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Maths Careers are Anything but Average!

Staff Blogger Katrina Mansfield Head of Maths – Senior School

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is all around us helping us cure diseases, make sense of increasing volumes of data and new technologies. Science, Technology and Engineering all require Mathematics therefore one could say that 75% of the fastest growing jobs require Maths. Our workforce requires great problem-solvers that can embrace the new and the creativity to innovate the future.

Maths Matters in Everyday Life

One of the expectations we have when our children finish school is that they will be numerate so that they can live and work successfully in the 21st century. I am sure we all agree that studying Mathematics aids our numeracy skills and helps us do many things that are important in our everyday lives. Daily tasks such as managing money, planning a trip, preparing a meal, understanding loans and undertaking renovations to name a few are all essential tasks that we hope our children will be able to master when they leave school.

Mathematics is more than being numerate. Mathematics helps us become better problem-solvers. The learning process your son undertakes in maths class teaches his brain to be able to solve any type of problem. Studying mathematics teaches him to think logically, to ask questions and consider his conclusions all of which are very useful life skills.

Mathematics can be challenging however this is part of the beauty of the subject. Through persistence and resilience, one should strive to overcome these challenges which enhances one’s ability to become a better problem-solver both inside and outside the classroom. A necessary skill we hope all our boys will achieve.

The Maths Classroom

Sometimes in a maths class you hear a boy say, “Where am I ever going to use mathematics?” and it can be hard to explain for some more algebraic and abstract topics. Underlying the subject matter is the critical thinking that takes place which helps your son become a better problem-solver. Mathematics is a way of thinking which explores and solves problems through observation, reflection, and logical reasoning.

Underpinning the topics being taught in the classroom are three important skill sets which aim to equip the boys to live and work successfully in the 21st century. The boys use literacy in mathematics to understand and interpret word problems, pose, and answer questions, engage in problem-solving and discuss, produce, and explain solutions. Development of numeracy skills ensures your son manages the mathematical demands of everyday life, the world of work and further education. Numerate citizens who are constructive, engaged and reflective are able to use mathematics to help make credible judgments and reasoned decisions .

The boys also develop the attributes and skills to prepare them to engage in our complex and rapidly changing world. Exploring digital technologies and developing critical and creative thinking are essential components in teaching and learning Mathematics. Engaging the boys in reasoning and thinking about solutions to problems and the strategies needed to determine solutions develops the skills needed to be a critical thinker which prepares them for any future pathway they choose when they leave school.

Where can Maths take you?

Many boys are thinking about subject choices and career pathways at this time of year, so it is timely to consider pathways requiring Mathematics. Mathematics is essential in the 21st century workforce and it opens doors into nearly every industry.

Believe it or not, hundreds of careers use skills learned in high school mathematics daily. The truth is virtually every career you could choose will build on the basic skills learned in high school including careers in hospitality, retail, trade, and community services to name a few.

Further study in mathematics continues to develop the problem solving, computing and communication skills that employers want which opens the door to a wide variety of careers. Technological changes across the world have paved the way for mathematical advances – in finance, biology, weather simulation, medical diagnosis, image processing, for example – providing many new kinds of job opportunities. Mathematical skill has kept pace with these advances, so mathematics graduates are highly sought-after to give a competitive advantage. Mathematicians are trained to think logically and to approach problems in analytical and creative ways.

Careers Powered by Maths

Interesting Jobs Powered by Maths

While it is impossible to explore all the career pathways after undertaking further study in Mathematics, it is hoped that the list below sparks some intrigue to continue to explore more exciting opportunities in this field.

Animator

An animator is an artist who creates multiple images called frames and key frames that form an illusion of movement called animation when rapidly displayed. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, video games, and the internet. An animator must have knowledge of many applied maths subjects. It allows the animator to find unknowns from a simple set of equations and to work out aspects of geometric figures when you are dealing with objects that move and change. An animator uses linear algebra to show the way that an object is rotated and shifted and made larger and smaller—all major actions in animation.

Cryptanalyst

Cryptanalysts design, implement, and analyse algorithms for solving problems. They analyse and decipher secret coding systems and decode messages for military, political, or law enforcement agencies or organisations. They help provide privacy for people and corporations and keep hackers out of important data systems. They are constantly working on new ways to encrypt information.

Epidemiologist

An epidemiologist investigates and describes the causes and spread of disease and develops the means for prevention or control. They may study many different illnesses, often focusing on major infectious diseases such as influenza. Epidemiologists use mathematical models to track the progress of most infectious diseases. They may also discover the likely outcome of an epidemic or to help manage them by vaccination.

Forensic Scientist

Forensic scientists use scientific techniques to solve criminal cases. They use bloodstain pattern analysis to tell the story of the crime. Analysts use maths principles to figure out the location of the victim when the blood was shed and even the type of weapon or impact that caused the victim’s injury.

Mathematician

Mathematicians use mathematical theory, computational techniques, algorithms, and the latest computer technology to solve economic, scientific, engineering, and business problems. Many people are familiar with mathematicians in academia, but mathematicians also work in many other fields, including astronomy and space exploration, climate study, medicine, robotics, animated films, a wide range of businesses and government agencies.

Operations Researcher

Operations research applies analytical and mathematical methods to help make better decisions. It deals with such questions as “What is the optimal way to schedule a set of tasks?” and “What is the most efficient way to arrange the flow of traffic?” Examples include the scheduling of a sport team’s games, the restocking of large businesses such as Bunnings, the scheduling of surgery in hospitals (i.e., arranging physicians, patients, nurses, and operating rooms), the synchronisation of stoplights in a city, the evacuation of a building or a stadium, and the implementation of efficient delivery routes for Australia Post or airlines.

Software Engineer

Programming or coding is an essential skill for any mathematics student who wants a career in industry or business since there are many companies from small start-ups to large international companies that are constantly in need of programmers. Companies that hire mathematics students as programmers include large tech firms such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

Statistician

Statistics is the scientific application of mathematical principles to the collection, analysis, and presentation of numerical data. Statisticians apply their mathematical and statistical knowledge to the design of surveys and experiments; the collection, processing, and analysis of data; and the interpretation of the experiment and survey results. Opinion polls, statements of accuracy on scales and other measuring devices, and information about average earnings in an occupation are all usually the work of statisticians.

The list of careers above only touches the surface of what direction your son could take if he were to invest in a career in mathematics. The intention is to demonstrate that there are a broad variety of careers across many branches of Mathematics. CLICK HERE for further information on the many career opportunities using Mathematics.

When you have future conversations with your son regarding his subject selection and future pathways, take the opportunity to discuss the importance of Mathematics and the many interesting and exciting career opportunities on offer for him to explore. Continuing studies in Mathematics ensures more great problem-solvers which we need in this rapidly changing world.

To continue the conversation about Maths, click here to email the author.

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