From the Editor’s Desk
14th November 2023
Students in the science stream in A Levels may choose a career in Mathematics or Physics. However, they likely do not know where to start, or even which options are available to them. This article aims to shed light on the myriad of options which students can choose from if they are keen to pursue Mathematics and Physics in future.
The starting point to a career in Mathematics and Physics is the type of university degree students must choose. Students can study a general Mathematics or Physics degree, or they can opt for a more specialised degree which deals with a particular area of Physics, such as nuclear physics, if they aim to work in places which are trying to harness nuclear energy as a viable energy source in the event that fossil fuels are no longer available.
The specificity of the degree is highly important as it will affect students’ progression in university. It is completely fine if students do not know what topics they would like to specialise in, as this often arises in their final year of university when they would have a better understanding of the underlying concepts in Mathematics. However, students should do some research and explore which jobs are not only attainable and feasible, but also are complementary to the kind of lifestyle which they want to live.
Some students enjoy the more theoretical applications of Mathematics, hoping to pursue an academic career, with potential occupations such as being a lecturer in a university. Those who are interested in studying a subject for its own sake could consider taking a degree in Pure Mathematics. However, others enjoy a more practical application of Mathematics, which will grant them a broad range of occupations in many different fields. For the students who enjoy studying the practical applications of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics could serve them well.
For instance, students with a good knowledge of Mathematics could work in aviation or in the military, designing technology and pushing the frontiers of human capabilities and knowledge. The finance industry is also appealing to mathematicians, with markets requiring better models to encapsulate the uncertainty of the financial markets. Some of the best economists are Physics majors as their love for modelling natural phenomena in the real world could translate to making models in hopes of reducing the amount of chaos and spotting trends in finance.
The tech industry would also appeal to people studying mathematics and who possess a working knowledge of programming, as the rise of the use of Artificial Intelligence to track things and people in real life as well as predict decisions means that mathematicians will be in high demand.
Students should think about which careers are in high demand in Singapore if they want to increase their prospects after studying mathematics or physics. As Singapore is a highly-developed society which makes use of many technological advancements to simplify the daily lives of its citizens, there are many different fields to be considered when choosing a career. Students should look around them (they sometimes need to go no further than the MRT station) to see a potential career and use for their degrees. When designing trains and railways, physics and mathematics are essential to determine which materials and how to build efficient transportation systems.
To conclude, when thinking about careers in Mathematics or Physics, students should do ample research as a career is not a small decision to make. Often, for careers in any field, students will invest a high amount of time and effort and they should be sure that they will at least minimally are interested in what they are doing.