Bolstered by a growing number of companies that prefer to conduct business online and utilize social media to market their wares, job openings for mathematicians will continue to expand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that candidates with strong quantitative and data analysis skills, coupled with impressive computer programming know-how, should experience the best prospects.
Ambitious mathematicians with aspirations to teach post-secondary students how to solve real-world problems are also expected to see a promising future. In Los Angeles, it is within an academic setting where most mathematicians, like Grant Fraser, hold rank.
“As a young person, I had always enjoyed doing mathematics,” said Fraser, a professor and chair of the department of mathematics at California State University, Los Angeles. “I liked working in a university environment and wanted to have the opportunity to guide and direct students.”
Which vocational pathways did you take?
“In addition to becoming an excellent teacher, I excelled in many other aspects of my academic career. This included developing research results that were published in leading professional journals, writing grant proposals that were funded by federal and state agencies, supervising projects that benefited high school teachers and university students and performing administrative services to the university.”
How has your education serve you?
“I have my Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees in mathematics, all from UCLA. The Ph.D. degree is essential to become a faculty member at a university and then advance in this field.”
Why do you consider your current post your greatest accomplishment?
“Serving in the position of chair of the mathematics department at my university for the past four years has enabled me to make a significant impact on the development of my department. This has included hiring new faculty, advocating for new policies and meeting the needs of our students.”
What is your message to aspiring mathematicians?
“In order to pursue a career as a mathematician, you must develop a strong record of academic achievement in mathematics. To do this, you must understand that mathematics is a very challenging discipline that requires creativity, hard work, determination, tenacity and perseverance.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.