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Math Prospects for computational math majors

  1. Aug 20, 2008 #1
    Recently I was asking myself this question too often: who would realistically hire a candidate with B.S. in computational mathematics alone w/o any experience?

    I understand that there is a math major and there is a computer science major. Computational math seems to be something in between, but I am not sure how useful is it. It seems as if most employers will want that person to hold a Ph.D. in math or computer science alone. If Ph.D. or master degree is not an option, what real jobs (i.e. realistically obtainable) can such candidate hope for?

    Please do not hesitate to give a tough answer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2008 #2
    The reality is even math PHDs are worthless (outside of academia). So with a bachelor I imagine things would be worse.

    Having said that, finance has opened its eyes to mathematicians. They must have realized their economists don't know squat about math and are looking to get real work done. This means banks are looking for mathematicians, in such fields as finance, risk theory, and the quant sectors. You can also work for an insurance company as an actuary, provided you took several statistics courses along with your math. Some of these would require you to pass a series of exams, so you'd need to do a little independent study to become qualified.
  4. Aug 20, 2008 #3
    I think recruiters working for finance are very picky. I also heard that most of the jobs in finance (and private sector in general) go to those who are well-networked. I think that some people (not all) decide to pursue Ph.D. out of desperation but in the end it's the connections they make that really matter. Therefore my chances are probably not so great because I don't have any connections yet.

    I am really interested in working for U.S. army as a computer/math specialist. However, I feel like a total newbie to the question of employment issues, so please feel free to correct me and give most sincere/tough advice. I have surveyed some army/government job offers for positions requiring math skills. It seems that they do have a need for people with math/computer skills at the Bachelor degree level. The question is: do they really need math skilled personnel or are those job offers just a fiction they have to post on their websites and real jobs go to veterans and other enlisted personnel? Does anybody have information on how to GET a reasonable entry-level civilian job offer utilizing math at government/army? By advice, I don't mean the usual "apply and wait until they never call you back."

    Thanks in advance.
  5. Aug 20, 2008 #4
    You can be become a actuary.It takes forever to become one,but you get very high and a ver very flexible work schedules. \
    Math tend to be a double major subject from what I see. CompSci+Math ,physics + math and even engineering + math isn't uncommon at all
  6. Aug 25, 2008 #5
    Well duh, connections obviously get you to better jobs and faster. You would have to work your way up. You can apply to banks in sectors that are related to math, ie quant sectors. Expect menial work at first before you ever use any math.

    As already stated, you can become an actuary. A job that has great prospects and pays extremely well (we're talking 6 digits). The work may be boring, as it is mostly elementary algebra with some statistics. You are required to pass ~8 exams which are very difficult, which on average take about 4-8 years. After 2 or 3 exams (takes 1-2 years), you would find actuarial-related work and make a steady income of about 60k year. Your promotions, roughly 5-10k per exam, come with the number of exams you comeplete. You need to be there about 10 years before you are certified and do some exciting work.

    This would be somewhat of a career change, as you will need to learn new math despite having a math major. In essence, these are not real "math jobs". Some of them even have specialized degrees of their own. I honestly don't know where a math major could go beyond highschool. I can think of a lot of places that need a mathematician... but that is no real answer either. I hope other users provide job opporunitiies for math BS, because as I see it there are none, unless you are virtually changing your career path entirely.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  7. Aug 25, 2008 #6


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    Computational math is one of the most useful majors. Everyone in science and engineering uses a bunch of programs which do computational math. They need people like you to code them.
    I can't give specific examples, since it's way out of my field, but I know that someone majoring in computational physics or computational math is probably more employable than anyone else in physics or math.

    Talk to your advisor about it.
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