For some reason most people consider they’re either good at Maths OR good at English. It’s almost as though an aptitude for one means you will automatically be not so good at the other.
Maths, in particular, is one of those subjects where people are either good or just can’t get to grips with it. Some children will argue that you don’t need algebra, geometry or trigonometry in ‘real life’ – unless you’re planning on becoming a maths teacher.
Part of the problem is that kids can’t see the point. It’s like anything else, if you want to achieve a specific outcome, the means of getting there become much more attractive. So how does maths impact on the world of work?
The usual suspects
Banking, finance, investment, insurance, research, statistician, analysts, surveyors and, of course, mathematicians all need good maths skills to be considered for entry.
94% of all workers use some sort of maths in their jobs
Any job where measurements are needed use maths, so you can include architects, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators, builders, engineers of all kinds, seamstresses, chefs and cooks, too.
Did you know that more than a third of skilled blue-collar workers such as carpenters and mechanics use basic algebra on the job and 29% use geometry and trigonometry? In fact, 5% of all workers use calculus, with skilled trades, managers, and technical professionals using it the most.
68% of people use fractions, decimals, and percentages as part of their work
Cool jobs that need Maths
Animator: Fancy working at Disney or Pixar – or one of the many small boutique animation companies? Yes, you need to be good at art, but you’ll also need to be able to algebra and trigonometry to manipulate the images.
Cartographer: Map makers are as much about maths as geography. Drawing up a map depends on very precise measurements, scaling measurements up or down and working with three dimensional shapes.
Cryptographer: If you dream of becoming a spy-catcher, code-breaking is an important role. Cryptographers both create and break codes. Ideally you’ll need to have some computer science experience too. It’s not only useful in the Secret Service, there are commercial uses for coding too.
Fashion Designer: Another career where art and maths need to work together. Creating the design is only the beginning, then there’s drawing up the pattern and working out how much material will be needed – both jobs needing maths skills.
Fighter pilot: Before you think about learning to fly, polish up your maths. Calculating wind speed, air and ground speed, direction, height and much more depends on excellent maths.
Fraud Investigator: Investigation and analysis skills are just the beginning, you’ll need to be able to read the figures to see where the anomalies turn up and what they mean.
Game Designer: Never mind the iconic gaps like Grand Theft Auto, there are thousands of apparently simpler games, like Candy Crush and Farm Heroes. Game theory – a division of applied maths – is essential. Video games need calculus, trigonometry and physics too. And don’t forget the laws of probability – also part of mathematics.
Meteorologist: If you’ve watched the weather men and women on TV and thought, I could do that – don’t forget that they’re not just presenters, they’re also qualified meteorologists. That means they need considerable maths skills to calculate the speed, distance and volume of weather fronts and understand what the isobars are doing.
Robotics engineer: This encompasses more than kids toys or the automatic vacuum cleaner. Manufacturing uses robotics more and more and as technology moves forwards, robotics covers everything from drones to driverless cars.
Sports commentator: So you’re football mad or a serious petrol head? There’s more to it than that – you need to be able to calculate percentages, statistics, player records, minutes of play left and more. Not only do you need good maths, but you need to be able to talk and calculate at the same time!
Theme park ride designer: The essence of cool jobs – designing roller coasters, twisters, big dippers and the like. But you’ll need to understand physics and maths thoroughly to design safe rides.
Studying maths gets a whole lot more exciting when you consider what doors it might open for your future.