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top earningsCNN published a story about the Most Lucrative College Degrees base on a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  Of the top 15 careers, they all depend upon a strong background in mathematics and problem solving.  Here are some key quotes from the article:

“Math is at the crux of who gets paid,” said Ed Koc, director of research at NACE. “If you have those skills, you are an extremely valuable asset. We don’t generate enough people like that in this country.”

“It’s a tech-driven world, and demand [for engineers] is only going to grow,” said Farnoosh Torabi, employment expert and Quicken blog editor. “You can’t say that about many fields, especially in a recession.”

There are far fewer people graduating with math-based majors, compared to their liberal-arts counterparts, which is why they are paid at such a premium. The fields of engineering and computer science each make up about 4% of all college graduates, while social science and history each comprise 16%, Koc noted.

As a result, salaries for graduates who studied fields like social work command tiny paychecks, somewhere in the vicinity of $29,000. English, foreign language and communications majors make about $35,000, Koc said.

“It’s a supply and demand issue,” he added. “So few grads offer math skills, and those who can are rewarded.”

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wsj-storyThe Wall Street Journal published the results of a survey in an article called “Doing the Math to Find the Good Jobs.” It will be encouraging to Math Circle participants to know that mathematicians topped the list when considering such factors as work conditions and income.

In fact the first six careers in the list all draw heavily from the types of discrete mathematics taught at Math Circle

  1. Mathematician
  2. Actuary
  3. Statistician
  4. Biologist
  5. Software Engineer
  6. Computer Systems Analyst

This is what the article has to say about at least one person’s experience as a professional mathematician:

According to the study, mathematicians fared best in part because they typically work in favorable conditions — indoors and in places free of toxic fumes or noise — unlike those toward the bottom of the list like sewage-plant operator, painter and bricklayer. They also aren’t expected to do any heavy lifting, crawling or crouching — attributes associated with occupations such as firefighter, auto mechanic and plumber.

The study also considers pay, which was determined by measuring each job’s median income and growth potential. Mathematicians’ annual income was pegged at $94,160, but Ms. Courter, 38, says her salary exceeds that amount.

Her job entails working as part of a virtual team that designs mathematically based computer programs, some of which have been used to make films such as “The Matrix” and “Speed Racer.” She telecommutes from her home and rarely works overtime or feels stressed out. “Problem-solving involves a lot of thinking,” says Ms. Courter. “I find that calming.”

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Melanie Wood, former IMO team member and doctoral student at Princeton.

Melanie Wood, former IMO team member and doctoral student at Princeton.

Dr. Andreescu’s study is getting global attention including this widely read New York Times article. While the article and study describe the problem in great detail, we are fortunate that one of the solutions is the community provided by MMC and other Math Circles.

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In addition to being the subject of books like Count Down, the Director of Metroplex Math Circle, Dr. Titu Andreescu is also the author of multiple books on problem solving. These books draw on his many years of experience as the director of AMC, coach of the US International Math Olympiad team and author of many contest problems.

To help the Metroplex Math Circle community we have created an Amazon List with some of Dr. Andreescu’s currently available books. In addition to Dr. Andreescu’s books for experienced problem solvers we have also included some books and resources on the list for students just starting into problem solving.

Not only does Metroplex Math Circle benefit from Dr. Andreescu himself, but many of his co-authors are also friends of MMC and frequent lecturers.

Following are the author descriptions from the book 104 Number Theory Problems: From the Training of the USA IMO Team:

About the Authors

Titu Andreescu received his Ph.D. from the West University of Timisoara, Romania. The topic of his dissertation was “Research on Diophantine Analysis and Applications.” Professor Andreescu currently teaches at The University of Texas at Dallas. He is past chairman of the USA Mathematical Olympiad, served as director of the MAA American Mathematics Competitions (1998–2003), coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad Team (IMO) for 10 years (1993–2002), director of the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (1995–2002), and leader of the USA IMO Team (1995–2002). In 2002 Titu was elected member of the IMO Advisory Board, the governing body of the world’s most prestigious mathematics competition. Titu co-founded in 2006 and continues as director of the AwesomeMath Summer Program (AMSP). He received the Edyth May Sliffe Award for Distinguished High School Mathematics Teaching from the MAA in 1994 and a “Certificate of Appreciation” from the president of the MAA in 1995 for his outstanding service as coach of the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program in preparing the US team for its perfect performance in Hong Kong at the 1994 IMO. Titu’s contributions to numerous textbooks and problem books are recognized worldwide.

Dorin Andrica received his Ph.D. in 1992 from “Babes-Bolyai” University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania; his thesis treated critical points and applications to the geometry of differentiable submanifolds. Professor Andrica has been chairman of the Department of Geometry at “Babes-Bolyai” since 1995. He has written and contributed to numerous mathematics textbooks, problem books, articles and scientific papers at various levels. He is an invited lecturer at university conferences around the world: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Turkey, and the USA. Dorin is a member of the Romanian Committee for the Mathematics Olympiad and is a member on the editorial boards of several international journals. Also, he is well known for his conjecture about consecutive primes called “Andrica’s Conjecture.” He has been a regular faculty member at the Canada–USA Mathcamps between 2001–2005 and at the AwesomeMath Summer Program (AMSP) since 2006.

Zuming Feng received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University with emphasis on Algebraic Number Theory and Elliptic Curves. He teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy. Zuming also served as a coach of the USA IMO team (1997-2006), was the deputy leader of the USA IMO Team (2000-2002), and an assistant director of the USA Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (1999-2002). He has been a member of the USA Mathematical Olympiad Committee since 1999, and has been the leader of the USA IMO team and the academic director of the USA Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program since 2003. Zuming is also co-founder and academic director of the AwesomeMath Summer Program (AMSP) since 2006. He received the Edyth May Sliffe Award for Distinguished High School Mathematics Teaching from the MAA in 1996 and 2002.

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As the Metroplex Math Circle enters its 3rd year hosted by the University of Texas at Dallas, we are excited to announce this new site which will provide students with information about upcoming sessions.

Metroplex Math Circle was founded by Dr. Titu Andreescu and is one of his many initiatives to improve the level of mathematical problem solving in the Metroplex, in the US and in the world.

In its first 3 years the Metroplex Math Circle has brought to our region world renowned mathematicians and helped dozens of students explore their love of math and improve their performance in national math competitions.

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