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High Paying Jobs in Math and Science? 383

Posted by Cliff
from the they-gotta-be-somewhere dept.
An anonymous reader asks: "Where are the high paying jobs for those who are good in math and science? I've heard about math and science shortages for almost two decades now, and I was wondering what high salary/high demand jobs have resulted from these shortages. Most science majors I know actually make less than teachers (in Texas teachers make $38-40K to start for nine months of work). In terms of money, what career would you pursue coming out of college right now with a math or science degree?"
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High Paying Jobs in Math and Science?

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  • For math... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:30AM (#19239113)
    ... Actuary (insurance, etc)
    • Re:For math... (Score:4, Informative)

      by jasonla (211640) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:04PM (#19240089)
      I think this has been asked and answered on Slashdot. Please see here: http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/01/00 38210 [slashdot.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Glonoinha (587375)
      in Texas teachers make $38-40K to start for nine months of work
      $40k to start? For nine months of work? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say ... be a science or math teacher!
      • Re:For math... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by champsuperstar (1106303) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @03:22PM (#19243923)
        Actually... Starting pay for a high school math teacher is $39,190 for a (technical) 187-day base salary. Hourly, Texas (in this case, Austin) teachers are paid $18 and some change. That's based on a 2080 hour work year, which, of course, breaks down into 40 hour work weeks. This is the disparity in the starting salary/187 day work year myth. Most teachers average around 14 hour days during the school year. They show up for work at 7 and then usually stay until 5 or 6, depending on their sponsored clubs, activities, et al. AND still have to go home and grade papers, prepare lessons, meet with the administration. Even based on a 187-day work schedule, that's roughly 2600 hours. AND they must still work during the summer. These are workshops, conferences, lectures, meetings, etc. Most teachers I worked with (around 300 high school and middle school) had about 2 paid weeks off during the summer altogether. Granted, the days were shorter, but remember we're still past the "average" 2080-hour work year. The average teacher summer is about 10 weeks. Even based on a truncated work week (say 30 hours), the work year hits around 2850. Break that down and it comes out to $13/hour. Don't forget that teachers quite often must pay for materials for special out of their own pockets without guarantee of reimbursement. Teachers don't make that much. That being said, we need good math and science teachers. You'll just have to eat Ramen noodles, drive a beater and take abuse from smarty pants teenagers AND their parents for the first 10 or 12 years.
    • Re:For math... (Score:5, Informative)

      by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:07PM (#19242711) Homepage Journal
      If you are really good at maths, and if you like programming (good odds on that given where you are programming), then consider becoming a quant [moneyterms.co.uk].

      Lots of money, tough maths, and as secure as high-flying financial sector jobs are because demand for those skills is likely to keep increasing in the long term.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by umbrellasd (876984)

      Actuary is a good path worth a lot of money, but the training is brutal and so is the cut rate. I got a degree in math and was making 90K as a software developer within 4 years. I took a bit of a hit at the end of the .com bubble and then back to normal. Unfortunately, I wouldn't wish the politics of most IT environments on anyone.

      Take your pick, though. Any job that pays well is going to have it's commensurate load of shit to deal with. Actuaries have brutal training and testing to endure. Doctor

  • The one you like (Score:4, Informative)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:30AM (#19239119) Homepage
    In terms of money, what career would you pursue coming out of college right now with a math or science degree?

    The one you're most interested in. Seriously, if all you care about is money, go be an investment banker or a money whore somewhere else. Our field is littered with people like you who get a job hoping for big bucks but end up circling the drain for a few years while producing horrible work.

    However, software engineers at the various consultancies pay fairly well. Perhaps the R&D arm of a pharmaceutical company as well.

    • Re:The one you like (Score:5, Informative)

      by dr_dank (472072) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:44AM (#19239553) Homepage Journal
      Seriously, if all you care about is money, go be an investment banker or a money whore somewhere else.

      It's nice to do what you love, but you have to put food on the table somehow. I know that many fields are tainted with green fever; people looking to make a buck rather than have any real passion for the task at hand. The computer science/fly-by-night cert mill debacle, for example.

      It's not a bad thing to ask which jobs will help you pay your student loans and give you a decent quality of life versus ones that will doom you to debt and a monastic lifestyle for years to come.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's not a bad thing to ask which jobs will help you pay your student loans and give you a decent quality of life versus ones that will doom you to debt and a monastic lifestyle for years to come.

