Add it up -- Mathematicians earn top pick as the best job

If you thought math was just a boring grade school subject, you might be kicking yourself now for not putting in more effort., a new job-search site, evaluated 200 professions in a study that came out today and named mathematicians as their top pick
To determine rankings, the study evaluated income, physical demands, stress, and employment outlook.

What makes mathematics such a hot field? The working conditions are typically comfortable, especially when compared to brick layer and sewage-plant operator, just some of the other professions in the study. Mathematicians work indoors with no physical strain, and they don't have to deal with toxins or noisy machinery. Even better, the job comes with a nice payday. The survey estimated the annual salary of a mathematician is $94,160.

Jennifer Courter, a mathematician for 3D-visualization software maker Mental Images Inc. in San Francisco, told the Wall Street Journal that her job allows her to problem-solve, which she says, to her, is calming. A mathematical-based computer software she and her colleagues developed was used in the production of such blockbuster films as The Matrix and Speed Racer.

Jobs that fared well in the survey included those that had little physical labor, avoided exposure to the elements, and steady, predictable hours. Labor-intensive jobs that put workers outside ranked low, with the bottom three jobs being taxi driver, dairy farmer, and lumberjack.

I'm happy to say that the job of an accountant made the top ten, and I'd have to agree. It's also interesting to note that four of the top 10 jobs are heavily reliant on math skills, so students should take that into account when they're busy dissing the business of numbers. I have to question the validity of the survey, however, when I see the job of parole officer at number 13. I once had that job, and the highlights were low pay and days spent in bad neighborhoods doing "home visits." I'll stick with numbers, thank you.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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