Very interesting article on why you should consider a degree in math if you are interested in math.
Mathematics is the study of quantity, structure, space and change. As abstract as that may seem, math is, at its core, a quest for absolutes, definitive solutions and answers. We may think of long numeric chains, seas of fractions or spreadsheets stacked with figures, but what many don’t realize is that math’s complex equations are in fact roads to simplicity. Believers in better, faster, smarter solutions are often drawn to math.
So, what is a degree in math, exactly? Those that go to college to pursue a mathematics degree find out along the way that numbers are just a fraction of the allure. Math can teach us how to look longer and harder for solutions – a skill applicable to any career and life in general.
We need math. Galileo Galilei used it to explain the universe. Math resolves truths and uncovers errors. It makes our work more credible. Reports, studies and research are all but discounted without quantifiable facts. Math equals proof. Math validates.
The Mathematical Association of America cites a CareerCast report ranking mathematics the best job for 2014 based on factors such as environment, income, outlook, and stress. The job of statistician was ranked third. Actuary was ranked fourth. In addition, a PayScale study reports that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees have mathematics as a common denominator.
But, Psychology Today reports that most of us are in awe of math. It’s slightly mysterious. It makes things look smart, including the mathematician behind the math. What is a degree in math? It’s a professional pathway, and an attractive one for many reasons. It is also a unique way of seeing the world.
Math is All Around Us
Whether you like mathematics or are even very good it, math is around us all the time. When you’re at the department store, balancing your checkbook or doing your taxes, mathematics is a necessary skill. It can even improve your sports game.
“There’s math all over the place in soccer,” Southern New Hampshire University’s mathematics department chairwoman Dr. Pamela Cohen told pro soccer player Calen Carr in this video. From the curve – also known as a “parabola” – of a kicked ball to the rigidness of playing in triangles on the field, math factors into every aspect of the game. What is a math degree to an athlete? A competitive edge on the field.
Many professions, such as engineering, medicine, physics, nurses, computer science and actuarial science, require math proficiency. Virtually all fields benefit from the analytical and problem-solving skills students learn in mathematics. Anyone entering a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career is expected to have harnessed basic and advanced math concepts.
Even professions as diverse as chefs or gardeners use math fundamentals when measuring and purchasing supplies. If you are an event planner, math will help you figure per-head costs and inventory. Seamstresses and decorators use math daily, as does anyone who works with measurements and schedules.
You Don’t Have to be a Mathlete
Many people believe math talent to be something that is inherited or are born with. Not so, say researchers. Natural ability in math only gets you so far. Hard work and good study habits are far more valuable. As such, students entering college math degree programs aren’t the math-minded geniuses. Some didn’t even like math growing up, says a Quartz article that looks at why some kids excel at math and others don’t. The authors – economy and finance professors – make the case that something said by a grade school teacher years ago could be the reason a child is turned off to math or thinks he or she is bad at it. Some educators and parents also have a bad habit of labeling kids as either math kids or reading kids.