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Careers for Applied Math B.A.

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  • Thread starter Kalinka35
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Obviously the job market is tough for everyone right now, but I was wondering whether anyone might have some guidance for me.

I graduated in May 2010 with a B.A. in Math with an Applied concentration from a midwestern liberal arts college. My grades were pretty decent, but I got a few B+'s in there. I didn't come in with a lot of math credit and I studied abroad so I didn't end up getting to take a ton of advanced math classes that would have been interesting/helpful. I took one semester of intro level CS so I can do some very basic programming, but nothing fancy.

I think I would like statistics (since I didn't get to take advanced stat classes I'm not totally sure) or something involving data mining. I've done a bit of looking into actuarial stuff, but I've been hearing a lot about how dismal the job market is for that now.

I'm starting to get the feeling that my degree is totally worthless and I was just wondering if someone might be able to point me in the direction of career paths that haven't thought of and/or post-B.A. classes that might help to enhance my credentials.

Thanks a lot.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
chiro
Science Advisor
4,790
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Obviously the job market is tough for everyone right now, but I was wondering whether anyone might have some guidance for me.

I graduated in May 2010 with a B.A. in Math with an Applied concentration from a midwestern liberal arts college. My grades were pretty decent, but I got a few B+'s in there. I didn't come in with a lot of math credit and I studied abroad so I didn't end up getting to take a ton of advanced math classes that would have been interesting/helpful. I took one semester of intro level CS so I can do some very basic programming, but nothing fancy.

I think I would like statistics (since I didn't get to take advanced stat classes I'm not totally sure) or something involving data mining. I've done a bit of looking into actuarial stuff, but I've been hearing a lot about how dismal the job market is for that now.

I'm starting to get the feeling that my degree is totally worthless and I was just wondering if someone might be able to point me in the direction of career paths that haven't thought of and/or post-B.A. classes that might help to enhance my credentials.

Thanks a lot.
Data mining and actuarial are stats-intensive courses. I'm not sure if you know this, but actuarial careers are specialized and take many years of postgraduate study to get qualified as an actuary.

Applied math has a lot of applications and if you "understand" the processes required to work in applied math, then you will be able to pick up the domain specific knowledge in little time and be able to do whatever job you have to do.

Have you looked at sites like the AMS? Also any university worth its salt should have a thorough careers advice unit, and also a careers fair.

If I were you I would ask a careers advisor and also ask if you have a careers fair, because that's a good way to get an idea not only the kinds of jobs out there, but also important specifics of the jobs.

You could get the same information here with multiple posters in different careers, but its going to be easier to talk to someone to get your information quickly and concisely.
 
  • #3
I graduated in 2007 with the same degree and pretty much the same conclusions. There's a lot that's not open to you unless you have some more statistics or comp sci in your background. That said, you'll pretty much need any experience right now just not to have gaps in your resume. It's kind of important that people see you're willing to work, regardless of what the job may be (because a lot of jobs out there are actually pretty tedious a lot of the time).

I wound up going back to school to study CS myself and wound up getting work in the area of desktop support rather quickly. The technical vendor certifications I gained after school were somewhat critical to helping me get that first job too. I am on the microsoft certified systems engineer track and have finished 4 of 7 exams. I also have heard a lot about comp TIA A+ tech certs getting people started. You probably don't need much other than a bachelors in something and one of these certs to break into an IT type career.

On the plus side, network administration/engineering/analysts are probably going to be the job titles out there with the most opportunities in the next 10-20 years. Especially in the health care sector. There's a lot of really old systems, tons of paper and documents, and government money out there encouraging hospitals and offices to get better connected electronically. Plus, the world itself is going everything over IP (if you know what that means, you're ahead of the game). Just know that you likely won't start doing anything terribly interesting if you do land a job in IT. You'll start at the helpdesk.
 
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