Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Career Mathematicians: America’s Most Lucrative Profession?

Given that in a 2013 survey shows that they now earn about the same as - or slightly higher than - a typical Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, are mathematicians now America’s most lucrative profession? 

By: Ringo Bones

An overwhelming majority of the American public view career mathematicians as lone researchers into the most abstruse of matters, but frequently, America’s career mathematicians frequently work with other scientists. A survey conducted back in 2013 has shown that the median annual salary of a career mathematician in the United States was about U.S. $101,360 – comparable to that of a typical Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. Given that career tenured mathematicians in the United States could turn out to be one of the best-paid jobs, could there be any prevailing trends that lead to this rather fortunate outcome? Though, if you ask me, one should not put a cheap price on brain power.  

Since the internet boom of the latter half of the 1990s, “big data” and the analytical mathematical models describing them had become a hot commodity for the top commercial internet firms. Remember how career statistician Nate Silver (full name Nathaniel Read Silver) who used mathematics to show an uncannily accurate Obama victory prediction for the 2012 U.S. Presidential Race weeks before the November election via the use of big data is a powerful proof of the power of mathematics. Though years before, Nate Silver’s powerful analytic mathematical contribution to Major League Baseball has been immortalized in the movie Money Ball. 

Will – if favorable trends continue – career mathematicians will soon be earning more money than investment bankers? Could be, given that the leading internet firms had been inexplicably quick in commoditizing and monetizing big data and are also very keen on using analytical mathematics to describe and predict trends via big data – or to use higher mathematics to manipulate big data for commercial gain.     

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