If you’re a fan of numbers, logic, and problem solving, you probably excel at maths.
Enjoying and being good at maths opens a lot of career doors, according to Dr Tim Bodisco, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering in Deakin’s School of Engineering.
‘Maths teaches you to think logically and equips you with the skills to develop models that help us understand the world or predict changes in the future,’ he says.
‘It is often far easier to train someone in an application than it is in these sorts of skills. As such, mathematicians enjoy good job prospects.’
Here, we explore four different fields that use maths to explain real world problems and create a brighter future for society.
Job opportunities in engineering include:
- Aerospace engineer
- Agricultural engineer
- Automotive engineer
- Biomedical engineer
- Civil engineer
- Computer engineer
- Drafting and design engineer
- Electrical engineer
- Environmental engineer
- Geological engineer
- Marine engineer
- Mechanical engineer
- Software engineer
Why should someone who likes maths pursue a career in engineering?
Dr Bodisco says the evolution of technology is making modern engineering increasingly complex.
‘The case of the engineer is interesting as, arguably more than other areas, there is an expectation of being an all-rounder. You are good at maths, science, technology and have the capacity to be creative and think innovatively,’ he explains.
Dr Bodisco says that with the significant increase in the amount of data being generated, the people who pursue careers in technology areas that are data-driven, such as engineering, are good at maths.
‘A strong foundation in maths is a strong foundation in the science which underpins new technology. A strong foundation in maths is also a strong foundation in the logical skills required to understand and evaluate new technology and natural phenomena.
‘Ultimately, engineering provides an interesting and rewarding pathway for people who are quantitatively inclined seeking an interesting future in a role where they can make a difference.’
What type of maths is used by engineers?
‘The type of maths used is very application dependent,’ Dr Bodisco says. ‘Like in many fields, different mathematicians have a tendency to gravitate toward particular ways of doing things.
‘Personally, I use a lot of meta-heuristic optimisation when I build models from real data to better understand features of that data and therefore the systems that generated it.
‘Typically most mathematicians will become good at calculus, algebra and statistics. Modern mathematicians are also generally good at functional computer programming,’ he says.
What other skills or interests are required for a successful career in engineering?
Dr Bodisco says that developing good programming skills is important – not just for engineering, but for careers in any quantitative area – maths and science included.
‘Data sets are getting larger, analysis methods are getting more complicated. Future options limit themselves fairly quickly when you are unable to deal with this yourself,’ he explains.
Like the idea of becoming an engineer? Check out Deakin’s engineering courses.
Wildlife and conservation biology
Job opportunities in wildlife and conservation biology include:
- Wildlife ecologist
- Conservation biologist
Why should someone who likes maths pursue a career in wildlife and conservation biology?
Associate Professor John White from Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences explains a career in this field involves addressing problems in wildlife and the ecosystem using maths.
‘Wildlife and conservation biology is an area pursued by people who want to make a difference to the natural world,’ he says.
‘Imagine using maths and statistics to improve our understanding of what drives species extinctions, and even more excitingly, use that understanding to halt extinctions.’
What type of maths is used by wildlife ecologists and conservation biologists?
Assoc. Prof. White says in both of these disciplines, it’s necessary to have a sound understanding of numbers and trends.
‘The key mathematical approaches used in conservation biology often revolve around statistics and statistical modelling,’ Assoc. Prof. White says.
‘This field has many modellers who use statistics and other mathematical approaches to look for patterns in datasets, to help develop better conservation strategies.
‘Using statistics to understand trends in environmental data, often through time, allows us to better understand species declines, and more importantly look for what may be driving these declines,’ Assoc. Prof. White explains.
‘With this knowledge it is possible to design conservation strategies, and again use maths to understand if these approaches are effective.’
What other skills or interests are required for a successful career in wildlife and conservation biology?
‘You need to have a passion for the natural world, a motivation to make a difference, and a team-orientated approach to work,’ Assoc. Prof. White says.
Interested in wildlife and conservation biology? Check out Deakin’s range of courses in the field.