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Math Career opportunities for Pure or computational mathematics

  1. Jul 13, 2012 #1
    I currently have a B.S. in mathematics and just got accepted into a Ph. D. program for math. In this program there are 4 different specializations: applied math, statistics, pure math, and computational math. Out of these pure math interests me the most, however, I'm afraid I won't be able to find a job outside of academia after I graduate (I'm not sure how much NSA is hiring).

    My second choice then would be computational math (I got a minor in computer science and enjoy the field). I would like to make a decent salary while still sticking to higher level math. Is that possible? Most forum threads I read say that mathematicians (outside of academia) end up not using much of the math that they learn.

    So if it seems like I'm rambling, this is the shortened version: what careers are there in computational math (I wasn't very successful with google), how competitive is the job market for this type of degree? Also, is there any chance of getting a job with pure mathematics? (the math in this interests me greatly) or should I just give up hope now?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2012 #2
    I am certainly not an expert on this topic since I am a physicist, but I will try to answer since you haven't received any other responses. With a degree in computational mathematics, I am sure that you would be marketable to companies like Google, or maybe working with financial mathematical modeling for banks (there are very well-paying jobs out there called quantitative analysts that you may qualify for, look that up). With a degree in pure mathematics, I think it would be much harder to find a job in industry, although you may still be able to find something in fiance, and I am sure you could easily be hired as a professor. In my opinion, computational math would have a much larger job market mostly because you'd also have computer skills so you'd be able to find many more industry jobs, while the academia job market for computational and pure math might be about the same. And if that's true, then it's just a matter of whether you want to stay in academia or work in industry (and also, of course, which field interests you more). To answer your other question, you will not use as much "higher level math" in industry as you'd use in academia. It's unfortunate, but much of what we learn in school is not applicable to the job we finally end up in.
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