Math degrees
Math degrees
There was a story in my local paper about unemployment rates for recent college graduates, broken down by field of study. A math degree was in the top five (meaning, the five lowest unemployment rates.)
My teenage son, who likes math, read the article and asked "what can you do with a math degree other than teach math?" I named a couple of things off the top of my head, but then drew a blank.
So... what types of jobs are typically available to a new graduate with a math degree?
My teenage son, who likes math, read the article and asked "what can you do with a math degree other than teach math?" I named a couple of things off the top of my head, but then drew a blank.
So... what types of jobs are typically available to a new graduate with a math degree?
Re: Math degrees
My husband has a degree in math and taught HS math right out of college. Then he went in the golf business for awhile and has worked for the last 15 years in the steel business in purchasing. Not sure you could get the purchasing gig right out of college with that degree  but he definitely uses it every day...
Re: Math degrees
My wife has a math degree and worked as an actuary right out of college (she got a graduate degree in a different field later).
The government agency I work for employs a fair number of people with math backgrounds in analytical positions, doing both statistical analysis and modeling.
There's also probably a lot of people who don't "use their math degree" in their work, but whose math degree made them attractive to employers.
The government agency I work for employs a fair number of people with math backgrounds in analytical positions, doing both statistical analysis and modeling.
There's also probably a lot of people who don't "use their math degree" in their work, but whose math degree made them attractive to employers.
 Optimistic
 Posts: 316
 Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:05 pm

 Posts: 1993
 Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
 Location: North Carolina
Re: Math degrees
Tom_T wrote:There was a story in my local paper about unemployment rates for recent college graduates, broken down by field of study. A math degree was in the top five (meaning, the five lowest unemployment rates.)
My teenage son, who likes math, read the article and asked "what can you do with a math degree other than teach math?" I named a couple of things off the top of my head, but then drew a blank.
So... what types of jobs are typically available to a new graduate with a math degree?
I once had a boss with MS in Advanced Mathematics. I was always impressed with his ability to analyze business and budget matters using his math skills. I have BS in Accounting which only have limited math exposure and it was a revealation to see what he could do. I could see a combintion of bus admin and math being a good combination. Someone earlier mentioned using skills with "big data", i.e. analysis of huge datasets accumulated by companies to mine for various purposes. I spent 40 years in IT and few IT pros have the deep math training that is required for that.

 Posts: 492
 Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am
Re: Math degrees
I think this is a big problem with high schools, kid's dont know what jobs they can get with certain degrees...but thats probably another discussion.
Off of the top of my head, statisticians are big with quality control and R&D, investment banking doing risk analysis, actuaries doing insurance stuff, plus Im sure if can highly benefit in IT.
Off of the top of my head, statisticians are big with quality control and R&D, investment banking doing risk analysis, actuaries doing insurance stuff, plus Im sure if can highly benefit in IT.
Re: Math degrees
Thanks for the links. I was certainly planning to do a little research. I just wanted to get some "real world" feedback from my fellow Bogleheads.
Re: Math degrees
My younger brother just graduated in June with a double B.S. in Math & Econ and is starting with a data management software company at the end of the month.
Re: Math degrees
I know people who had undergraduate mathematics degrees and then got advanced degrees in or otherwise transitioned into computer science, electrical engineering, operations research, statistics, and actuarial science. These occupations are in higher demand and better compensated than pure mathematics.
Victoria
Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest.  Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
 cheese_breath
 Posts: 6569
 Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm
Re: Math degrees
VictoriaF wrote:I know people who had undergraduate mathematics degrees and then got advanced degrees in or otherwise transitioned into computer science, electrical engineering, operations research, statistics, and actuarial science. These occupations are in higher demand and better compensated than pure mathematics.
Victoria
A math degree demonstrates that you have a logical mind, and this opens up all kinds of possibilities.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
Re: Math degrees
cheese_breath wrote:VictoriaF wrote:I know people who had undergraduate mathematics degrees and then got advanced degrees in or otherwise transitioned into computer science, electrical engineering, operations research, statistics, and actuarial science. These occupations are in higher demand and better compensated than pure mathematics.
