# Soft question about need for math majors

I went to school to learn programming, but to me the hardest and most interesting problems are in mathematics (or computer science theory). For this reason I want to study mathematics, for example, a master's degree in applied mathematics. Because of the need for STEM majors, it seems I have a good chance at applying math.

Assuming nothing outstanding on my CV, I would like to ask where I have an excellent chance at REALLY applying a mathematics degree. Where is a mathematics major desperately needed?

Would this question be appropriate for MSE?

• >Because of the need for STEM majors What's true for STE, if it is true, might not be true for M. – zyx Aug 1 '13 at 17:38
• The conversion of answer to a comment has butchered the content together with the formatting. Is that an automated process or some moderator (developer, etc) does it? If it's a person, feel free to leave a comment requesting clarification, as the posting was very much an answer. – zyx Aug 1 '13 at 19:17
• @zyx: out of general couriosity, how is one supposed to read your comment so that it is an answer to the question if a certain question is apppropriate for the main site? – quid Aug 1 '13 at 20:22
• I'll be happy to satisfy that curiosity in an addendum to the original answer, if it is undeleted. For purposes of instant, moderator deleted, conversion of answers to comments, the relevant standard is not whether some users might agree. (For that there are votes, including votes to delete, and every moderator action will receive support if challenged, so the presence of support does not say much.) Rather, it is whether the moderator can conclude it is impossible that the response is an answer or could be read as one or could be edited to be one (in response to a comment, for example). – zyx Aug 1 '13 at 20:29
• Cases are rare, if they ever exist, where such a judgement can be made without reading the mind of the author. Immediate comment conversion is not really a useful function of the moderation except in cases of extreme irrelevance, clear bad-faith postings, and other outliers (and the situations where it is that clear would mostly be cases for deletion, not conversion). I do not think it should be used peremptorily on ordinary inter-user communication. – zyx Aug 1 '13 at 20:43
• @zyx as far as I am concerned I retract the request. It seems this is overly complicated. Anyway, thanks for the reply. – quid Aug 1 '13 at 20:54
• This sounds like a question that (more or less) falls in the purview of the Academia beta site, though I suspect you're more likely to get useful answers here. – Rick Decker Aug 2 '13 at 2:09
• @quid, as you can imagine, I did not want to advance the undesired process of migrating my communication about this question into the comments. The OP has asked a question on the main site and I have a short answer there. – zyx Aug 2 '13 at 3:36
• Well, that's progress. I had speculated that quid and zyx were the same person, apparently not. – Will Jagy Aug 2 '13 at 6:31
• @zyx thanks for letting me know about your answer. – quid Aug 2 '13 at 10:46
• @WillJagy: perhaps this is just part of the plot. ;-) – quid Aug 2 '13 at 10:50
• @WillJagy, there are a couple of people where I always agree with what they say on meta, which is better than having extra user names: someone else does the writing. – zyx Aug 2 '13 at 12:42
• I looked up STEM, found various things, psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-the-next-einstein/201307/… About spatial ability, I often try to get MSE questioners to just draw a graph of something, build a model, imagine a 3-D structure. These days, it seem students generally cannot, too much drawing on computer screens and not enough by hand. – Will Jagy Aug 2 '13 at 18:54
• It sounds good to me. – Alexander Gruber Aug 2 '13 at 20:52

Questions that are not about mathematics are always toeing the line here. Technically, this is a site for questions about mathematics (the subject), not about mathematics as a discipline.

However, I think your question is relevant and of tremendous interest to the community, which is my primary concern for questions. If you do post such a question, you should mark it "community wiki". It may still be closed, but I personally would oppose closing it. On the other hand, if the community decided to close it I would not use my moderator powers to override the closure.

• I, too, would oppose closing it--I'm interested in seeing an answer to this question. :) – apnorton Aug 1 '13 at 18:42
• how do you make the question a wiki? Does this require moderator rights, or some minimum level of points? – T. Webster Aug 2 '13 at 3:07
• @T.Webster It requires moderator powers to make a question community wiki. If you do ask the question, flag it with a message asking to make it community wiki and I'll take care of it. – Alex Becker Aug 2 '13 at 3:15

• Doesn't seem so, because based on the response to close this other question I asked, some seem very particular about what falls under "academia". – T. Webster Aug 30 '13 at 0:58

The Mathematical Association of America has information on careers in mathematics. Start at this web page

• That's an answer to the question in the OP's second paragraph. However, since this is a meta question, only the question in the third paragraph should be addressed. – Hagen von Eitzen Aug 2 '13 at 20:39
• Sorry, I missed that! – GEdgar Aug 2 '13 at 20:41

This isn't a question about mathematics, although it is a question which is best answered by the same audience. The standard answer would seem to be: ask it on chat, not on the main site.

• It is a question which would be useful for others in the future, but Chat is...forgetful...(also, it is very much dependant on those online at that precise moment.) – user1729 Aug 2 '13 at 14:26
• @user1729, surely by the very nature of the question the answers could be out of date relatively quickly? – Peter Taylor Aug 2 '13 at 14:42
• I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying that we shall be applying maths in different ways in, say, 5 years time? That may be true, but we have no way of knowing it. Also, the question is useful for others now, and Chat is, again, not very good at this. My point was that Chat is only good if it is only you who cares about the answer. That is not so here (as can be seen from Alex Becker's answer and its comments). – user1729 Aug 3 '13 at 14:33
• @user1729, no, I'm saying that the job market (which is what the question seems to be about) will have changed in 5 years, so areas where there may now be a desperate need for maths graduates may have more supply than demand. – Peter Taylor Aug 3 '13 at 15:07
• @user1729, as to what chat is good at, it's true that it gets less attention than main, but it seems to be a cross-stack rule of thumb that it's the correct place to ask questions which would interest the audience of a stack but which aren't in the scope defined by the FAQ. – Peter Taylor Aug 3 '13 at 15:08
• I am uncomfortable with the grouping of Math.SE with all the other SE sites. Each site has different conventions, and Math.SE (and MO) are typically more tolerant towards soft questions than other SE sites, and this strikes me as coming under that banner. – user1729 Aug 3 '13 at 15:51