        It's virtually guaranteed [strappedthebook.com] that the first type of jobs do not exist, and the second type are the only jobs open to people under the age of 37. Even if you earn $160,000/year, to earn that much you're going to have to live in a place that costs you $100,000/year for a studio apartment.
        • by SQLGuru (980662)
          That's still 60K a year for "incidentals".....and you can eat fairly well for that much.

          But really, I think you are wrong. You can easily get a starting job in Austin for between $50 to 60K in the computer fields. Housing will run you about $12K a year renting a 1-bedroom (and that's a decent neighborhood, not the slums). That's plenty left over for food, car, gas, etc.

          Layne
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            But really, I think you are wrong. You can easily get a starting job in Austin for between $50 to 60K in the computer fields. Housing will run you about $12K a year renting a 1-bedroom (and that's a decent neighborhood, not the slums). That's plenty left over for food, car, gas, etc.

            And if that's all that you were spending, that would be fine. But there's also the usury on those student loans (most people don't know this- but the banks can change the interest rate *after* the contract has been signed, un
        • by anomaly (15035) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .3repooc.mot.> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:31PM (#19240743)
          The challenge is that the current generation of college students and recent graduates has been led to believe that they are entitled to a life filled with stuff and with little self-sacrifice required.

          If *everyone* would learn to adjust their expectations about what constitutes a minimal acceptable standard of living so that they can live without debt within or - gasp - below their means - our culture would be wealthier, stronger, and better equipped to face challenges.

          My next door neighbors are first generation immigrants from El Salvador. They have a three bedroom house which the two parents, three kids, his dad, her mom, share the house with two renters who live in the basement. 9 people in a 1700 square foot house! This is in one of the wealthiest counties in the States. The mom and dad have two jobs. The grandmother has a job, and the dad has occasional work on a third job. These are people who have little education and very poor English skills. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to live in this country, and they are making it happen. It's tough going, but a better deal than in Central America, and they consider it a privilege to have American citizenship. Perhaps we should, too.

          Most of these college kids could live at home, have a part time job, enroll in community college for core credits, before transferring to a 4 year college, drastically cutting their tuition. They could refuse to allow themselves to spend more on their credit card than they can pay in a given month. They could live off-campus with several roommates to minimize housing costs. They could forego cable, cell phones and cars to reduce their expenses until their income increases.

          Instead, our culture of consumption tells people that they should "buy it now." People actually think that they cannot expect to pay off a car or a house within their lifetime. Ridiculous!

          We're generally narcissistic and convinced that stuff, power, or sex will satisfy us. This leads to frustration, deeper debt, and hopelessness.

          It's not that life is hard and these kids are victims! It's that mostly they think that they have to obtain a standard of living that is higher than their income, and they become indentured servants at 20%/year interest.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kabocox (199019)
            My next door neighbors are first generation immigrants from El Salvador. They have a three bedroom house which the two parents, three kids, his dad, her mom, share the house with two renters who live in the basement. 9 people in a 1700 square foot house! This is in one of the wealthiest counties in the States. The mom and dad have two jobs. The grandmother has a job, and the dad has occasional work on a third job. These are people who have little education and very poor English skills. They are thrilled to
            • The grandparent was essentially saying that college grads are victims due to lack of opportunity.

              My response is that college students and grads make CHOICES that influence their financial well being. My goal was to challenge some preconceptions about what standard of living college grads are entitled to have - which has a direct relationship on their financial well being.

              If you've got the income to support your own home, please do so. If you don't, then don't blame society if you've made a choice to live
          • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:12PM (#19241687) Homepage Journal
            If *everyone* would learn to adjust their expectations about what constitutes a minimal acceptable standard of living so that they can live without debt within or - gasp - below their means - our culture would be wealthier, stronger, and better equipped to face challenges.

            Exactly right. Instead, we had 20 generations of Americans where EACH GENERATION had a higher standard of living than the previous- up until the elimination of usury laws in the 1980s. Suddenly, the next generation had a lower standard of living than their parents.

            Reinstate usury laws maximizing credit card and student debt at 10%, and I'd bet the easy credit would dry up- those currently paying 20% would get a break ont their debt, but they'd also never get a credit card again!
          • by hackstraw (262471)
            The mom and dad have two jobs. The grandmother has a job, and the dad has occasional work on a third job. These are people who have little education and very poor English skills. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to live in this country, and they are making it happen.

            To me, the bold part should read "opportunity to work in this country".

