How to become a Mathematician

Mathematicians apply and develop mathematical principles to solve problems in all areas of the sciences, technology, social sciences, business, industry and commerce.

Personal requirements for a Mathematician

  • Enjoy mathematics
  • A good imagination
  • Analytical skills
  • Able to take initiative
  • Able to persevere
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Enjoy problem-solving

Education & Training for a Mathematician

To become a mathematician you usually have to study mathematics at university. There are a number of different degrees within which you can study mathematics. These include arts, engineering and science. Mathematics can also be studied at some universities as part of a double degree with other courses such as law, medicine, actuarial studies and finance. Mathematics and statistics are closely related areas and many students combine study in both. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Duties & Tasks of a Mathematician

Mathematicians:

  • Apply geometry and calculus to design objects in fields such as architecture, computer graphics and robotics
  • Analyse statistics to find predictive models for traffic flow, insurance risks, consumer research, market analysis and clinical trials
  • Develop predictive models for financial markets and products for financial risk management
  • Simulate processes in chemical, mining or agricultural industries by translating them into mathematical models
  • Develop computer modelling
  • Develop and improve mathematical models
  • Design computer programs to make and break complex security codes, or investigate and develop schemes for information security.

Tasks

  • Analyses and interprets data, and produces relevant statistics to describe and infer particular trends and patterns..
  • Specifies the data to be collected, and the methodology to be used in collection and analysis..
  • Applies models to experimental observations, and adjusts and recasts the models..
  • Liaises with management and clients to determine the subject or area to be surveyed or examined..
  • Formulates mathematical models to simulate processes..
  • Uses numerical analysis methods to develop algorithms and perform computations..
  • Evaluates and describes the reliability and utility of source information..

Employment Opportunities for a Mathematician

Mathematicians are employed in a wide range of capacities, such as scientists, top-level and mid-level managers, executives and administrators, academics and research personnel in universities, teachers, computer systems analysts and developers, and in the finance sector. They are in demand in ever-increasing areas where mathematical models are used, such as in insurance models in the finance industry, econometric models in government departments and models related to the physical sciences. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and other government bodies also employ mathematicians. Additionally, there is nearly always demand for teachers of mathematics, particularly in secondary schools.


Specializations

Pure Mathematician

A pure mathematician develops new mathematical structures and approaches to solving existing problems, in order to further mathematical knowledge.

Scientific Programmer

A scientific programmer develops algorithms and computer programmes for use in mathematical modelling, data analysis and problem-solving in fields such as industrial design, climate science and geoscience.

Mathematical Modeller

A mathematical modeller constructs mathematical models (often via computer technology) to simulate real phenomena across a wide range of applications, including meteorology, geography and finance.

Applied Mathematician

An applied mathematician formulates and studies mathematical models of environmental, physical and social systems in order to understand and, where possible, optimise those systems.

Mathematical Analyst

A mathematical analyst analyses data and assesses risks within the finance and insurance industries, as well as market research, biosecurity and genetics.

Mathematician

Mathematicians apply and develop mathematical principles to solve problems in all areas of the sciences, technology, social sciences, business, industry and commerce.

  • Average age
    Average age
    36 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    23% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $2,060
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    86% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    560 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 6.7%
    NSW: 42.5%
    NT: 0.0%
    QLD: 11.6%
    SA: 9.4%
    TAS: 0.7%
    VIC: 24.4%
    WA: 4.7%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 6.6%
    25-34: 38.5%
    35-44: 28.1%
    45-54: 17.6%
    55-59: 4.1%
    60-64: 2.7%
    65 and Over: 2.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 0%
    Bachelor degree: 29.7%
    Certificate III/IV: 0.6%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 67.9%
    Year 10 and below: 0%
    Year 11: 0%
    Year 12: 1.9%
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