applied mathematicians need knowledge in economics, computer science, engineering, industrial management, life sciences, finance, geology and operations research. Computer skills are especially relevant.

How much do Mathematicians make?

In May 2006 mathematicians earned an annual median average of $86,390. The highest 10% of this category earned $132,190 while the lowest 10% of this category earned $43,500. Within the Federal Government, the average annual salary for mathematicians in early 2007 was placed at $93,539. This category includes job descriptions that cover managerial, supervisory and non-supervisory positions. Mathematical statisticians earned average annual salaries of $96,121while cryptanalysts were entitled to an average annual salary of $90,435.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Steve Batterson is an Associate Professor in the mathematics department of the Emory University, Atlanta, GA. He was awarded a PhD in 1976 from Northwestern University. Steve has authored a book titled 'Stephen Smale: The Mathematician who Broke the Dimension Barrier'. John Allen Paulos was awarded a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin. He is currently a professor of mathematics at Temple. In addition he is a columnist, an author and a much liked public speaker. He is the 2002 recipient of the University Creativity Award. He received the American Association for the Advancement of Science award in 2003.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

DSPCon is a global leader in the supply of high performance applicable systems for data acquisition and analysis. These systems have applications in military, avionics, rotating machinery and also aerospace applications. Physik Instrumente is the global leader in supply of nano-positioning systems that are credited with being the fastest and most precise positioning and scanning instruments worldwide.

What are the top cities for Mathematician jobs?

There are job positions on offer in various sectors whether they are in applied or theoretical mathematics. Successful candidates will most likely be those with master's degrees or more preferably PhD. Jobs are available in Tucson, Lakewood, Baltimore, New York, and Chantilly.

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