          • by timeOday (582209)

            People actually think that they cannot expect to pay off a car or a house within their lifetime. Ridiculous!
            Unfortunately housing prices are competitive. If enough boneheads don't mind taking on huge mortgages they'll never finish paying off, they can (and did) drive prices up enough that you either having to be willing to do the same, live somewhere you'll make less money, or waste a lot of money and time commuting. You can't beat the system.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by bkr1_2k (237627)
              Sure you can beat the system, you just have to decide you're not going to buy into the system. It's not that hard to live in this country debt free, it just takes a little discipline. Well, maybe a lot of discipline, but it's certainly possible.

              There are definitely areas where it's easier than others, and the system is making the socio-economic gaps bigger but you can do it. I know several people who are completely debt free (excluding their mortgages) and living on modest (for the DC area) incomes quite
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Lord Ender (156273)
            I don't know what you're talking about, but stuff, power, and sex sure seem to satisfy me.

            Psychological studies also seem to back up the theories that stuff, power (actually, control), and sex make people happy.

            Desiring these things does not lead to "frustration, deeper debt, and hopelessness." Bad finance management is what causes those problems. You have your causation confused.
    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:27PM (#19243019) Homepage

      In terms of money, what career would you pursue coming out of college right now with a math or science degree?

      The one you're most interested in. Seriously, if all you care about is money, go be an investment banker or a money whore somewhere else.
      The only way anyone will ever truly be able to do "what they love" is by first being a "money whore" (or being born rich).

      No man has true freedom unless his passive income exceeds his living expenses. Only once you reach this level of freedom (which corresponds to having about $800k well-invested in most of the USA), can you really do whatever the hell you are truly passionate about, with no compromises.

      The quickest way to get there, for most people, is to get a college degree in a field with high market value, live cheap, and invest everything you can in revenue-generating business that you don't have to manage (so you can keep working on what you specialize in). ETFs (like DIA) make this REALLY easy to do. If you can stomach extra volatility, leveraged ETFs (like DDM) could greatly shorten the time it takes for you to be be a self-made trust-fund baby (er... middle aged person).

      Advice of "do whatever you're most interested in [regardless of pay]" sounds nice, and may be more fun in the short term, but it is much less likely to bring you true freedom than being a "money whore."

      When you can live off of your investments, you can change jobs, contracts, and careers at will. Otherwise, you will be filling out TPS reports, all-the-while chained to your current job for the ability to feed yourself and afford medical care.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by abigor (540274)
        The parent is the best post in the thread thus far. A personal trading account, ETFs, and a bit of research go a long way, practically regardless of what you might happen to earn. Maximise your investments for the year ("pay yourself first"), then have fun with life. Bravo, sir, for keeping your eye on the ball.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DuckDodgers (541817)
        The only way anyone will ever truly be able to do "what they love" is by first being a "money whore" (or being born rich).

        So true. I went into Computer Science because I didn't want my family to face the same financial hardships my parents faced while raising me and my siblings. I'm not trying to abuse the system, or slack off, or produce anything but the best possible designs with thorough testing and superb documentation. But there are dozens of fields of knowledge that interest me, and I picked thi
  • Economics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Secret Rabbit (914973) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:31AM (#19239153) Journal
    Any related to economics. So, things like an actuary or something related to the stock market (e.g. analysis/prediction) would give high pay. Degrees in Physics and Math could get you there.

    There is also several consulting firms that *love* Physics Ph.D.'s. Not sure about Math people on that one though. This one would require *a lot* of travel though.

    Hope that helps :)
  • Scientist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stranger4U (153613) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:31AM (#19239157)
    I'm a scientist working for a government subcontractor in Albuquerque (mostly for Sanida Labs and AFRL). Fresh out of school with a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Physics I started making $50K a year plus fringe benefits. To contrast, starting teachers salaries with a Master's degree are ~$30K a year.
    • Contrast the difficulty and learning involved in an MS in Physics vs. an MS in Education. Ed is a cake program.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by megaditto (982598)
      With a BA/BS in science you can expect to roughly earn as follows fresh out of college:

      Biology: $12-14/hr
      Chemistry(non-oil): $18-20/hr
      Physics: $20-22/hr
      Mathematics: $10-12/hr
      Geology/Geosci (non-oil): $16/hr
      Geosci(oil): $24-40/hr

      Note that these are the salaries at the start and will go up quickly if you are worth it, are willing to relocate, and shop around. If you are good but have no "experience", just focus on getting a foot in the door.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:32AM (#19239197)
    Best paid job for those good with science and math is hedge fund manager. Top earners make $2,000,000,000 or more annually. As a bonus, you don't have to pay regular income tax on your pay. Good luck in your new career!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._E._Shaw_&_Co [wikipedia.org].
  • by LunaticTippy (872397) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:33AM (#19239221)
    You'd make good money as a chemical engineer or petroleum engineer. This [payscale.com] claims $55-$100k depending on experience. Petroleum engineers also make good money.

