Finding a Career in Numbers

How to Know a Job With Numbers Is Right for You

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A career in numbers takes a certain type of person. If you don't mind focusing for hours on number crunching, solving numerical problems, or analytical thinking a career in numbers could be right for you. Perhaps you love the idea of balancing financial books, calculating statistical probabilities or feel accomplished after analyzing your way to the bottom line.

Another consideration is that most numbers careers involve sitting at a desk, a computer, and calculator. Be prepared for a rather sedentary work life, but it can be a lucrative one. A recent survey at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals some "number" careers can result in an above-average livelihood — with salaries ranging from a bookkeeper at $40,240 a year up to more than $100,000 yearly as an actuary or economist. A career in numbers can be rewarding and challenging. Are you up for it?

Let's take a look at what a "numbers" has to offer and how you go about beginning a career that revolves around your ability and fondness of working with numbers. Your personality might be the perfect fit for this type of career.

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IS A NUMBERS CAREER RIGHT FOR YOU?

A career in numbers does not mean you need to be a human calculator to succeed. Here are some common characteristics of people who have careers in numbers.

  • Think analytically
  • Solve numerical equations
  • Work in an office environment
  • Focus on details
  • Organize and categorize transactions and concepts
  • Base decisions on logic as opposed to emotion
  • Curious about statistics of everyday events, such as sports and weather
  • Understand spatial, abstract and quantitative relationships

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Getting Started in a Numbers Career

Getting started in a numbers career is no different from most other careers. Volunteer work and especially internships while in college are great resume-builders and experience that employers look for when hiring entry-level people.

Finding Volunteer Work and Internships in Numbers

A great way to gain experience and build a resume is to find volunteer positions or internships with companies where you'd like to get your foot in the door. Most internships are unpaid, but academic credits are given and some can be done virtually from anywhere. Here are a few helpful websites to get you moving in the right direction:

  • Internships: Seek an intern opportunity in numerous fields. Search by company, location, and position.
  • Experience: Find an internship that fits your career path. Search by major, location,
  • VolunteerMatch: Lists hundreds of opportunities in a variety of non-profit industries that can offer experience as well as lending a helping hand to those in need.
  • NetworkForGood: Can help you find an administrative position at a local non-profit.

Finding a Professional Organization in Numbers

Joining one or more professional networks is a great way to meet those who share your career interests. Most organizations offer educational opportunities and resources that are helpful in professional development. Networking with others can also help in beginning or advancing your career. Find one that matches your career path.

  • American Statistical Association (ASA): ASA is a great resource for those interested in a career built around analyzing statistics. Find career education and resources, news, and more.
  • Association for Financial Professionals (AFP): Connect online with other like-minded financial analysts and industry professionals. Network and join discussions that focus on the latest market trends, opportunities, and solutions.
  • Be an Actuary: This organization can offer a plethora of information on becoming an actuary and what they actually do. Learn how to get started, what to study and how to find a job. Also, find resources for scholarships, internships, and jobs.
  • Mathematical Association of America (MAA): The MAA welcomes anyone interested in mathematical sciences. Members can access contests, professional development, and employment opportunities, as well as join in discussion groups and more.

9 Exciting Numbers Careers

Getting started in a numbers career is no different from most other careers. Volunteer work and especially internships while in college are great resume-builders and experience that employers look for when hiring entry-level people.

Expert Insights

  1. What does your job entail as the owner of a financial services company?
  2. What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a numbers career?
  3. Were there any unforeseen perks/drawbacks to your career when you started it?
  4. What kinds of skills do people need to succeed in your field?
  5. What does a chief risk officer do?
  6. What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a numbers career?
  7. Were there any unforeseen perks/drawbacks to your career when you started it?
  8. What kinds of skills do people need to succeed in your field?
Orlando Miner
Orlando Miner

Founder, Miner Capital Funding

John Morelli
John Morelli

Chief Risk Officer, CENTUM Financial

Resources

  • American Mathematical Society (AMS): Dedicated to mathematical research and scholarship through its publications, meetings, advocacy, and related programs.
  • American Statistical Association(ASA): Association that provides statisticians with career education and resources, news articles, access to its publications, and more.
  • Association for Financial Professionals(AFP): Association dedicated to news, jobs, and networking for financial analyst professionals. This site includes extensive information on macroeconomics and portfolio management.
  • Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM): Encourages women and girls to study and find active careers in mathematics. Promotes equal treatment and opportunities for women in math sciences.
  • Be an Actuary: Includes information on becoming an actuary, studying in college and finding a job.
  • DW Simpson: Chicago-based actuarial and analytics recruitment firm that services the recruitment of actuaries and analytical professionals throughout the U.S. and around the world.
  • Math for America: Association aiming to make "teaching a viable, rewarding and respected career choice for the best minds in science and mathematics."
  • The Math Forum: Provides a wide range of resources about teaching and learning for students, educators, researchers, and others.
  • Mathematical Association of America (MAA): Focuses on mathematics at the undergraduate level. Readers access a variety of resources, including news articles, association publications and discussion groups.
  • Mathematics for College: Helps college students master core mathematics courses through the use of open courseware.
  • MathOverflow: Q&A site for professional mathematicians.
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Aims to help math teachers and students on all academic levels. Includes a mathematics teacher job search page.
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM): Organization with more than 13,000 members whose mission is to "build cooperation between mathematics and the worlds of science and technology."
  • WeUseMath.org: Produced by BYU, this site promotes the importance of mathematics. Includes a section on the wide range of careers involving math.
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