Victoria
A math degree demonstrates that you have a logical mind, and this opens up all kinds of possibilities.
I agree,
Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest.  Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

 Posts: 197
 Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:50 pm
Re: Math degrees
Actuarials often have math degrees (or at least a BS in math).

 Posts: 101
 Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:29 pm
Re: Math degrees
I have a BS in Math, and spent 10 years as a retirement plan consultant. Now I work in HR  Comp & Ben  for a large multinational.
There are lots of career options for math majors outside teaching.
There are lots of career options for math majors outside teaching.
Re: Math degrees
We hire many mathematicians in a variety of research engineering positions. Data analysis, algorithm development, scientific software of all sorts.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

 Posts: 7501
 Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:32 pm
Re: Math degrees
A bit more work, but the student could double up with computer science, business, or other disciplines. Or go for a minor in math with something else as the major.
Brian
Brian
Re: Math degrees
Default User BR wrote:A bit more work, but the student could double up with computer science, business, or other disciplines. Or go for a minor in math with something else as the major.
Brian
That is good advice. Or major in math and a minor in something else.
Something directly practical and concrete in your background is a good thing, in addition to the math.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
Re: Math degrees
My first thought is something to do with CAD or FEA programming. CAD software can let you draw all kinds of nifty stuff. For example, imagine drawing a square on one plane, and a diamond on another plane a few inches above it, rotated about 40°. Now have the program connect those two 2dimensional shapes together with sweeping, curved, twisting surfaces. I have a feeling that the math behind that is mindbogglingly impressive, and that is not one of the more complicated things that you can do in CAD software. Working directly with curved surfaces has got to present a whole other boatload of challenges, since computers (and people) tend to prefer working with straight things, and very nice 90° angles. The math is so much easier.
Finite Element Analysis: Split a CADdesigned computer model up into a whole bunch of little adjacent pieces, each of which is driven by at least one equation. Now figure out how they all interact with each other when a force is applied on one end, to determine where stresses will form, or how much the object will compress or stretch as a result, or a variety of other simulatable things. And as the amount of compression changes, the software can even figure out how much is "too much" for the existing equations to handle, and automatically resplit it up into different pieces to give a better mathematical solution.
A programmer can write the code to make the computer do the work, but you'll want some mathematicians there to tell the programmers what to put into the program.
Math is the language we use to describe the Universe's most basic properties and behaviors, and there is certainly demand for those who can use that language effectively.
Finite Element Analysis: Split a CADdesigned computer model up into a whole bunch of little adjacent pieces, each of which is driven by at least one equation. Now figure out how they all interact with each other when a force is applied on one end, to determine where stresses will form, or how much the object will compress or stretch as a result, or a variety of other simulatable things. And as the amount of compression changes, the software can even figure out how much is "too much" for the existing equations to handle, and automatically resplit it up into different pieces to give a better mathematical solution.
A programmer can write the code to make the computer do the work, but you'll want some mathematicians there to tell the programmers what to put into the program.
Math is the language we use to describe the Universe's most basic properties and behaviors, and there is certainly demand for those who can use that language effectively.
Re: Math degrees
God, I wish I hadn't listened to the countless adults who told me they never used algebra or calculus in real life and laughed about it.
I develop software at a major bank and I wish I had some type of math degree or at least a great foundation in mathematics. All the really interesting and highly paid areas like being a quant, big data analytics, data visualization and statistical analysis require math.
And there are plenty of these jobs. They can't fill them and these jobs are dominated by foreign born people sponsored to work here. Meanwhile we have college graduates moaning that there are no jobs out there
I develop software at a major bank and I wish I had some type of math degree or at least a great foundation in mathematics. All the really interesting and highly paid areas like being a quant, big data analytics, data visualization and statistical analysis require math.
And there are plenty of these jobs. They can't fill them and these jobs are dominated by foreign born people sponsored to work here. Meanwhile we have college graduates moaning that there are no jobs out there

 Posts: 183
 Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 4:38 pm
Re: Math degrees
[quote="Tom_T"] My teenage son, who likes math, read the article and asked "what can you do with a math degree other than teach math?" I named a couple of things off the top of my head, but then drew a blank.
