The Era of the Mathematician Has Arrived

Only those with a math background can truly make sense of the tsunami of analytics that is already on our shores

Keith McNulty

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I trained as a Pure Mathematician. An algebraist, in fact. By the time I finished my Ph.D., I was so deep into an esoteric specialism that they struggled to even find someone to examine me. I found myself in this rabbit hole because I thought I wanted to be an academic. But then I changed my mind.

Academia was too lonely and too poorly paid, I decided, and so it was time to move on. But where do you go when your only practical experience is spending days writing Greek and Hebrew symbols on black/whiteboards? I was resigned to the fact that it was time to cast my previous expertise aside and start again, that there was no use for deep algebra in my future career.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself proved utterly wrong by that assumption. Today, I would argue that there is no better field to start out in than mathematics if you want to make sense of everything new that is happening around us. And don’t just take this from me — the job market is realizing this too. In a recent report, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the job market for Mathematicians and Statisticians will grow by a whopping 33% in the next decade, and calculates that Mathematicians already earn almost three times the US average salary.

Why is mathematics suddenly so important?

Even though the market hasn’t always reflected this, I would argue that it has always been important in most fields to have mathematical training. Highly trained mathematicians learn a discipline to their thought processes that inject calmness and assuredness to the people they work with. In today’s fast-paced environments, where quantitative and qualitative facts are coming at us from all angles, there is still a great need for systematic thinkers who have a logical approach and can quickly reduce problems to their crux. Even before the age of big data, I was finding that these skills that I had been so steeped in as an algebraist were really helping myself and my teams in many difficult, tricky, and complex real-life situations.

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Keith McNulty

Pure and Applied Mathematician. LinkedIn Top Voice in Tech. Expert and Author in Data Science and Statistics. Find me on LinkedIn, Twitter or keithmcnulty.org