Jobs in Applied Mathematics

by Steve McDonnell

A job in applied mathematics might be to create solutions to allocate money among different investment funds to maximize reward and minimize risk. It might be to develop a model to predict how disease would spread after a bioterrorism incident. Applied mathematics jobs might redesign airline schedules to minimize the cost of airplane maintenance and aircraft parking. They might also create a solution that enables the U.S. Social Security system to meet its obligations in the future. There are many opportunities for jobs in applied mathematics across many industries and with different types of employers.


Jobs in bioinformatics combine biology with computational and applied mathematics in industries such as medical technology, medical research and pharmaceuticals. While the human genome has been sequenced, there are many other genome projects that still need sequencing. There is also a need to expand knowledge from the human genome project to understand how genes interact, how they differ among individuals and how a gene activates. Jobs in bioinformatics also help to develop treatments for Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders.

Data Mining and Business Intelligence

Companies across all industries are increasingly analyzing data and using the results to make strategic and operational business decisions. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, by 2018 the United States needs from 140,000 to 190,000 more people with advanced statistical knowledge and strong analytical skills and capabilities. Jobs in data mining and business intelligence might analyze customer data to predict the most likely buyers of a product or service, or they might create models to identify credit card fraud or questionable financial trades and transactions.

Computer Animation

Jobs in computer animation require knowledge of linear algebra, statistics, signal processing and computational geometry to develop and apply animation algorithms. Computer animation is used in a diverse set of industries such as medical diagnostics, movies, television, video games and even fine arts. Jobs in digital imaging require many of the same skills as computer animation jobs. Digital imaging is used to recognize medical images and to identify abnormalities. It's also used with business documents to recognize text, categorize and summarize document contents and extract semantic information.

Financial Services

Many applied mathematics jobs in the financial services industry involve creating complex financial models and decision-making tools. These models and tools help to make investment decisions, mange risk, automate trades, set prices and optimize portfolios. Financial mathematics jobs work with hedge funds, bonds, commodity futures, stocks and other securities. There are jobs with banks, investment firms, insurance companies, securities firms, energy companies, government regulatory bodies and multinational corporations.

About the Author

Steve McDonnell's experience running businesses and launching companies complements his technical expertise in information, technology and human resources. He earned a degree in computer science from Dartmouth College, served on the WorldatWork editorial board, blogged for the Spotfire Business Intelligence blog and has published books and book chapters for International Human Resource Information Management and Westlaw.

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