Mathematician Job Description

Mathematicians use advanced mathematical skills and knowledge to develop new principles and concepts and to solve real-world problems. This role typically takes place in research labs within universities or the private sector, or in offices with teams of engineers or scientists. Most mathematicians work full time and may work overtime if a tight deadline or a request for urgent data comes up at the last minute. This profession suits analytical people who have an aptitude for numbers and computer programs and enjoy finding solutions to problems. Some mathematicians choose to specialize within the field, focusing on subjects such as applied mathematics, which then allows them to work in a more dedicated discipline.


Mathematician Duties and Responsibilities

Mathematicians spend their time analyzing data and solving mathematical problems to assist teams in other industries. A mathematician’s duties typically involve:

Performing Calculations

Day to day, the majority of a mathematician’s job is performing calculations relevant to their current project. This typically involves working with people in other fields, such as chemists or industrial designers, to test techniques.

Applying Theories to Experiments

Mathematicians apply theories to a range of practical problems in fields such as business, science, or engineering. From these theories, mathematicians can then develop new concepts and rules by combining this knowledge with their own theories.

Conducting Mathematical Research

This role involves conducting research to build on the knowledge already developed in areas such as algebra, logic, or geometry. This might include reading professional journals, networking with other people in the field, and attending conferences to learn about the latest trends.

Designing Math Methods

Mathematicians design and develop new methods to solve issues in science, engineering, or other related industries. This might include performing experiments to find the ideal results of their theory.

Performing Analysis

Mathematicians perform numerical analysis of data and use their findings to resolve scientific or engineering issues. This involves drawing conclusions from data and looking for patterns to prove or disprove theories, then reporting on them.


Mathematician Skills and Qualifications

Mathematicians should have a head for numbers and be able to analyze data to solve problems and develop techniques. This role typically requires a master’s degree or higher in mathematics or statistics, as well as the following abilities:

  • Analytical skills – mathematicians use analytical models to examine data. They need to be able to choose the right software for the task and understand computer programming languages to develop new models
  • Numerical aptitude – this role requires an excellent knowledge of statistics, algebra, and calculus in order to solve and develop mathematical problems and techniques
  • Problem-solving abilities – a large proportion of a mathematician’s job is to solve equations and math issues. This requires the ability to troubleshoot and come up with solutions to various problems
  • Communication skills – to be successful in this role, mathematicians need to convey complex information and theories to people of varying levels of understanding, which requires strong communication skills
  • Critical thinking – mathematicians need strong critical thinking abilities in order to solve complex problems and find solutions to math issues
  • Attention to detail – mathematics is very detail-oriented and requires precision and accuracy. Mathematicians should have keen attention to detail in order to spot errors or patterns in theories and equations


Mathematician Education and Training

Mathematicians are typically required to have at least two to four years’ experience along with at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, or a related subject. However, more commonly, companies expect applicants to have a master’s degree or higher, as well as some computer programming experience as mathematicians often work with data analysis software.


Mathematician Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for mathematicians is nearly $106,000. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $54,000, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $160,000 annually. A quarter of professionals in this sector don’t receive benefits, but a large majority receive medical and dental coverage.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this sector to grow by 33 percent through 2026, which is much faster than average for all occupations.


Mathematician Helpful Resources

Mathematics is a broad subject and there are new skills to learn every day. We’ve compiled a few of the best resources to help you develop your knowledge and keep you informed:

American Mathematical Society – the AMS aims to promote mathematical research and how it’s used. The society’s blog examines everything math-related, from data science and number theory to current events

A Mathematician’s Survival Guide – from choosing a program to passing exams and writing your thesis, this detailed guide aims to help students navigate graduate school and the early stages of their career

The Principles of Mathematical Analysis – a popular text that provides a solid foundation to mathematical analysis, this book is aimed at undergraduate and first-year graduate students. It covers differentiation, integration, and interesting exercises to help develop your knowledge

The Aperiodical – people with an interest in math and who want to learn more will value the posts here, which are interesting, often fun, and ideal for the mathematically literate


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