Math department rejoicing over 2014 job rankings

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CareerCast’s infographic lists the best and worst jobs of 2014. Mathematician was ranked No. 1. (CareerCast)

BYU’s math department is reveling in a recent ranking of the best jobs of the year.

The ranking by job search site named mathematician the “Best Job of the 2014,” with several other numbers-focused careers in the top ten.

“I was a little bemused,” Emily Evans, visiting assistant professor at BYU, said when she read the article. “I am a mathematician, I’m on the track to be a tenured professor, and my husband is an actuary. I guess we make good career decisions in our house.”

According to CareerCast, they make great career decisions. Tenured professors came in at second-place for best job, statistician in third place and actuary in fourth.

But out of all of these, why did mathematician come out on top?

Mathematicians reportedly have a high median salary, a 22 percent projected growth rate by 2022 and a versatility that is expected to grow in the next few years.

CareerCast rated the jobs on more than just outlook and salary. Mathematician jobs also scored high (or rather, low) on stress factors and environment based on physical demands and emotional elements.

Evans said the number of job opportunities alone allow for people to choose and keep jobs with a good environment.

“The number-one reason I would say studying mathematics is worthwhile is that it teaches you to think and to reason,” Evans said. “These thinking and reasoning skills allow you to adapt to nearly any STEM job out there that you put your mind to.”

Teaching isn’t the only career for math degrees, and emerging trends show just how many options are available. CareerCast said math is reviving, and the game changer is analytics.

Now more than ever, mathematicians are hired to analyze trends and forecast consumer behaviors.

Evans agreed with the website. “Analytics is on the rise because we have the ability to gather and obtain way more information about people than we ever did before,” she explained. “With the data available we can actually start to make accurate predictions about everything from what people will buy at the store to how long they will live.”

Jobs in technology, education and the sciences dominated the website’s top ten ranking, while lumberjacks and newspaper reporters took last and second to last place out of the 200 jobs listed.

CareerCast publisher Tony Lee summed up the rankings when he said, “Math skills unlock a world of career opportunities.”

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