Math Majors Solve Employers Problems

Posted on August 8, 2017 by Chris Chmura

With students packing up to go back to college this month with declared or undeclared majors, it’s a good time to consider the fields that graduating students are going into and whether they match up with the skills businesses need.

Do the math.

From 2010 to 2016, students with a degree in computer and information sciences and support services grew at a strong 6.9 percent annualized pace — more than three times as fast as overall graduates (2 percent). This is based on the National Center for Education Statistics completions data for U.S. postsecondary schools. 

Growth in the computer field was especially robust in master’s degrees, which more than doubled from 18,114 degrees to 40,316 from 2010 through 2016. Bachelor’s degrees in computer programs also experienced strong growth, moving from 40,446 degrees to 66,559 over the same period.

Those graduates should have no problem finding a job. There were more than 620,000 job openings in the nation for computer occupations, according to Chmura’s Real Time Intelligence.

The top four metro areas for those jobs are New York (with 47,417 postings), Washington D.C. (46,526) San Francisco (25,394), and Los Angeles (25,082).

Top 10 Metros with Job Postings for Computer Occupation
Location Post Count
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA MSA 47,417
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 46,526
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA 25,394
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA 25,082
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI MSA 23,777
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 22,337
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA 20,602
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA 20,513
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA 18,505
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 16,450
Source: JobsEQ® Online postings for the 30-day period preceding 08/07/2017

Among the fastest growing individual programs over the past several years are those found where the fields of business and mathematics intersect.

Graduates in programs in management sciences and quantitative methods saw impressive growth over the last six years. For example, graduates in business statistics surged from 70 completions to 963 in the nation from 2010 to 2016 and other management sciences and quantitative degrees almost tripled from 638 to 1,908 over the same period.

Large increases in the number of graduates also occurred for students with degrees in statistics and applied mathematics, including financial mathematics where the number of degrees surged from 351 in 2010 to 1,366 six years later.

These graduates shouldn’t have trouble finding jobs either with more than 48,000 job openings in the nation for people with strong quantitative skills.[1]

These positions range from financial analysts to fraud examiners and clinical data managers. New York, Washington, and Chicago are the top metro areas with job openings.

Top 10 Metros with Job Postings for Quantitative Skills
Location Post Count
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA MSA 5,764
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA 2,856
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI MSA 2,209
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA 2,061
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA 1,771
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA 1,548
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA 1,533
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA 1,481
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA MSA 1,078
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA 1,057
Source: JobsEQ® Online postings for the 30-day period preceding 08/07/2017




[1] This group of occupations is defined by eight digit O*NET Standard Occupational Classification codes for financial analysts; risk management specialists; operations research analysts; fraud examiners, investigators and analysts; statisticians; investment underwriters; financial quantitative analysts; clinical data managers; biostatisticians; economists; financial specialists, all other; environmental economists; mathematicians; and mathematical science occupations, all other.

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.