    One nice thing about the job is you get to work with huge cool dangerous equipment. If you work for the right company in the right capacity you might even contribute to solving some important problems, like petroleum dependency.
    • by ElGanzoLoco (642888) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:18PM (#19241823) Homepage
      Sure, the money's good - but you might end up working in some remote oilfield in the Middle East desert or - worse - offshore.

      One of my friends just enrolled for a year work in a gas reprocessing field somewhere in the middle of the desert in Qatar. He's probably making well over 75,000 USD/year (his first job!!) Not hearing much from him again, but the description of the place and living conditions were just... scary.

      I now live in Dubai (in a business that has nothing to do with oil and doesn't make remotely as much money) and I see these poor souls coming from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi etc for R&R: nightclub, booze, and cheap Russian hookers (Dubai as an endless supply of all three). Some of them look really traumatized ;)

  • by DrDitto (962751) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:33AM (#19239247)
    There is no shortage of math and science majors. I'm nearing completion of a PhD in science, and if I could go back 6 years, I would go to law school instead. Yes, there is a shortage of brilliant scientists and mathematicians because hey, our economy depends on innovation that comes from the elite few. Science and math jobs? Maybe you can call engineering jobs related to science and math and of course corporations don't want there to be demand of engineering students because that would drive up salaries.
    • by jcgf (688310)

      I'm nearing completion of a PhD in science, and if I could go back 6 years, I would go to law school instead.

      You still could if you don't mind drowning in student loan debt.

    • I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. Law degrees are more common than many people realize, and it's quite difficult to get a decent legal job, despite the larger market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Grishnakh (216268)
      While engineering salaries could stand to be a little higher, I have to say, after reading all these pathetic comments on here from people in science fields talking about how happy they are with $30k or $45k, the pay in engineering really isn't too bad compared to that.

      If you're (you in the plural sense of anyone reading this) disappointed by your $50k salary in science, blame your fellow scientists who are all too happy to accept such a pathetic salary when they could get double that as an auto mechanic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ThousandStars (556222)
      There is no shortage of math and science majors. I'm nearing completion of a PhD in science, and if I could go back 6 years, I would go to law school instead.

      Reading comments like this frustrates me. I attended a year of law school before realizing what apparently took you six years in getting a Ph.D. There actually *aren't* as many law jobs as you seem to think; consider this [careerjournal.com] article from the Wall Street Journal. From the article:

      The legal profession is really two professions: the elite lawyers and everyo

  • by bcharr2 (1046322) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:38AM (#19239361)
    Anytime I see American corporations complaining about the need to outsource labor due to a "shortage of qualified American workers" it makes me laugh to myself. It is absolutely hilarious how the same corporations who ceaselessly discuss the virtues of an open market suddenly revert when it comes to the issue of paying high enough salaries to attract qualified candidates.

    The talent is always going to go where the money is. If the serious money was in math and science (instead of finance and business) then the brightest young Americans would be pursuing careers in math and science.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thechao (466986)
      I'm not so sure about that. First, I would say that many high-paying jobs in Finance/Accounting actually get a lot of `borderline' mathematicians: mathematically able people who are not interested in `pure mathematics;' the same is true for statistics, actuaries, etc. etc. I distinctly remember being stunned to find out that there were >1000 `math majors' at my undergrad, since all of my courses were invariably attended by the same 8-15 students.

      As an answer to his question, I would say `anywhere.' You s
    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:18PM (#19240437) Journal
      ...then you are overpriced for the market.

      Here's the test: can you go out and form your own company and make more than you are being offered? If you cannot, then you've just discovered why somebody else doesn't want to hire you for that kind of money. Stop thinking about it as how much you are "worth" because of your educational expenditures, and start looking at the income you can reliably, continuously produce for your company. Once you have that number, divide it by three* and that's what your salary should be.

      *okay, maybe two in a really large organization with low overhead, or if you fall at the very low or high ends of the payscale. But you're unlikely to be in either of the high/low paid cases.
    • The companies are being consistent; you're the one that's not.

