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Is There A Future Without Maths?

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By Dr. Srividya
10 Mar'22  5 min read
Is There A Future Without Maths?
Synopsis

We often hear about the importance of mathematics for students in senior classes, and even further on for their higher education, and that studying and learning maths is absolutely essential for them to do well in their careers. In fact, a lot of people hold a radical belief of how some careers may not grow and people may not succeed if they are not math students or maths is not a subject that they pursue. However, with time, the industry has visibly evolved, careers have become more dynamic, and more accommodating of individual capabilities and likings. Hence, it is high time that we revise our answers to whether or not mathematics is a ticket to success.

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Is There A Future Without Maths?
Synopsis

We often hear about the importance of mathematics for students in senior classes, and even further on for their higher education, and that studying and learning maths is absolutely essential for them to do well in their careers. In fact, a lot of people hold a radical belief of how some careers may not grow and people may not succeed if they are not math students or maths is not a subject that they pursue. However, with time, the industry has visibly evolved, careers have become more dynamic, and more accommodating of individual capabilities and likings. Hence, it is high time that we revise our answers to whether or not mathematics is a ticket to success.

Read more

You can’t live life without maths!”, “You need maths for everything!” These are statements we often hear parents and adults telling students, especially those who find numbers difficult or complex. However, is there an absolute need to learn maths till class 12, really? This article looks at this question and the reasons for this belief.

The purpose of education was to prepare us for life. At least that is where it all started. Given that the ability to add our expenses and plan our budget is a critical life skill, it is imperative that everyone understands numbers and basic mathematical concepts and operations.

However, to what extent is mathematics essential for studies at the higher secondary level, especially for math students who don’t enjoy it? The simple answer to this question is, “Well, it depends.” And that’s the fact, it depends on what you want to do, where you want to work, etc.

Listed below are some sectors where it would be beneficial to have a good understanding of mathematical concepts and operations and where the importance of mathematics for students is reflected best:

  • Banking and investments: If you are keen to work in the financial sector, topics of commercial maths, like rate of interest, profit/loss, and accounting principles would be some regularly applied aspects of maths in your work life.

  • Architecture: For budding architects, it is essential to know measurements and geometry very well.

  • Engineering: This profession often requires the application of many advanced mathematical concepts of algebra, geometry, calculus, etc. Some may need more usage of math, while some may need less, but a good base in maths & physics is essential for most engineering subjects.

  • Defence: Army, navy and most professions related to Defence need you to have a good understanding of maths and physics.

If you were to look at the careers and sectors mentioned above, you will notice that these are the core industries that have been present for over 100 years. The first bank was established in the mid-1400s, and the first engineering diploma was awarded in the 1800s. As many traditional and established careers are based on fundamental and advanced knowledge of maths, this most likely is the reason for the age-old belief that “Mathematics is a ticket to success”.

However, the last fifty years have seen the emergence of many newer careers like media, communication, creative arts, design, languages, alternative medicine, hospitality, fitness, sports, content writing, education, soft skills training, etc., which do not require more than a basic or fundamental knowledge of maths. So, as new careers emerge, it becomes important to understand which of those require more advanced knowledge of maths, and which of those can be pursued effectively with only a basic understanding of the subject.

So, how do you know if you need to, or could pursue maths in senior school? Listed below are some tips:

Do You Enjoy Working With Numbers?

If you enjoy working with numbers then you could just opt for maths as a subject you enjoy. However, do remember that differential and integral calculus, advanced trigonometry and other topics are challenging even for the earnest maths student!

Do You Want To Pursue Engineering?

Ask yourself about the career options you are interested in. If you are keen on some of the traditional careers like engineering, you would need a good understanding of mathematical concepts and applications.

Work In The Financial Services Sector?

Working in the financial services sector requires a good understanding of commercial maths, and it is beneficial to take this subject if it has been offered. Please remember that you need to be good at arithmetic, and be comfortable with numbers to work in this profession.

Understand Eligibility Criteria Of Relevant Courses

Some professions like the army, navy, architecture etc. require maths as a prerequisite subject in classes 11 and 12. If you are interested in any course which requires maths at the higher secondary level, then make sure you opt for the subject. Remember, it would be adequate to score an average in the maths exams, and do well in the entrances to the course of your choice.

Do Your Research

Talk to people who are already in the profession you aim to pursue. There are enough data scientists and programmers who do not have a great liking for maths, but have great logical and analytical thinking. Understand which subjects or courses they opted for, and how proficient they feel in their career after a few years of pursuing the same. Your decision to opt for maths or drop it needs to be based on practical aspects and realities of the job too.

Talk To A Career Counsellor

If you are confused about which course to choose and which career to pursue, it would be beneficial to connect with a certified career counsellor to help you clarify your path and subject choices. This way, you will be more aware of your choices and the reasons for the same.

Listen To All, But Follow Expert Advice

Remember that many family members, especially those who have seen more conventional careers will advise you to take maths. Appreciate and acknowledge their perspective as it is anchored in their experience. Verify and check the latest updates on your chosen career/s, the eligibility criteria and the relevance of maths in the area. Follow contemporary updates and the advice of experts.

Careers Without Maths

Careers related to law, media, arts, design, writing, teaching, marketing, sales, medicine, sociology, clinical research, etc. do not need you to learn maths at the advanced level. Depending on your career choice, you can choose a different subject in senior school.

Remember, knowing advanced maths concepts is not compulsory. However, understanding and using basic arithmetic will greatly enhance your ability to deal with everyday life, and that is the importance of mathematics for students in junior and middle school.

Go on, be calculative about your choice of maths. Good luck, and smiles!

Dr. Srividya is an organisational psychologist, career, and personal growth coach. She works with teens, parents, adults, and returning professionals, to help them align their personal and professional needs, desires, and overcome personal and professional challenges. She can be reached at www.lifevidya.in.

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