Math intensive jobs: No research or teaching

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I've decided I really like math, but I'm too realistic to expect to make a living off of it alone. Are there any jobs for people who love to think, and quickly tire of calculation-based/statistics-like math.

I've considered the many engineering fields, but I'm guessing most of them would top out, in terms of math difficulty, at *maybe* some slightly challenging differential equations.

My three other considerations are physics, neuroscience, and computer science. I'm pretty sure I don't want to go into computer science, because it's one of the most exportable jobs there is. Are their good job prospects, for the next 40 yrs(Yeah, I know, it's a long time.) or so, in either of the other two?

Any other suggestions would also be appreciated.
 

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  • #2
I've considered the many engineering fields, but I'm guessing most of them would top out, in terms of math difficulty, at *maybe* some slightly challenging differential equations.
It's true--probably the most difficult math problem you'd find in all of engineering is solving a linear, separable PDE. Everything else is just a variant of the same old problem, just with different numbers.

My three other considerations are physics, neuroscience, and computer science. I'm pretty sure I don't want to go into computer science, because it's one of the most exportable jobs there is. Are their good job prospects, for the next 40 yrs(Yeah, I know, it's a long time.) or so, in either of the other two?
Do physics--you'll be a billionaire before you're 30, and beat the coming mass outsourcing of physics jobs.
 
  • #3
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It's true--probably the most difficult math problem you'd find in all of engineering is solving a linear, separable PDE. Everything else is just a variant of the same old problem, just with different numbers.



Do physics--you'll be a billionaire before you're 30, and beat the coming mass outsourcing of physics jobs.
...^?


To the OP, I don't its fair to say "I'm too realistic to make a living off(math) alone." What do you consider "a living?" Majoring in mathematics won't guarantee a job, but you definitely won't be working at a burger king(unless of course, you enjoy flipping burgers). I wouldn't necessarily say that about engineering either. There are some very math intensive engineering fields. There is a Quantum Engineering group at my university, so you can imagine that may involve quite a lot of math.
 
  • #4
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It's true--probably the most difficult math problem you'd find in all of engineering is solving a linear, separable PDE. Everything else is just a variant of the same old problem, just with different numbers.
So the Navier-Stokes equation is a linear separable PDE?
Maybe your engineering courses never went further than Pascal's law and Bernouilli's equation in fluids mechanics?
 
  • #5
So the Navier-Stokes equation is a linear separable PDE?
Maybe your engineering courses never went further than Pascal's law and Bernouilli's equation in fluids mechanics?
Please. No one uses those in practice.

... let me be clear that I am trying to employ humor. I thought the OP was being kind of cavalier about the whole, vast multi-discipline field of engineering.
 
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Please. No one uses those in practice.

... let me be clear that I am trying to employ humor. I thought the OP was being kind of cavalier about the whole, vast multi-discipline field of engineering.
I suspected as much when you said he'd become a billionaire. :rofl:
 
  • #7
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I don't expect to be a billionaire no matter what field I go into. (disregarding inflation) I just don't want to go to college for 8+ years to get a PhD in math to find there aren't any well paying entry level jobs. I consider well paying to be 80,000+.
 
  • #8
I don't expect to be a billionaire no matter what field I go into. (disregarding inflation) I just don't want to go to college for 8+ years to get a PhD in math to find there aren't any well paying entry level jobs. I consider well paying to be 80,000+.
My frank opinion is that you should not dismiss subjects that you don't yet know anything about. You might find it challenging and stimulating to get a degree in aerospace or electrical engineering--you should research these. Based on your opinions above, I think you're right not to want to go into pure math; by the same token, though, I would say you shouldn't go into physics. This is just my demi-semi-informed opinion, though.

No one can tell you for sure what the job market will look like in 8+ years, unfortunately. Even if we had a good prediction, in fact, that very knowledge would change the market, since more people would train for the jobs predicted to be in high demand, and so the demand would be lower than expected when the time finally came.
 
  • #9
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If you are going into math so you can get an $80,000/year job meeting lots of constraints ("I don't want to do X, Y or Z"), you shouldn't go into math. You will be disappointed.
 
  • #10
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Majoring in mathematics won't guarantee a job, but you definitely won't be working at a burger king(unless of course, you enjoy flipping burgers).
Actually, I do know people who work at places like Burger King who are in charge of coming up with the algorithms to make sure that the burgers get delivered to the right places at the right times.

Network optimization is a very complex problem.
 
  • #11
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If you are going into math so you can get an $80,000/year job meeting lots of constraints ("I don't want to do X, Y or Z"), you shouldn't go into math. You will be disappointed.
It depends on what those constraints are. A lot depends also on the alternatives.

(And non-linear functional optimization based on multiple constraints is a fascinating mathematical problem, which I've been spending the last several maths trying to get up to speed on.)
 
  • #12
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I'm pretty sure I don't want to go into computer science, because it's one of the most exportable jobs there is.
It depends on the type of job. There are some jobs which are "plumbing like" (i.e. the network is down, we need to fix it *NOW*) that can't get exported easily.

Also if the job market for technical jobs is better in China or India, then you have the option of moving to China or India.

Are their good job prospects, for the next 40 yrs(Yeah, I know, it's a long time.) or so, in either of the other two?
Personally, I've found that this is the wrong way of looking at the problem (not the least of which is because no one can tell you want the job market is in five years). Think of math as a skill, and if you can do math, you end up with more choices than someone that doesn't like or doesn't want to do math.

It's like reading. I can't tell you how reading is going to be useful, but it is.
 
  • #13
chiro
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I've decided I really like math, but I'm too realistic to expect to make a living off of it alone. Are there any jobs for people who love to think, and quickly tire of calculation-based/statistics-like math.

I've considered the many engineering fields, but I'm guessing most of them would top out, in terms of math difficulty, at *maybe* some slightly challenging differential equations.

My three other considerations are physics, neuroscience, and computer science. I'm pretty sure I don't want to go into computer science, because it's one of the most exportable jobs there is. Are their good job prospects, for the next 40 yrs(Yeah, I know, it's a long time.) or so, in either of the other two?

Any other suggestions would also be appreciated.
Aside from the standard applied math route, have you considered statistics? Its an applied science in demand. As the amount of data goes through the roof, we need people to make sense of it, and to do that you need statistics.

EDIT: Sorry I just caught a glimpse of "no statistics-like math" but even so I think its worth considering ;)
 
  • #14
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I don't expect to be a billionaire no matter what field I go into. (disregarding inflation) I just don't want to go to college for 8+ years to get a PhD in math to find there aren't any well paying entry level jobs. I consider well paying to be 80,000+.
I think we can all see why I wouldn't be good for any science/engineering field. My physics teacher would say: "80,000+ what? There's no units." I meant USD. :tongue:

I'm not that picky. I just want to go into something that isn't mind numbingly boring. Aerospace is a good suggestion, I'm going to look into that, and EE. It's probably the fact that the only science I've been exposed to so far has been basically "Here's you alg I level formula. Remember how to plug in numbers?" and that's about it.
 

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