      Part of the premise of an open market is free movement of labour. And that's exactly consistent with outsourcing labour to where the labour is cheapest.
      • by megaditto (982598)
        Free movement of labor would mean having "open" borders (like they have within the EU, United States, and many nation-states)

        Globally we only have free movement of capital, not labor. Hence, you can move your manufacturing from America to China, but you cannot move your Chinese workers to the States.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      It seems to me that most scientists are quite happy making $35k or so, judging by some of the comments in other threads here.

      I'm sure glad I went into engineering instead.
  • Teachers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dop (123)
    I'm not a teacher, but I don't think you should use teachers as an example of someone who should be paid less than someone in math and science. Frankly, I wouldn't put up with today's disrespectful teenagers even for a substantial raise.

    Sure, there are some crappy teachers out there that give them a bad reputation, but you can say that about any profession.
    • Teachers Salaries are actually a good deal in most areas. Teachers tend to complain how low their pay is but compared with other jobs they can get straight out of college with no experience. Teaching is a good deal you get a decent average/above average wages, but the down side is that the top wages for teachers are capped as well so after 20 years of experience you may be only 10-20 more then the teacher who just started out. In the Corprate Environment You normally start out a lot less then a teacher bu
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        Not only that, but the hours are really good. Find me another job where you have 2 weeks off at Christmas, another week off for march break, and over 2 months off every summer, And you only have to work 8-4. And you get 1 hour lunch break. You also get benefits (all the teachers I know do), and you get to be part of a union, which gives you really good job security. It's a really sweet deal when you think about it. The top end is a little low, but why should experienced teachers get more money than the
        • Re:Teachers (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mathonwy (160184) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:38PM (#19240895)
          Sorry, but had to bring something up here:

          Show me a teacher who only puts in the hours 8-4, and I'll show you a teacher that the administration feels "isn't putting in the effort", and "is only doing the minimum needed to get by".

          And the thing is, they're right. 8-4 is just the time they are required to be AT SCHOOL, in the room. Any teacher worth their salt spends plenty of extra time making sure that their lessons are prepared for the next day (or week) and that they are generally ready for anything the class can throw at them. Teaching doesn't just "happen"; it requires a tremendous amount of prep and organizational work.

          Also, the vacation is lengthy, but fairly inflexible. Hope you don't want to take any time off OTHER than what the district says, or you've got some problems. Want to take a month off in March instead? Too bad! It's definitely a trade off.

          Don't get me wrong, the vacation time is nice, but it has its flip side, and if you think it's a 40 hour a week job, you're deluding yourself. (Or talking about the crappy teachers who DO deserve the low end.)

          Which brings us to...
          "but why should experienced teachers get more money than the new teachers. They are doing the same job"

          Erm.

          EXCUSE ME?

          Let me turn it around, and see if I can point out just a little bit of hubris on your part. Why should an experienced software developer get more money than a new one? They're doing the same job? Why should an experienced ANYONE get more money?

          Answer: Because they do it better. Because years of experience mean that they will generally be more efficient at whatever the job is, do it better, with fewer errors, and have more bandwith to deal with more things. They will also have the experience to deal with the stranger situations that pop up, and will generally require less supervision and be more valuable employees. If you somehow think that this doesn't apply to teachers just as much as it applies to anyone else, then you have a very distorted view of teaching.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by CastrTroy (595695)

            Answer: Because they do it better

            Seniority doesn't equal doing a better job. If they are in fact a better teacher, than they should get paid more. Just as the more experienced developer who's better should get paid more. However, I've seen a lot of mediocre teachers who get paid more just by the fact that they've been there longer, and not because they are any better than any of the other teachers. Just like my example with bus drivers, just because you've been doing it for 25 years, doesn't mean that

            • by Falladir (1026636)
              Yes, it's a real problem. Evaluating teachers' performance is not easy. You need a really good administrator with any eye for the long term, a real even-keel kind of person who can give teachers the right amount of freedom. A good administrator can tell who's doing a good job and who's not, and without a good administrator I can't think of any way of measuring that would be at all useful. (Test-scores would be an utter joke.)

