People sometimes mistakenly believe the career prospects in computing to be limited, perhaps from hearing that "computers are easy to use nowadays" or "the jobs are being outsourced overseas." In reality, computers are much easier for the public to use, but only because bright people have made them to be so, and the need for ongoing career entrants continues. While outsourcing of IT positions is a reality, the domestic growth of computer-related jobs consistently far outpaces the number of jobs heading overseas. In the past decade, the nationwide enrollment in all forms of computing degrees has dropped enormously (so outsourcing may actually be the result, not the cause!) and job demand remains high. There are many options open to IWU graduates.
Software engineers focus on software design and maintenance in major projects such as a jetliner. Though software engineers may write computer programs, they often work at a broader level, designing and interfacing software modules and mathematically ensuring that overall standards of reliability, security and efficiency are maintained. Like other engineers, they communicate extensively with many other members of a design team. The need for software engineers is projected to continue to grow rapidly over the next few years.
Computer programmers write and maintain computer code, using a programming language such as C++ or Python. While many traditional programming jobs have been outsourced, programmers increasingly work within sophisticated software development systems that automate much of the coding process and bring their work closer to that of a software engineer. Programmers also maintain and apply large libraries of highly optimized code, making their job more interactive than it is often stereotyped to be.
A systems analyst researches a client's problems, recommending and planning appropriate hardware and software systems. Analysts must have strong problem-solving skills and broad familiarity with programming languages, operating systems and computer hardware. They may serve as the interface between a customer and a programming/engineering team, and often provide documentation, testing and training for the clients of a computing firm. The need for analysts is projected to continue to grow over the next few years.
Network administrators deploy, configure, monitor and maintain an organization's computer network, ensuring that appropriate services are provided to those people, and only those people, who are authorized to access the various systems. The administrator's tasks commonly include assignment of network addresses, routing protocols, authentication procedures and directory services. The need for administrators is projected to continue to grow rapidly over the next few years.
Not to be confused with Web graphic designers, Web developers are software developers who specialize in placing a client's presence online. Developers ensure that the various Web pages are smoothly interlinked, accessible to users with disabilities, and able to reliably and securely handle applications, such as commercial transactions, across the wide scale of browsers.
Many prospective students enjoy math and/or computers, but are unsure about what opportunities will be available at graduation. Career studies consistently rate math-related jobs very high in terms of satisfaction and compensation. The MAA website and the AMS website both detail a wide range of possibilities.
There are several career areas most commonly chosen by IWU Mathematics graduates:
More than half of the students who obtain a math-related degree from IWU major in Mathematics Education and become a middle school or high school math teacher. The IWU curriculum follows Indiana licensure requirements, but our graduates easily obtain licenses in other states if they choose. Even in difficult economic times, the job market for math teachers remains very strong.
Next to teaching, actuarial science is the single most popular occupation for our graduates. Actuaries work primarily for insurance companies, government agencies, or consulting firms who help clients manage financial risk. They use advanced mathematical techniques to estimate probabilities of events such as house fires and automobile accidents, and then help their employer decide which insurance products to offer and at what premium rates. Actuaries are well paid and also report high levels of job satisfaction.
Some IWU Mathematics majors choose to complete a minor or second major in computing, a field which shares with mathematics an emphasis on logical and algorithmic thinking. These students are qualified for positions as consultants, analysts or cryptographers in technical divisions of corporations and government agencies. Several IWU Mathematics graduates have gone on to work for the National Security Agency. Demand for professionals with dual math and computing skills is expected to continue to grow rapidly.
People working in these fields hold a variety of job titles, but all include some aspect of mathematically analyzing data and recommending the best possible course of action in a marketing, manufacturing, budgeting or investment situation. Like other mathematical careers, these business-related occupations require people who can think analytically and logically, apply quantitative data analysis, solve problems, and draw clear conclusions — all skills that mathematical training helps develop.
While full-time statisticians usually need at least a bachelor's degree in statistics (unavailable at IWU), some math majors also complete our statistics minor. Many of our alumni report routine and extensive work with statistics as part of their job, and a person skilled in the handling and analysis of data will have an edge in almost any quantitative field.
Some mathematically related occupations (such as research or teaching at the college level) require an advanced degree, and recent IWU Mathematics graduates have been accepted at graduate programs at Ball State University, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Colorado, and Miami University of Ohio.