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Math Education Science

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With a Math Degree? 416 416

First time accepted submitter badmojo17 writes "After achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a public school math teacher, my wife has found the profession to be much more frustrating than she ever expected. She could deal with having a group of disrespectful criminals as students if she had competent administrators supporting her, but the sad truth is that her administration causes more problems on a daily basis than her students do. Our question is this: what other professions are open to a bright young woman with a bachelor's degree in math and a master's degree in education? Without further education, what types of positions or companies might be interested in her as an employee?"
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With a Math Degree?

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  • software dev? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sribe (304414) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:27PM (#40188393)

    I've know a couple of devs with math degrees, and they were excellent.

  • Re:NSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@[ ]il.com ['Gma' in gap]> on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:30PM (#40188439) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure the NSA would love to have a mathematician.

    With a PhD. Ranked in the top of his field. Specializing in cryptography applications.

    Some teacher with a BS in Math? No.

  • Tutoring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:30PM (#40188447) Homepage Journal

    There are families who value education and aren't satisfied with schools.

  • Re:software dev? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:33PM (#40188481)

    Software development, and IT in general will do well. I have 2 math degrees, the logical flow of math works very well with all things in IT.. except for management.

  • Re:Tutoring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spazdor (902907) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:34PM (#40188485)

    I came here to say this.

    The problem is not that she's a teacher, the problem is clearly that she is working for the wrong employer.

  • Fairly obvious... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck (811747) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:35PM (#40188501)

    Private school math teacher?

  • by dontclapthrowmoney (1534613) on Friday June 01, 2012 @07:38PM (#40188555)

    No-one ever said on their death beds that they wanted to spend more time in the office. And your career will never wake up one morning and tell you it doesn't love you any more. Both of these are reasons to do something she actually wants to do.

    If she is in the unenviable position of having to trade her time for money in order to live, she should at least do something she has some interest in. Just work out what she wants to do, then get the qualifications or experience to suit. Don't assume her current qualifications should be the starting point for making that decision. She wouldn't necessarily be starting from scratch, having a degree of any kind (especially a Masters degree) gives you a head start in many other areas.

    The OP says this person is a "bright young woman", retirement is probably a long way off... hopefully she can find something she likes that makes economic sense also.

    Good luck.

  • Re:Become... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:23PM (#40189167)

    There's good money in it, assuming you can get motivation out of making the already absurdly wealthy incrementally richer. I spent time at a hedge fund; paid better than any job I've had before or since, but it was really hard to go to work every morning, because I felt no sense of accomplishment. I just felt like I was squandering my education skimming off the work of others (see High Frequency Trading, the entire speculative commodity futures market, etc.).

    The few people who benefited from my work (besides myself) were already so wealthy (the minimum net worth requirements are ridiculous) that every single one of them could stick their money in a savings account and spend it at a rate of $200K a year for the rest of their life with no risk of going broke. Hard to get excited by the prospect of letting them spend $300K a year...

  • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Friday June 01, 2012 @08:23PM (#40189175) Homepage

    Someone already suggested she become a quant.

  • by gstovall (22014) on Friday June 01, 2012 @09:04PM (#40189601) Homepage

    I had a great math teacher in high school.

    15 years later, it was kind of a blast from the past to walk into the employee cafeteria and encounter my high school math teacher, now a software developer for the same corporation.

  • by Bayoudegradeable (1003768) on Friday June 01, 2012 @09:17PM (#40189763)
    This is not flamebait. I am a private school teacher so I say this with honest clarity. Some public school administrators are largely a joke. I am currently getting my master's degree in education administration and I hear horror stories day in and day out from classmates that work in the public system. Granted, I live in New Orleans so our public system is a dysfunctional mess. However, across the nation the legislative mandates that any public school teacher have to deal with are contradictory at best and truly insane at the worst. So ditch the public system. Private schools tend to be run more like companies and lousy administrators don't last. Firing teachers is a breeze... in fact, you're simply not rehired. To work in a private school you have far less legal protections but you have students and administrators that truly care, supportive parents (not always) and colleagues that are largely pros. (in the case of a good private school, much like in the case of a good company) So instead of bailing on the profession, bail on the bad school. Also, to be fair, there are thousands upon thousands of EXCELLENT public schools out there and perhaps your wife should look at other options in the area. Often times a different district or parish (counties for everyone else) will have a very different system. But really, don't give up on the dream of teaching. Teaching provides far more than can be measured and on my deathbed I will take a massive amount of satisfaction to the grave with me. Difference makers take it with them. Moneymakers may or may not be able to do the same.
  • Actuary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexander_686 (957440) on Friday June 01, 2012 @10:52PM (#40190637)

    Same field, but is in some aspects better. Actuaries get high marks in job satasification. Good pay (not as good as quants, but....), easier to get into, good life / work balance, no insane presure, etc. Plus, as an added bonus, you can tell the exact time when somebody will die - but you can only use this power once. On the downside, you make accountants look sexy.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Friday June 01, 2012 @11:26PM (#40190887)
    I'm not sure the "My wife looks good enough to be a prostitute" is the best argument to make.
  • Re:Become... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Friday June 01, 2012 @11:41PM (#40190985)
    Sigh... What part of my post did you read as "I wasn't getting paid enough"? I already said, I was paid quite nicely there. But no amount of money can help when the problem is wanting to do more. Designing software used by thousands of people, supporting some noble goal, whatever. Giving those with lots of money even more money isn't motivating no matter how much they pay you to do it.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"