I hope you recognize how lucky you are if your teenage son is aware of his own interests. If he pursues it, he will find a field that attracts him and he can apply Math skills.
I concur with others' comments about interesting fields people get into including Comp Sci, big data, engineering. At advanced research level in every field, people need Math expertise. I want to mention two friends' kids: one got Math degree and decided to pursue Medicine in a topnotch Med school! The other found out she loves teaching, and enjoys a middle school teachers job so much that she denied a job in a Wall Street firm.
I hope you recognize how lucky you are if your teenage son is aware of his own interests. If he pursues it, he will find a field that attracts him and he can apply Math skills.
I concur with others' comments about interesting fields people get into including Comp Sci, big data, engineering. At advanced research level in every field, people need Math expertise. I want to mention two friends' kids: one got Math degree and decided to pursue Medicine in a topnotch Med school! The other found out she loves teaching, and enjoys a middle school teachers job so much that she denied a job in a Wall Street firm.
 TomatoTomahto
 Posts: 5121
 Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm
Re: Math degrees
fatlever wrote:God, I wish I hadn't listened to the countless adults who told me they never used algebra or calculus in real life and laughed about it.
I develop software at a major bank and I wish I had some type of math degree or at least a great foundation in mathematics. All the really interesting and highly paid areas like being a quant, big data analytics, data visualization and statistical analysis require math.
And there are plenty of these jobs. They can't fill them and these jobs are dominated by foreign born people sponsored to work here. Meanwhile we have college graduates moaning that there are no jobs out there
+1
Many jobs on Wall Street, Silicon Valley, etc. go to math and hard science (esp. Physics) grads, both because they can use the skills but also because their degree shows that they have good, strong minds and can keep more than one ball in the air at the same time.

 Posts: 2265
 Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm
Re: Math degrees
During my undergrad, before the college had a Computer Science department, most of the undergad majors
in math either taught HS or were hired as programmers. The same logical flow that is required in proof goes
into writing a program, especially new algorithms. Most of the original theortical computer science grew out
of Pure Mathematics: Boolean Algebra, Graph Theory. Operation counts for recursive algorithms are generally
proven using math induction.
Covering all inputs: making sure there are no counterexamples
Exception handling : Special cases in proofs (e.g. avoid divide by zero)
The NSA does hire pure mathematicians, and has coop opportunities.
I am in the IT field with a PhD in Applied Math, and have worked as an IT consultant.
I always felt that the deductive logic was the most important/useful part of Mathematics,
so often even just a few math courses above the minimum can give a boost to any career path.
With regard to the unemployment, it may not be that the person is using math, but that he/she
is using the logic that is required to earn a math degree, and is therefore more desirable to the employer.
Or, it could be that math majors will work for less, so they are cheaper.
in math either taught HS or were hired as programmers. The same logical flow that is required in proof goes
into writing a program, especially new algorithms. Most of the original theortical computer science grew out
of Pure Mathematics: Boolean Algebra, Graph Theory. Operation counts for recursive algorithms are generally
proven using math induction.
Covering all inputs: making sure there are no counterexamples
Exception handling : Special cases in proofs (e.g. avoid divide by zero)
The NSA does hire pure mathematicians, and has coop opportunities.
I am in the IT field with a PhD in Applied Math, and have worked as an IT consultant.
I always felt that the deductive logic was the most important/useful part of Mathematics,
so often even just a few math courses above the minimum can give a boost to any career path.
With regard to the unemployment, it may not be that the person is using math, but that he/she
is using the logic that is required to earn a math degree, and is therefore more desirable to the employer.
Or, it could be that math majors will work for less, so they are cheaper.
Re: Math degrees
I have a PhD in Chemical Engineering; as part of the program I was in I had to complete the course work equivalent to masters degree in a related technical program. For that I chose math.
It was a great choice. I'm no longer working in Chemical Engineering; the math studies have formed the basis for a second career in software development in artificial intelligence.
Mathematics is the golden door. It can lead you anywhere you wish to go.
