When I graduated from high school, I vowed to never take a math course in college. I grew tired and frustrated with the subject and got totally lost amid the numbers, barely squeaking by each year. Just the thought of an algebraic expression or the Pythagorean theorem made me shudder down to my square roots.
Many years later, I realized that algebra wasn't all that bad because it helps you think logically, even if you're not going to use it in your work. And I rediscovered the importance of high school math in my other role as an SAT prep instructor.
Now we're in the middle of an economic transformation, where math is viewed as the key to unlocking most career doors. Here's your proof: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the 30 occupations with the largest employment growth through 2016, which foresees a 53% increase in the number of network systems and data communications analysts, and a 44% jump in computer software engineers.
In addition, there's clearly a demand for people who understand statistics, to fill roles that require data analysis and interpretation either to help their companies survive in the present or thrive in the future. Then there are the engineering jobs that lie at the heart of the green economy.
No wonder the federal and state governments are trying to boost math and science aptitude at the middle and high school levels.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you're an experienced professional who hasn't taken a math course in many years (or you're a former mathphobe, like me), don't let that prevent you from breaking into one of those fields. If you see a new career path in your job search but need a math refresher, talk with someone in a math-related field and find out what coursework might bring you up to speed. Then, look to adult education programs or community colleges to find it. And don't forget to include that education on your resume when you're ready to apply for a job. That extra effort demonstrates initiative, which all employers should appreciate.
How has your math knowledge helped you in your career? Share your thoughts.
Ten Ways to Take Charge of Your Career
The Blue-Collar Job Makes a Comeback
Expand Your Job Search by Going Green or Bilingual
Is Now the Right Time to Change Careers?