The future of computing is still in flux.
The most common way to describe the state of the art is “it’s not done yet,” said Alex Wroblewski, chief scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But he said it’s more than that.
A new set of algorithms is creating a new level of computational power.
And the future of math is only going to get better, he said.
Math jobs are becoming more important.
A recent survey from CareerBuilder found that, out of more than 500,000 job postings, about 30 percent involved math.
That means that more than 40 percent of people looking for math jobs now work in the field, Wroblowski said.
As math jobs become more common, so too will the demand for mathematicians.
Wroblingwski believes there will be more mathematicians in the next few decades.
But there’s no guarantee that they will be hired.
A good example is a software engineer at Facebook who has been laid off for a while.
The engineer, who had spent more than 10 years working at Facebook, had a chance to get a job at another company in the Silicon Valley, Wroplewski said.
“But they’ve closed up shop and I’m not sure how they can make it in the software industry,” he said of the Facebook workers.
“It’s not like he was going to leave Facebook and go work at Google.
He didn’t have a great relationship with the engineers.”
Wrobledwski and others say it’s not enough for a mathematical career to have an employer who will hire a mathematician.
There needs to be a higher standard of job candidates.
That will be an even more critical challenge when it comes to hiring mathematicians, he added.
Math job candidates need to be able to communicate and work well in a team environment, and they need to have the skills to solve problems and do problems well, Wrobleski said, adding that there are some jobs that require a lot of math, such as computer vision, and others that require more math, like a financial analyst or computer programmer.
Wroblywski also pointed to a growing number of jobs in finance that require math skills.
A 2014 survey by CareerBuilder showed that about two-thirds of finance jobs in the U.S. require at least some math skills, and one in five of those jobs require at most two years of math education.
The survey also found that more people are working in finance than in the financial services industry overall.
The rise in mathematics jobs has a long history, according to Wrobleski.
“I’m really interested in this idea of having a higher level of math literacy, a higher degree of math ability,” he added, adding, “There are a lot more jobs requiring math skills in this country, than there are in other industries.”
Wrobbleski said that a big part of the problem is that math is a field that has not been well-served by technology.
It’s been a hard-to-reach job for a long time, he explained.
In the 1980s and 1990s, mathematicians could be found in places like Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University and Harvard University.
Today, that’s not true.
“The math job market is really stagnant and that’s a problem that mathematicians are starting to face as they transition from the classroom to the workforce,” Wrobieski said and added that it’s important to have more mathematician talent.
It may take decades to get that talent into the field.
That’s what led to a surge of interest in the fields of computer science and computer engineering, where many of the mathematicians that Wroblerswki described are now employed.
The next wave of mathematicians may be the ones who help solve problems like building self-driving cars, Wrotowski said, while also developing technologies that will help businesses make better business decisions.
“There’s a whole spectrum of mathematical skills that you can bring to the table, and I think that will continue to grow as we move forward,” Wrotwski added.
“As we move to a higher-tech world, that will mean that we’ll see more mathematicic jobs.”