It was a great choice. I'm no longer working in Chemical Engineering; the math studies have formed the basis for a second career in software development in artificial intelligence.
Mathematics is the golden door. It can lead you anywhere you wish to go.
Re: Math degrees
Ged wrote:Mathematics is the golden door. It can lead you anywhere you wish to go.
Mathematics and philosophy. Both provide invaluable background but are rarely the ends in themselves, unless one gets a doctorate and stays in the academia.
Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest.  Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
Re: Math degrees
I took a math degree with a minor in economics and turned it into a career in public accounting (CPA). It is not directly related but the problem solving skills I learned in college are very helpful.
Re: Math degrees
Just because your son likes math doesn't mean he has to major in math. There are many math intensive degrees in both science and engineering. Also, your son might find college level math major math to be different than the math he is used to in high school due to the higher level of abstraction, higher amounts of number theory concepts.
Re: Math degrees
I double majored in Mathematics and Computer Science and now am in the middle of a very rewarding career of a software engineer.
Not everybody has programmershaped brains, but for those who do, I can't praise this career choice enough. It's relatively lowstress, flexible, usually interesting and usually wellcompensated. As many other jobs get automated away, it's hard to get rid of the guys who are doing the automation.
For a long career, you must get an education and brain training that goes way beyond the currently popular programming language. That's why a Math degree is no less valuable than CS. But you also need to know the CS basics  so I recommend doing what I did.
Not everybody has programmershaped brains, but for those who do, I can't praise this career choice enough. It's relatively lowstress, flexible, usually interesting and usually wellcompensated. As many other jobs get automated away, it's hard to get rid of the guys who are doing the automation.
For a long career, you must get an education and brain training that goes way beyond the currently popular programming language. That's why a Math degree is no less valuable than CS. But you also need to know the CS basics  so I recommend doing what I did.
Re: Math degrees
From experience, I usually tell kids who are considering majoring in mathematics not to bother unless they plan on getting an advanced degree in some other subject. My BS Math (Computational option) never helped me find work.
 TomatoTomahto
 Posts: 5121
 Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm
Re: Math degrees
FNK wrote:I double majored in Mathematics and Computer Science and now am in the middle of a very rewarding career of a software engineer.
Not everybody has programmershaped brains, but for those who do, I can't praise this career choice enough. It's relatively lowstress, flexible, usually interesting and usually wellcompensated. As many other jobs get automated away, it's hard to get rid of the guys who are doing the automation.
For a long career, you must get an education and brain training that goes way beyond the currently popular programming language. That's why a Math degree is no less valuable than CS. But you also need to know the CS basics  so I recommend doing what I did.
I mostly agree, but "relatively lowstress"? I remember, many many years ago, being one of the first people I knew who had a pager because I was on call pretty much 24/7. I remember meeting someone who saw the pager and said: "only two kinds of people wear pagers, doctors and drug dealers... and you're no doctor."
Re: Math degrees
p14175 wrote:From experience, I usually tell kids who are considering majoring in mathematics not to bother unless they plan on getting an advanced degree in some other subject. My BS Math (Computational option) never helped me find work.
I'm sorry it did not work out well for you.
I'm not sure how far one can extrapolate from one data point.
The study referred to by the OP suggests you are an outlier. That said, no degree comes with a guarantee.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
Re: Math degrees
I have a Math degree and it makes you a good problem solver. I work in finance. A Math degree with some sort of finance or business emphasis (or minor) will generate more interest from employers than a straight business degree, in my opinion.
 Epsilon Delta
 Posts: 5940
 Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm
Re: Math degrees
TomatoTomahto wrote:I mostly agree, but "relatively lowstress"? I remember, many many years ago, being one of the first people I knew who had a pager because I was on call pretty much 24/7. I remember meeting someone who saw the pager and said: "only two kinds of people wear pagers, doctors and drug dealers... and you're no doctor."
Developers do not wear pagers. Sysops wear pagers. While many people do both, there are many software developer jobs without sysop responsibility. Of course if your goal is the be the BOFH you will have to wear a pager, but you'll never answer it so it won't matter.