              One thing to consider is that progressive raises are not *just* about improveme
              • by CastrTroy (595695)
                Who's to say how good of a job the teacher is doing. I've never seen seen the principal sit in on a class to see how the teacher was teaching. In university, the students answer anonymous surveys to evaluate the teachers performance. I think that the same thing should be done for highschool and maybe even elementary school teachers. There would be students who would give a bad evaluation because they had some vendetta against the teacher, but I think that a long history of negative evaluations by the st
          • by CyberSnyder (8122)
            My wife is a teacher and frequently puts in hours until 12:00 midnight or 1:00 am and does a lot of work on the weekends to prep for the upcoming week. She teaches third grade. Sure, you get the summers off, but remember that there is usually a week after the kids leave and 1-2 weeks before they return that are consumed with in service training and such. Plus you're supposed to get your Masters degree or lose your accredidation. Some positions are better than others, but I think the drop out rate is aro
          • Re:Teachers (Score:5, Informative)

            by Ariel (34151) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:23PM (#19241909)
            Not only is the vacation fairly inflexible, it's not always what other people think of as vacation. As someone who works for a school district, many of the teachers I know have to get summer jobs to pay the bills. Also, in order to keep my job and my certification, I'm required to take so many college credits every few years and I have to pay for it out of pocket. As for a job you can get "right out of college," many places now require a degree beyond a B.A. to be hired or to keep your job beyond a certain number of years.

            For me and other people in my school, we are required to be at school from 8-4. However, we also run programs before and after school, often unpaid. During athletics, I might spend another 15 or 20 hours on the weekend supervising the student store. I coach Academic Decathlon for a stipend of $500 per YEAR. I run a peer suicide intervention program that also earns me a stipend, another whole $600 per year. Students often call my home or show up at my door at all hours. I tutor, I meet with parents, I run evening workshops to help students write college essays and do their FAFSA. That doesn't include grading or lesson planning or report cards or any of the million things that have to be done.

            Last week was my last week of school and this week, I'm working at the district office for a week, revising curriculum so that it will work better for our students. I considered getting a summer job, but instead I have to go to school to take classes so I can keep my certification. I'll finish school the week before my fall inservice. In addition to specific college classes I have to take, I have to do yearly trainings on the weekend on topics like Fetal Alcohol Effect, Domestic Violence, and First Aid/CPR.

            I don't mind doing a job where I make less money than I would somewhere else, because I made a conscious decision to leave my tech job and take a job in education. I do however mind being told how easy my job is, and how great the hours are, and how well I'm paid. I'm also tired of people who think I must not have been able to get a "real" job and that's why I got an education degree.

          • It should also be pointed out that teachers generally don't get to spend the days that students have off of school as vacation. Many of those days are spent as seminar days for the teachers, and most teachers also have to take continuing education courses during those summer months in order to keep their licenses.
        • by greg_barton (5551) *

          ...why should experienced teachers get more money than the new teachers. They are doing the same job.

          Plainly you were only taught by rookie teachers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tthomas48 (180798)
          Trust me. My back pain says there's a serious difference between the bus driver who's been driving 25 years and the one who's been driving 5. You've obviously never ridden the bus, and are disparaging a career you know nothing about. Easy job it is not.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by CastrTroy (595695)
            I've ridden the bus many times. I ride it every day. I see young drivers who give a really smooth ride, and old drivers who make me wish that buses had seatbelts.
      • by i.r.id10t (595143)
        Here at teh community college I work for (instructional tech. and teach as adjunct) a full time instructor has to work 28 hours per week (classroom and office hours) for the fall and spring terms - 31 weeks total, with a 3 week break between - and starts at $45k or so, with state health insurance and retirement packages, the opportunity to teach more (summer, more spring/fall classes) for adjunct pay (on top of your regular salary), etc.

        On top of this, UF is here in town, so as you can imagine, there are *l
    • I don't know if they were saying teachers should be paid less. It is interesting that there are apparently a lot of science grads who make less than teachers, but there is still a shortage of science teachers. I personally would not want to put up with teenagers either. I have known several people with biology degrees who could only find work at temp jobs doing QC for the food industry. They only got paid like $10-$12/hour. They had GPA's well over 3.0.
  • by ObligatoryUserName (126027) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:41AM (#19239457) Journal
    Math credentials worked for the last guy [slate.com] up to a point....
  • The tags say it all (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:48AM (#19239667) Homepage Journal
    Get an MBA, then do something in the financial industry, which has a stranglehold on everything else to the extent of destroying progress. American corporations and government no longer care for education or REAL progress, unless it can make a buck, and even then aren't willing to reward the people who actually create that progress.
  • Most US corporate R&D centers (Bell Labs, IBM, RCA Sarnoff, Xerox PARC, etc.) are either long gone or a mere shadow of their former selves. (And no, that doesn't bode well for the future of the USA). If you want an R&D position related to science and math in the US - your options are academia or government. These don't pay as well as corporate used to. Also, government R&D is subject to funding cuts, cancellations, etc. (I've been told that NASA is having serious morale problems at it's R
  • by MoneyCityManiac (651455) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @11:55AM (#19239871)
    Applied math is a good bet. Operations Research ("OR"), as Wikipedia defines it, is "an interdisciplinary science which uses scientific methods like mathematical modeling, statistics, and algorithms to decision making in complex real-world problems which are concerned with coordination and execution of the operations within an organization." It's a mixture of math, stats, CS, and engineering.

