If you are considering earning your Bachelor of Arts in Math, let’s do a little number crunching to expose the earning potential that accompanies a career in math. You may be surprised by both the demand and salaries for math jobs as more and more industries employ mathematicians to use computational techniques to analyze and solve problems, drive productivity, and achieve corporate goals.
Jobs in Mathematics
While the top jobs for math degrees are often found within the federal government and research and development companies, jobs in mathematics can increasingly be found in settings throughout the corporate hierarchy. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 33% growth rate for mathematicians through 2030, which is significantly higher than the growth for all jobs. But which jobs requiring math degrees are in high demand? Let’s look at a few.
Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze financial risk and uncertainty for companies, most often within the insurance industry. Using data, actuaries help inform policies and financial decisions to minimize short and long-term risk for their businesses or clients. In addition to compiling statistical information, they also estimate probability and even test specific insurance policies to determine whether the company should issue the policy and what the premium should be. Actuaries help organizations strike the balance between profit and financial risk, making adjustments to policies and costs by perpetually assessing data models and trends related to crime rates, weather patterns, demographics, regional health data, claim trends, and myriad other factors.
A Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a concentration in Actuarial Science from Ottawa University will position you well for landing a job as an actuary. In addition to the mastery of calculus, algebra, geometry, statistics, and computer programming you’ll receive in the mathematics degree, the concentration covers probability and statistics, stochastic processes and risk models, forecasting, micro and macroeconomics, and more to learn how to manage large data streams, discern trends, and calculate risk.
Data scientists use computational principles, methods, and systems to gather and analyze data to solve business problems. Once the problem is identified, data scientists, often in conjunction with other corporate entities, determine the data that needs to be collected and analyzed for developing a solution. After it is collected, the data often must be converted from raw data into “clean” useable data (data wrangling) for detailed analysis. Once clean, data scientists may use software for visualizing the data and machine learning algorithms and appropriate computational and statistical methods to help with the analysis and prediction of trends. Following compilation, data scientists communicate the results regarding what was learned from the data and help appropriate the data for a solution. Helpful skills for data scientists include mathematics, statistics, computer science, programming, and domain knowledge.
Data engineers are the builders of the systems used to collect, manage, and convert raw data into usable information that data scientists analyze and interpret. It is their job to make data accessible so companies can use it to solve problems and achieve their business goals. In that context, data engineers often work with management to understand their goals; acquire the data that aligns with those goals; develop algorithms to clean the collected data so it is usable; build and maintain database pipeline architectures; manage data warehouses; develop data validation methods and analysis tools; and develop reports, dashboards, and tools for business users. Data engineers are also tasked with ensuring compliance with data governance and security policies, and depending on the size of the organization, may be tasked with organizing large data sets and identifying trends within them.
Senior Actuarial Analysts
Think of senior actuarial analysts (SAA) as the big guns of the insurance industry. An organization’s high-level actuarial calculations and data analysis are generally reserved for senior actuarial analysts. In fact, they often help develop unique statistical models and tools to calculate potential profits, losses, and risks for a company’s proposed business plans and processes. The SAA gathers and analyzes the identified data and utilizes the model to draw conclusions from the results, adjusting the model as necessary throughout the process. The SAA then communicates the data and its analysis to senior officers, usually through reports and presentations. The SAA may also oversee and train junior actuaries and work with other departments to coordinate data collection.
You likely benefit from software developers every day, whether by mapping the route to your friend’s house on your phone, playing your favorite computer game, or using an app to create and maintain a budget. Software developers are the designers of computer and mobile applications or programs, based on client goals and user needs, either to solve a problem, provide entertainment or make life easier. Software developers are divided into two camps – those who develop applications and those who develop systems software. Applications software developers design computer and mobile applications, usually for consumers. Systems software developers create networks or operating systems software that power programs in the medical, military, business, industrial, communications, and myriad other fields. Both types of software development involve writing code.
Impressively, jobs in mathematics garner salaries that are much higher than average. In fact, the median annual wage for mathematicians at all levels was $108,100 in May 2021, according to BLS. But what about the specific math jobs we outlined above? They are equally impressive.
While an entry-level actuary earns an average of $65K a year, after only 1-4 years in the industry, salaries can jump to ~$83K. After only 5 years, actuaries can earn as much as $112K, moving all the way to $132K after 10 years in the field.
Showing the increasing need for these professionals, entry-level data scientists can expect to begin their career earning an average salary of $85K. After 1-4 years, that increases to $96K, to $111K after 5 years, and to $123K after 10 years.
Starting salaries for senior actuarial analysts are, on average, $83K. With five years of experience, salaries go up to ~$96K; after 10 years, salaries generally cap out at $98K.
Data engineers begin their careers with an average salary of $77K, moving to $88K after 1-4 years. After only five years, however, that can jump significantly to $106K, and $117K after 10 years.
Entry-level software developers can expect to earn ~$65K, rising to $71K after 1-4 years. At the 5-9 year mark, annual pay can go up to $85K, while the experienced 10-year developer can earn $95K. The job usually tops out at around $99K.
Skills Needed for Math Professions
Math professions have several common skills that employers look for. For example, most will be required to identify specific data to be collected to solve problems; design various methods for collecting data; develop mathematical or statistical models to analyze data; and interpret data and report findings to both technical and non-technical audiences. Most also require computer programming skills using programming languages and systems such as Python.
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a related subject is required, with a strong mastery of calculus, algebra, geometry, and statistics, in addition to computer programming mentioned above. These are all part of Ottawa University’s Bachelor of Arts in Math. Also included is calculus-based probability and its application to inferential statistics, as well as numerical techniques and algorithms fundamental to scientific computer work. Strong skills in logic and critical thinking provide the foundation for all of these areas of study, along with the ability to effectively communicate with internal and external stakeholders. Throughout the program, students develop problem-solving, decision-making, and systems analysis skills, as well as the ability to plan within financial, economic, managerial, and technological contexts. Meanwhile, the economics and business ethics training will give you an extra nod by employers looking to fill jobs for math degrees.
Other Math-Related Skills
Additional skills have been identified as desirable for many high-paying math jobs. For example, experience with financial modeling, risk management, product development, forecasting, and statistical analysis can be potential hiring and salary boosters. On the programming and data engineering side, skills and experience with machine learning, cyber security, SQL, Linus systems, distributed systems, robotics, Java, Kafka, Hive, and/or Storm are examples of hiring and salary boosters.
It All Adds Up!
The average job satisfaction rating for professionals with these jobs in mathematics is 3.9 out of 5. Coupled with the higher-than-average pay, it’s safe to say that jobs for math degrees might be the perfect career path to pursue. Call us to enroll today!
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