 TomatoTomahto
 Posts: 5121
 Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm
Re: Math degrees
Epsilon Delta wrote:TomatoTomahto wrote:I mostly agree, but "relatively lowstress"? I remember, many many years ago, being one of the first people I knew who had a pager because I was on call pretty much 24/7. I remember meeting someone who saw the pager and said: "only two kinds of people wear pagers, doctors and drug dealers... and you're no doctor."
Developers do not wear pagers. Sysops wear pagers. While many people do both, there are many software developer jobs without sysop responsibility. Of course if your goal is the be the BOFH you will have to wear a pager, but you'll never answer it so it won't matter.
You have your experience, I have mine. Developers, and let's remember that this was some 25 years ago, most definitely wore pagers, even without primary Ops responsibilities. I worked for a global bank, so there were only a few hours on the weekend where systems could be down without consequences. If there was a problem, it was important to get it resolved, and with all due respect to Ops, they never had quite the sense of urgency that the developers had.
Their lack of urgency wasn't a big mystery. As a developer, I made $x and my bonus could range from $0 to $3x. Most of the input into my bonus amount was provided by the users of my software. Ops made probably $x (or more likely, $.5x with maybe a shift supervisor making $x). Their "variable" comp was formulaic, and everyone seemed to get the same bonus percentage in Ops. Not such a great incentive scheme if you wanted Ops to be proactive. The result was what one could have expected.
In fairness to Ops, the problem was quite possibly poorly tested software; at the time, we frequently were encouraged to release software that was not fully baked.
Re: Math degrees
There are stressful, rigid, boring, underpaid, insecure programming jobs. These days, if you're good at all, you'll find your way out of these pretty quickly.
(I'm totally on call right now. Not stressing at all though. )
(I'm totally on call right now. Not stressing at all though. )

 Posts: 3968
 Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:17 am
Re: Math degrees
Run a Hedge Fund like, “LongTerm Capital Management.”
(at least until it implodes)
(at least until it implodes)
Re: Math degrees
SPdiceman wrote:Run a Hedge Fund like, “LongTerm Capital Management.”
(at least until it implodes)
But as long as you don't get arrested you get to keep your money even if everybody loses theirs! What a great deal!
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
 Epsilon Delta
 Posts: 5940
 Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm
Re: Math degrees
TomatoTomahto wrote:Epsilon Delta wrote:TomatoTomahto wrote:I mostly agree, but "relatively lowstress"? I remember, many many years ago, being one of the first people I knew who had a pager because I was on call pretty much 24/7. I remember meeting someone who saw the pager and said: "only two kinds of people wear pagers, doctors and drug dealers... and you're no doctor."
Developers do not wear pagers. Sysops wear pagers. While many people do both, there are many software developer jobs without sysop responsibility. Of course if your goal is the be the BOFH you will have to wear a pager, but you'll never answer it so it won't matter.
You have your experience, I have mine. Developers, and let's remember that this was some 25 years ago, most definitely wore pagers, even without primary Ops responsibilities. I worked for a global bank, so there were only a few hours on the weekend where systems could be down without consequences. If there was a problem, it was important to get it resolved, and with all due respect to Ops, they never had quite the sense of urgency that the developers had.
Their lack of urgency wasn't a big mystery. As a developer, I made $x and my bonus could range from $0 to $3x. Most of the input into my bonus amount was provided by the users of my software. Ops made probably $x (or more likely, $.5x with maybe a shift supervisor making $x). Their "variable" comp was formulaic, and everyone seemed to get the same bonus percentage in Ops. Not such a great incentive scheme if you wanted Ops to be proactive. The result was what one could have expected.
In fairness to Ops, the problem was quite possibly poorly tested software; at the time, we frequently were encouraged to release software that was not fully baked.
Fair enough, though I think your bank used the wrong job titles. My experience has been with lifecritical systems. When it takes three months to test a new release there's no point in being on call. Though there is some stress in knowing that if you screw up people could die, and possibly more stress in being the first person to test the software live when it could be you.
