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How do I narrow my variety of interests into one career choice?

I am an Early Middle College student enrolled at Baker College as a junior in High School. My favorite subject is math, so I'm thinking about choosing a career that has to do with math, which is so broad. How do I narrow it down? #math #career


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Parker’s Answer

Hi Treighton,

I have a few personal experiences which may help guide you in the right path. To give you some background, I received my degree in accounting and I recently started my career as an auditor. If you don't know what auditing is, it's understanding and testing what makes up a company's financial statements. I also have a sister who graduated college with a math degree and is now working as a high school math teacher teaching calculus and statistics. I think it's awesome you enjoy math because it's both a challenging and rewarding subject that's applicable across so many careers.

When narrowing down math into a career choice, think about the classes you have taken and what makes you enjoy math. Speaking for business; accounting, finance, data analytics, and computer information systems all deal with different forms of math. In addition, take into account the factors you desire in a career such as salary, flexibility, opportunity and growth. Speaking for myself, I find my career as an auditor rewarding because it challenges me, I get to work on a large team to set and achieve goals, and see plenty of room for career growth. My sister enjoys teaching because she finds it rewarding to help her students grow while teaching a subject she loves.

Lastly, I encourage you attend any career fairs Baker College holds and to reach out professionals for their experiences in fields you become interested in. I switched majors four times before choosing accounting my Junior year of college so you are much further ahead than I was. Planning for the future always pay off. Good luck.



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Emily’s Answer

Hi Treighton,

This is more of a common question when starting your college career than you may think! I am similar to you and like math so decided when I got to college to enroll in the business school. From there you will take overall business classes in your first 1-2 years at college and you can figure out which direction you want to go such as finance, accounting, marketing, etc. There are even opportunities to major in business overall so that you can keep all your options open. Overall, for someone who loves math I would start out at the business school and you'll be surprised with all the opportunities it opens up for you!

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Vijay Shankar’s Answer

Hi Treighton,

I would absolutely not narrow down my choices at this stage (high school). Why not pursue math or allied fields (Physics, Computer Science) and follow your nose as to what seems most interesting to you? Often the most rewarding careers are the result of following a relatively broad set of interests.

There are tons of employment opportunities for people with a good head for mathematics and problem-solving.
I personally pursued Physics in university and graduate school and really enjoyed my pursuit. Now I work as a data scientist which is a mix of mathematical problem-solving (a lot of Physics involves math) and software engineering.

If you want to indulge your curiosity for mathematics, I can recommend a few resources (see next steps below) :
If you are looking for more advice, you can't go wrong by reading Terry Tao's career advice - https://terrytao.wordpress.com/career-advice/

Vijay Shankar recommends the following next steps:

Read Martin Gardner's books and his scientific american columns. Maybe start with Colossal book of short puzzles and problems? https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/715563.The_Colossal_Book_of_Short_Puzzles_and_Problems
Watch Vi Hart's youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/Vihart
Watch 3 blue 1 brown youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYO_jab_esuFRV4b17AJtAw
Read Excursions into mathematics - great book that dives into some interesting topics that can be understood by high schoolers, but is not usually taught in high school. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/713411.Excursions_Into_Mathematics
Read Terry Tao's advice page - https://terrytao.wordpress.com/career-advice/

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Gianna’s Answer

Hello Treighton,

It is often hard to figure out what you'd like to do for the rest of your life, as many people struggle with this. I also was thinking about a career in math, but was unsure what to do. So, I majored in general business in college and went from there. When majoring in general business, you get exposure to various fields in business, so it is a good place for you to start.

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