    There's OR applications in areas such as health-care, environmental management, forestry management, transportation, and much more. Environmental management, in particular, is something that operations research is going to play a huge role as government and industry focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    And because there's such a practical role towards it, there's plenty of support from government and industry, not just in terms of jobs at the end but also scholarships, fellowships, etc. Ask around a math, CS, or engineering department! I'm sure it won't be hard to find someone who can point you in the right direction.
  • If you are a math person, go into digital signal processing. Communications is still a growing field.
  • Gov't (Score:4, Informative)

    by dostert (761476) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:14PM (#19240335)
    I'm finishing my PhD in computational mathematics in about a month, so I've been doing a huge job search right now.

    Some of the best non-academic jobs out there for math/science are government or government contractors. Obviously, the NSA is a huge one. There are many other national labs and research institutes. Sanida, LLNL, NSWC, etc. Pay is good (not actuary good, but good) and benefits are very good. The added plus is you work a 40 hr week. With a masters, I think you can start between 50-60K. That beats starting at 70-80K in finance and working twice as much... but that's just my feeling.

    On the other side, there are government contractors. Metron, SAIC are two big ones. There are numerous smaller ones. These will have slightly higher pay, and some retirement plans at them are really fantastic. The downside is that some smaller ones rely heavily on one specific type of research.

    The other thing I've noticed in my job search is that, not to insult engineers, but many companies feel that if you know the math/science, you can learn the engineering quickly. If you have some basic experience in, say, math application in petroleum engineering, then Exxon would love to talk with you.

    That being said, I'm staying in academia and doing a post-doc next year. Pay is okay (55K .. thats with a PhD though) and there is nothing quite like the freedom you get from an academic job.

    Good luck to any of you who decide to go into math/science. The US REALLY needs good scientists!
  • I have a degree in physics and don't work in physics because I wanted to make money. The fact is, to get paid well someone bigger than you has got to want what you do bad enough to pay up. There are 1.3 billion people in China, 1 billion in India, and 300 million in the U.S. Do you offer something so unique that people want to pay you more? Or are you easily replaced?

    My fellow physics graduates that wanted to stay in physics wanted to do research. First, the physics that man understands is far beyond w
  • Better get that PhD (Score:3, Informative)

    by steelerguy (172075) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:45PM (#19241067) Homepage
    Better get your PhD if you want to make some money with a math or science degree. If you are just getting a BS, chances are you will make squat unless you change fields.

    If you do get a PhD, then apply for a job at a hedge fund company. You can make very respectable money at a company like that, although they generally have their pick of the litter.
  • Where are the high paying jobs for those who are good in math and science? I've heard about math and science shortages for almost two decades now, and I was wondering what high salary/high demand jobs have resulted from these shortages. Most science majors I know actually make less than teachers (in Texas teachers make $38-40K to start for nine months of work

    Huh? I've yet to see a new science-degreed grad make less than a starting teacher in the same geographical region. Make sure you're comparing entr

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MontyApollo (849862)
      >>I'd be shocked to see a first-year Texas schoolteacher making $40K.

      Teachers in the suburbs around the bigger cities (where most science jobs would be) pretty much get $40K. 45% of the teachers work in these districts. Here is a quote from TexasISD.com:

      Starting Pay

      The average starting salary for a new teacher is $32,266, a 10-percent increase from the 2005-06 average of $29,354. This year's average starting salary is 18 percent higher than the state minimum starting salary of $27,320. The average sta
      • The average starting salary for a new teacher is $32,266,

        That I'll buy. $40k sounded high for a state average for newbies.

        The average starting salary in districts with more than 10,000 students is $39,457, an 8.5-percent increase from last year.

