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Career options for a maths graduate

Wednesday 18 September 2019, UCAS advice

by Ella Hendrix

Career options for a maths graduate

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Ella Hendrix
There are many benefits to studying a degree in maths. You will have almost certainly gone into your maths degree with a flair for all things numerical, but perhaps less of an idea about what job you want to do at the end of it. Unlike many other degree subjects, that can be more vocational, one of the good things about maths is that it gives you a broad knowledge, and a base from which you can choose the best career path for you.
 
Studying for a degree in maths can give you a wealth of skills and knowledge, including:
  • the analysis, presentation and interpretation of data
  • the ability to carry out experiments and studies
  • problem-solving
  • information technology
  • presenting mathematical arguments
  • the ability to deal with abstract concepts
  • logical thinking
  • advanced mathematical thinking
  • communication skills
  • good time management
  • decision-making and organisational skills
  • teamwork and independent working
All of these are skills that many employers would be looking for.
 
Further study
One of the most common routes for maths graduates is to carry out further study. A maths degree will give you an excellent basis for many careers, from accountant to mortgage adviser, or statistician. Although you will be using some of the skills you learned in your degree, there will almost certainly be some extra training required for all of these careers.
 
A Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) course, for example, is a benchmark qualification for anyone who wants to work as a mortgage adviser. A CeMAP will teach you all of the additional, industry-specific information that you will need to become a mortgage adviser.
 
For those who are considering going into accounting – another popular choice for maths graduates – there are another set of qualifications that should be done, usually alongside experience in the workplace. This gives you the chance to earn money whilst using your skills and knowledge, with increasing pay opportunities as you become more qualified. There are also many accounting firms, who not only help you with the funding needed to do the course, but give you study time and the experience that is required.
 
Another option for further study is to do a master’s degree and then a PhD. These can be hard work and take time, but if you love study and have something interesting that you wish to pursue, these might be a good option for you.
 
Typical employers of maths graduates
 
Being a maths graduate, you have a lot to offer many businesses – even if you are not directly using the maths you studied at university. Some of these typical employers include:
 
  • The NHS
  • local schools
  • local government
  • finance, accounting, and banking companies
  • insurance companies
  • IT businesses
  • marketing and market research companies
  • law companies
  • media companies
Maths can stretch across many industries – which is great news for a maths graduate – enabling you to take your pick out of what interests you the most.
 
Other maths-focused jobs
 
The list of possible jobs and careers for a maths graduate is endless. Here are a few of them:
 
  • Actuary – usually works in insurance and assesses and manages risk. The training, after a maths or mathematical type degree, is usually three to six years alongside working in the industry.
  • Investment or Asset Management – involves helping people and businesses to invest their money. This includes pension funds, retail investors, institutional investors, insurance companies, and others. For a career in investment management, you don’t need a specific qualification, but your maths degree will be essential.
  • Cryptography – is all about hiding and deciphering information. It takes a mathematical brain to pursue a career in cryptography, and you can find yourself working in the military, for the government, or for private companies. Most people who go into cryptography have at least a bachelor’s degree in maths, but most have a masters or PhD.
  • Engineering – there are thousands of jobs in the engineering industry, and although some employers would prefer you to have an engineering degree there are many who will accept a maths graduate. Engineering involves using your knowledge and skills to innovate and find solutions to problems, from renewable energy to water systems.
The best thing about having a maths degree is that you have a broad knowledge and skill set, which can be useful both if you know what you want to do, and if you don’t. It gives you the flexibility to take your career in many different directions, and sets you up for a successful and satisfying work life.