Studies by the career website CareerCast.com for the past several years have consistently shown that math is often the key to finding the best jobs. WSJ.com recently published an article “Dust Off Your Math Skills: Actuary is Best Job of 2013” reporting the results of the latest study.
CareerCast ranks 200 jobs from best to worst using the following criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. Over the past few years, the top ranked jobs often involve some form of mathematics. Math is more than just a mandatory class in high school; it plays a huge part in qualifying you for a successful and rewarding career.
This year, most of the top 10 jobs are math-related. The highest-ranking profession was an actuary, a person who uses statistics to find financial value for risk. Other math related jobs in the top 10 included biomedical engineer, software engineer, financial planner, and computer systems analyst. This is no fluke. Over the last 4 years, many of the highest-ranking jobs have consistently been math related. In 2012, CareerCast found that the most desirable job was a software engineer while several of the top-ranked jobs were math related including actuary, financial planner, and mathematician. In the CareerCast’s 2009 study, mathematician was ranked as the top job. Once again actuary, statistician, software engineer, and accountant ranked in the top 10.
The popularity of several math-related jobs is derived from the changing economy and fast-growing technological fields. The demand for actuaries has risen as of late because of the many risks that threaten the economy be they natural or manmade. Additionally, there is a shortage of actuaries, so their salaries are rising; in 2010, according to the Labor Department, the median salary for actuaries was $87,650.
Software engineers and people with information-technology skills are in high demand because of the explosion of data that companies and governments need to collect and analyze. The study showed that the median income was $88,142 with great potential to grow. Software engineers report enjoying a sense of intellectual challenge and the ability to see the outcomes of their work in swift, tangible ways, which actuaries like Brandon Hilkert say makes the work exciting and fulfilling and it’s “what matters most …at the end of the day” (Wall Street Journal 2012). Software engineers also say they enjoy the flexibility the job allows them and the excitement brought on by the job itself.
Mathematicians’ high rank stems from their pleasant work environment – they tend to be low stress and rarely pose any physical dangers. The annual income for mathematicians’ came in at $94,160. Professionals in math related careers often find their work intellectually fulfilling and exciting. For example, in recent Wall Street Journal article dated January 6, 2009, Jennifer Courter, a research mathematician, says “math is much more than just some boring school subject everybody has to take in school. It’s the science of problem-solving.”
Best and Worst Jobs of 2013
|10||Computer Sys. Analyst|
|196||Oil Rig Worker|
|198||Enlisted Military Personnel|