There isn’t a school day that goes by where a math teacher doesn’t hear a student ask “when am I going to use this in real life?” While it’s true that most students will never have to figure out the length of a shadow based on the sun’s position and the height of a tree, there are still going to be plenty of real-life uses for mathematics, especially when it comes to their careers.
Many careers out there use a surprising amount of math on a daily basis. So if you’re a teacher that wants to let a student know about the great careers that they can apply their math knowledge to, or if you’re a student who simply loves math, here are five interesting careers using mathematics you might not have considered.
1. Air Traffic Controller
The average air traffic controller pulls in around $130,000 per year, which is good for over $62 per hour. There’s a reason that the position is always in such high demand, and it’s because the job of an air traffic controller is a fast-paced one that requires a lot of mathematical skills. Being able to do arithmetic quickly is of the utmost importance for the job to make sure that flights arrive and depart safely.
These controllers are working with numbers nonstop from calculating times, distances, and speeds all at once so that the runway is moving at a good pace while planes aren’t circling too much in the air. Sure, there is a lot of stress that comes from being an air traffic controller, but the salary is phenomenal.
Those that haven’t really spent much time in a courtroom think that the job of an attorney is simply to comb over evidence that was found at a crime scene and try to prove that their client was innocent. There’s a lot more to being an attorney than just dispelling or proving violent crimes, though, as there are plenty of white-collar attorneys that deal with financial crimes and lawsuits on a daily basis.
Some of the highest-paid attorneys are the ones that work in trust funds and other financial lawsuits that require a lot of number-crunching. At that point, attorneys sort of act like third-party accountants to make sure that everyone is getting what they’re entitled to. It’s a position that you really don’t want to mess up when you’re in charge of the numbers, and you’re compensated handsomely for being good at math.
More than ever, there are youngsters that want to grow up and do play-by-play on television for their favorite sports teams. What a lot of them might realize is that there is a lot of math that goes into being a good broadcaster, especially when you’re talking about a statistic-heavy sport like baseball.
Being able to calculate stats on the fly is going to be one of the most important parts of a broadcaster’s job. From figuring out how many yards a quarterback has thrown on the day to the likelihood that someone is going to hit a free throw, stats are a major part of sports and the reason why fantasy sports have taken off so much.
4. Game Designer
Just like broadcasting, game design is another career path that has drawn the interest of a lot of young people. Perhaps even more so than broadcasting, math plays an integral part in game design. There’s an endless amount of geometry that needs to work together when making a game, and those interactions are all based on mathematics.
From linear algebra to geometry to even random number generation, game designing involves almost nothing but math. Sure, it takes a lot of artistic skill to make a game look good, but it takes all of your mental capacity for math to make it work and function well. After all, many people have said that great graphics don’t equal a great game if the function isn’t working properly.
5. Casino Manager
Places like Las Vegas have casinos that know their operating costs down the exact penny thanks to some brilliant people that work in mathematics. These mathematicians need to know how much the payouts are for each game and how much each table is pulling in. These operators will need to know how many tables to keep open at a given time and what the minimum bets should be.
Even outside of Vegas, there are plenty of cities that are adding casinos and need good managers. The math can be extremely complicated and you have to work with engineers, which is why these important jobs pay out so well.