Top 5 maths-focused careers that you may not have thought of
Spotting a student’s gift for mathematics early on usually isn’t complicated. Children can be pretty young when they first display mathematical thinking – including recognising numeric patterns or showing interest in quantitative information in the world around them.
“Perhaps it starts with them sorting classroom items into size order or counting everything,” says a Janison Assessments and ICAS team spokesman. “We can usually spot a budding maths star a mile off, and also the opportunity to develop other students’ potential in maths in a variety of ways over time.”
By the time those students start Year 3, there are opportunities for them to hone their maths skills – including mind-absorbing extracurricular tests to accelerate their academic path.
But, apart from the pure pleasure of flexing their active maths brains, why would they? Is maths even a helpful skill outside of the classroom? This question, frequently posed by maths students to their teachers, is invariably met with a common response: You’d be surprised.
5 careers that depend on maths skills every day
1. Veterinary surgeon
From the moment you enter the veterinary consulting room with your bundle of fur, your vet is making mathematical calculations to determine the right course of care. Your pet’s weight and percentage weight gain per visit tell your vet whether your animal is progressing healthily. These sums also inform the appropriate medication dosage if your pet becomes ill. And should your pet become seriously ill or injured, your vet will lean on statistics to assess the risk versus benefits of surgery. And if they do recommend surgery, vets will depend on maths to assess pre-op blood work and – critically – determine the correct amount of anesthesia for keeping your pet sedated but safe.
2. Marine biologist
Perhaps more than any generation before them, today’s youth are increasingly aware of the need for marine conservation – particularly in Australia, which is home to more marine species than any other nation on earth. But did you know maths is the official language of marine biology? Marine biologists collect vast amounts of data, analyse it and use it in theoretical models and predictions to persuade governments of the need for policy change. “But I just want to dive with the sharks and learn more about protecting them,” students might tell you. Well, scuba divers rely on a lot of maths too, to figure out their rate of oxygen usage at various depths and decide how long they can safely stay beneath the surface.
3. Real estate agent
Apart from the obvious numbers involved in real estate – square meterage and selling price – there’s far more maths involved in property sales than meets the eye, and a real estate agent needs to be just as clued up on arithmetic as knowing the critical selling points of a house.
A successful career in real estate certainly relies on understanding buyers’ needs – but this is by no means limited to their home-buying preferences or the features of a property. The agent must also be ready to advise them on the potential return on their investment over time. Let’s suppose you have been binge-watching Million Dollar Beach House or Selling Sunset on Netflix and are under the impression that charisma is the main quality you need to conquer this career. A quick look at the meaning of terms such as loan-to-value ratio and prorated taxes will show you that a lot of your success will depend on your maths smarts.
4. Personal trainer
Your personal trainer is unlikely to strike you as a dead ringer for Sir Isaac Newton. However, don’t dismiss entirely the likelihood that they’re a talented mathematician. This career relies heavily on calculation. Personal trainers need to be highly competent at translating units of carbohydrates, protein and fat into calories to create dietary plans that support your goals. They tend to also be adept at determining your body weight at a desired fat percentage, involving the well-known equation called the Jackson Pollock Formula and decimal division.
We live in an age where people choose to take time out from their careers at any time, for any length. So whether you are on maternity or paternity leave, long service or gardening leave, or re-evaluating your options, you’re likely to be using maths in your daily routine to maintain, manage and protect your family household. From budgeting, evaluating energy prices and interest rates on loans, calculating bulk buying discounts on your weekly grocery shop, to evaluating wealth creation opportunities, you require a sound knowledge of maths. Your maths proficiency might even dictate whether you can do your annual tax return or need to pay someone else to do it.
The inescapable fact is that life and work are easier with mathematics.
So the next time your child is creating a racket in the back seat of the car with their fourteenth rendition of Ten Green Bottles, you can rest assured that they’re on their first steps to meeting the future world of work head-on.
Inspired to give your child the opportunity to explore a whole new way of looking at maths? Sign them up for Mathematics in ICAS 2022 at the shop today.