        For those sorts of urban and technical areas (such as Houston, DFW, and Austin), I'd be surprised to see BS scientists starting less than $40k. Especially the oil industry should be buying up geography, chemistry, geology, and related disciplines. Physics, m

  • Quant Finance (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Byrneseyeview (850510)
    (Full disclosure: I'm a recruiter for IT/Quant Finance companies): If you're really interested in making money and using advanced scientific/mathematical education and experience, quant finance is definitely one way to do it. Most of the quantitative hedge funds I've worked with are pretty anti-institutional: they're trying to attract PhDs, not MBAs, so they try to run their companies like a grad school (with a seven-figure prize for a good dissertation). Stuff like this [craigslist.org] sounds like exactly what the origin
  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:57PM (#19243495)
    ...has a master's degree in Science!

    Investment banking is not about math. It's about Andover, Exeter, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, yachting, golfing, playing squash and knowing which years were good in Graves vs. Medoc. It's a salesman's game. Same with law. If you want to be one of the rich lawyers, you must be a salesman. The lawyers who are not salesmen do not make partner and see the 7-figure annual distribution checks.

    If you enjoy math for the sake of doing math, you're going to want to look into physics, cosmology, astronomy etc...and you're going to be looking at PhD to get employment. There's only so many jobs in these fields and there are more PhD's than jobs, so why hire anyone without a PhD? Don't go there unless you really love math and you're more talented than 90% of the math majors.

    If you want to work in science, you've got chemistry which is revived as nano-this and nano-that, biology which is really genetics or molecular biology for big pharma, and you've got computer science, robotics, and the various engineering disciplines. If you want to get somewhere with a BS, you'll probably do better in engineering and CS.

    If you like talking to people, solving puzzles, or cutting meat, go to medical school.

    If you want to really make money, start a business. No college required. Just a good idea, ability to sell, ability to execute, courage and persistence. The good idea is the easiest part.

    My brother majored in mathematics at a top school. He minored in philosophy. He had a 3.75 GPA. After getting his BA, he could have gone the teacher route, the professor route or into defense contracting. Instead, he chose to work in housekeeping at the lodge on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. 15 years later, he manages a $15 million unit of a billion dollar business with a couple of hundred employees reporting to him. The most direct route isn't always the most rewarding.
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @03:31PM (#19244059) Homepage Journal
    Get a job doing what you love to do. Set up your life so you only spend 30% on housing (buy a house wherever you can afford it with this percent of your income, fuck impressing people for 10 years at least... never spend anything on an apartment), 30% on living and 40% stick into a high growth mutual fund of some sort (YMMV but energy is still really good right now).

    Keep your eye on the ball, which is 5 years from now, no matter when now is. That 40% you put into growing your money will compound no matter how poorly you manage it. In 5 years you will have a hell of a lot more money than you had before AND because you bought a house your housing investment will also appreciate and you can then sell and get something much nicer.

    In 10 years you may even look like a respectable member of society AND you'll have enjoyed getting there.

    So get a job, any job, that you like... and then live. Set your life up correctly, then relax and let time do the work for you.

  • Quant Analyst (Score:3, Informative)

    by chico_the_chihuahua (925601) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @05:38PM (#19245737)
    As lots of people are saying 'become a Quant' - I thought you might like a Quant to tell you about it -

    There are many kinds of Quant, this is what some of them do, but it's not exhaustive -

    1) Desk Quant - help traders understand trading issues on a day-to-day basis. Rapid application development (probably on Excel/VBA/C#), quick/pragmatic thinking are essential skills here.

    2) Analytical Developer - less math (still got to understand it though), more programming (exceptional skills). Development of analytics libraries - probably implementing/optimising/enhancing ideas that a Desk Quant or Modeller has developed for the desk. Much more 'backroom', but not as well paid.

    3) Quant Modeller - concentrate on developing new model ideas, and requires very very very good maths skills. What most people mean when they talk about 'a Quant'. Make a packet of cash if they develop something useful (before the rest of the market does).

    What do I do? I'm mostly 1 and 2 in Equity Exotics at a US bank. I'm well paid and love my job. It's very hard work, but that's what you get paid for! There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

    Make sure you study stochastic calculus in your degree (Math/Physics/CompSci). Do the degree to an advanced level at a good school (get at least a Masters or Phd). You should at least know what Black-Scholes is and how to derive it. Don't be scared to apply - those who don't ask, don't get.

    There are many other things to consider - what asset class you would like to work in - Equities, Credit, Energy, FX, Commodities, Rates... or which area - Risk, Trading, Research, etc., Each has different emphasis on skills, different requirements of computing and math skills. My bank lets Quants move between asset classes and job emphasis, I don't think this is universal though.

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