Re: Math degrees
When I was working as a chemical engineer I was on call a lot more than I ever have been as a software developer.
Ultimately I think it's just a matter of how closely you are associated with a production environment.
Ultimately I think it's just a matter of how closely you are associated with a production environment.
Re: Math degrees
TomatoTomahto wrote:FNK wrote:I double majored in Mathematics and Computer Science and now am in the middle of a very rewarding career of a software engineer.
Not everybody has programmershaped brains, but for those who do, I can't praise this career choice enough. It's relatively lowstress, flexible, usually interesting and usually wellcompensated. As many other jobs get automated away, it's hard to get rid of the guys who are doing the automation.
For a long career, you must get an education and brain training that goes way beyond the currently popular programming language. That's why a Math degree is no less valuable than CS. But you also need to know the CS basics  so I recommend doing what I did.
I mostly agree, but "relatively lowstress"? I remember, many many years ago, being one of the first people I knew who had a pager because I was on call pretty much 24/7. I remember meeting someone who saw the pager and said: "only two kinds of people wear pagers, doctors and drug dealers... and you're no doctor."
The town florist, who was also my Sunday School teacher, used to wear one. I used to think it was because when someone died they needed flowers sent right away but now that I think about it, that doesn't make much sense. Hmm...
Re: Math degrees
VictoriaF wrote:Ged wrote:Mathematics is the golden door. It can lead you anywhere you wish to go.
Mathematics and philosophy. Both provide invaluable background but are rarely the ends in themselves, unless one gets a doctorate and stays in the academia.
Victoria
Psychology is pretty cool too.
Public School K12 Educators: "Ask NOT what your annuity sales person can do for you, ask what you can do to be a DoItYourselfer (DIY)."
 sometimesinvestor
 Posts: 1089
 Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:54 am
Re: Math degrees
Knowing math can be a steppingstone into almost any field in part because knowing the math parts of that field is often considered the hardest part of the field and if they know you can do that they know you can learn what else is needed.
 TomatoTomahto
 Posts: 5121
 Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm
Re: Math degrees
Epsilon Delta wrote:Fair enough, though I think your bank used the wrong job titles. My experience has been with lifecritical systems. When it takes three months to test a new release there's no point in being on call. Though there is some stress in knowing that if you screw up people could die, and possibly more stress in being the first person to test the software live when it could be you.
Our systems were just about money; at the very worst, a promised settlement didn't occur, or a competitor got the advantage of a poorly priced trade, but typically nobody died.
I'm not sure that they used the wrong job titles. Being a "developer" meant that you took ownership from the business idea to developing the code to making sure it ran successfully day in and day out. We didn't have business analysts, systems analysts, programmers, etc.
BTW, I mentioned stress, but it was mostly the good kind of stress. It was a vibrant and exciting job, and I got out of bed every morning looking forward to going to work.
Re: Math degrees
The NSA employes the largest number of mathematicians in the United States.
http://www.nsa.gov/careers/career_field ... tics.shtml
http://www.nsa.gov/careers/career_field ... tics.shtml
 cheese_breath
 Posts: 6569
 Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm
Re: Math degrees
Epsilon Delta wrote:TomatoTomahto wrote:Epsilon Delta wrote:TomatoTomahto wrote:I mostly agree, but "relatively lowstress"? I remember, many many years ago, being one of the first people I knew who had a pager because I was on call pretty much 24/7. I remember meeting someone who saw the pager and said: "only two kinds of people wear pagers, doctors and drug dealers... and you're no doctor."
Developers do not wear pagers. Sysops wear pagers. While many people do both, there are many software developer jobs without sysop responsibility. Of course if your goal is the be the BOFH you will have to wear a pager, but you'll never answer it so it won't matter.
You have your experience, I have mine. Developers, and let's remember that this was some 25 years ago, most definitely wore pagers, even without primary Ops responsibilities. I worked for a global bank, so there were only a few hours on the weekend where systems could be down without consequences. If there was a problem, it was important to get it resolved, and with all due respect to Ops, they never had quite the sense of urgency that the developers had.
