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Love maths? Consider these four careers

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.

Engineering

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.

'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'

Dr Tim Bodsico,
School of Engineering, Deakin University

Information Technology

Job opportunities in information technology include:

  • Data analyst
  • Teacher
  • Scientist
  • Actuary

Why should someone who likes maths pursue a career in information technology?

Michelle Cyganowski is a lecturer in Deakin’s School of Information Technology, and teaches maths to students completing the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Forensic Science and education degrees.

‘Liking and being good at maths or statistics would set someone apart in these fields and improve their employability,’ she explains.

‘Maths and statistics help model and explain real world problems. And it’s fun!’

What type of maths is used by information technologists?

‘Statistics, algebra and calculus,’ Cyganowski says.

What other skills or interests are required for a successful career in information technology?

‘Computer literacy, analytical and problem solving skills, good communication skills including being able to report results in plain English,’ Cyganowski says.

Thinking of studying information technology? Check out Deakin’s IT courses.

Construction management

Job opportunities in construction management include:

  • Estimating
  • Cost planning
  • Scheduling

Why should someone who likes maths pursue a career in construction management?

Linda Tivendale, a senior lecturer in construction management in Deakin’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, explains that construction is a field in which a solid grounding in maths makes nearly every aspect of the job easier.

‘Components of buildings must all be placed in the correct location and measured for installation and pricing,’ she says.

‘Construction management is an exciting career where you can play a part in watching a building grow. If you also understand maths that can make it all happen more smoothly.’

What type of maths is used by construction managers?

‘Basic arithmetic, geometry, some probability, and algebra can be helpful in understanding structural concepts,’ Tivendale says.

What other skills or interests are required for a successful career in construction management?

‘An interest in people! You will be working with a broad range of people and good people skills is an advantage.

‘And an interest in working outside – though there are also many construction management jobs that are not site-based,’ she says.

Want to work in construction management? Study it at Deakin.

this. featured experts
Dr Tim Bodisco
Dr Tim Bodisco

Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Deakin University

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Assoc. Prof. John White
Assoc. Prof. John White

Associate Professor, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University

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Michelle Cyganowski
Michelle Cyganowski

Lecturer, School of Information Technology, Deakin University

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Linda Tivendale
Linda Tivendale

Senior Lecturer in Construction Management, School of Architecture and Built Environment, Deakin University

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