Their lack of urgency wasn't a big mystery. As a developer, I made $x and my bonus could range from $0 to $3x. Most of the input into my bonus amount was provided by the users of my software. Ops made probably $x (or more likely, $.5x with maybe a shift supervisor making $x). Their "variable" comp was formulaic, and everyone seemed to get the same bonus percentage in Ops. Not such a great incentive scheme if you wanted Ops to be proactive. The result was what one could have expected.
In fairness to Ops, the problem was quite possibly poorly tested software; at the time, we frequently were encouraged to release software that was not fully baked.
Fair enough, though I think your bank used the wrong job titles. My experience has been with lifecritical systems. When it takes three months to test a new release there's no point in being on call. Though there is some stress in knowing that if you screw up people could die, and possibly more stress in being the first person to test the software live when it could be you.
If you work for an auto company and a glitch in a program in your area of responsibility stops the line, you or your designated backup better be immediately available to fix it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

 Posts: 7501
 Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:32 pm
Re: Math degrees
TomatoTomahto wrote:You have your experience, I have mine. Developers, and let's remember that this was some 25 years ago, most definitely wore pagers, even without primary Ops responsibilities. I worked for a global bank, so there were only a few hours on the weekend where systems could be down without consequences.
Things have changed a lot from the mainframe days. There's little development like that these days. Unless you're doing maintenance on old legacy systems, it's mostly PC, workstation, or embedded applications. My job at MyMegaCorp has been pretty regular.
Brian
 TomatoTomahto
 Posts: 5121
 Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm
Re: Math degrees
Default User BR wrote:TomatoTomahto wrote:You have your experience, I have mine. Developers, and let's remember that this was some 25 years ago, most definitely wore pagers, even without primary Ops responsibilities. I worked for a global bank, so there were only a few hours on the weekend where systems could be down without consequences.
Things have changed a lot from the mainframe days. There's little development like that these days. Unless you're doing maintenance on old legacy systems, it's mostly PC, workstation, or embedded applications. My job at MyMegaCorp has been pretty regular.
Brian
Brian, even then, those were not mainframes (well, they might seem like mainframes by comparison to today). At the time, we worked on minis (mostly VAX). VAX VMS remains, to this day, the most elegant OS I ever worked with.
Re: Math degrees
bzcat wrote:The NSA employes the largest number of mathematicians in the United States.
Perk: you will always know where your kids are.
Re: Math degrees
amoeba wrote:Just because your son likes math doesn't mean he has to major in math. There are many math intensive degrees in both science and engineering. Also, your son might find college level math major math to be different than the math he is used to in high school due to the higher level of abstraction, higher amounts of number theory concepts.
That's true. I don't think he is planning to major in math in college (still three years away), but he is trying to take as many math courses in high school as he can because he likes it, and I wanted to make sure that he understands that math is not just for future math teachers!
He will be very interested in the replies here. As always, thanks to the Bogleheads for great, practical advice.
Re: Math degrees
Liking math in high school is going to be really different from liking math in college.
I liked math in high school, but when I get to all the theoretical stuff in college it was over my head. The applied math stuff is half math half computer science. But it gets pretty theoretical as well.
I liked math in high school, but when I get to all the theoretical stuff in college it was over my head. The applied math stuff is half math half computer science. But it gets pretty theoretical as well.
Re: Math degrees
cheese_breath wrote:VictoriaF wrote:I know people who had undergraduate mathematics degrees and then got advanced degrees in or otherwise transitioned into computer science, electrical engineering, operations research, statistics, and actuarial science. These occupations are in higher demand and better compensated than pure mathematics.
Victoria
A math degree demonstrates that you have a logical mind, and this opens up all kinds of possibilities.
Yes, this seems to be the accepted line of reasoning.
BS Math here...spent my entire career as a Software Developer, which is a very nice profession to be in.
Return to “Personal Consumer Issues”
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: alfaspider, AlohaJoe, Amaya, Bagman, freebeer, greg24, jersey789girl, kenschmidt, keystone, LarryAllen, Mfettic, quantAndHold, Smorgasbord, tomd37, Tramper Al, wilked and 62 guests