Building Skills

Skill building—now is an optimum time

Given the wide range of opportunities you may encounter, it’s hard to give specific one-size-fits-all advice for building skills to complement a math degree. But here are some general observations about ways to use your time in college to build your skills.

Earn money assisting with math classes

The Mathematics Department hires 40+ undergraduates each year to assist instructors as undergraduate interns and graders. Duties typically include small-group tutoring and proctoring and grading exams. Some employers especially value the technical communication skills gained through formal tutoring responsibilities. Many other departments, including Biology and Economics, offer similar opportunities.

Take a job in another department or lab

Math students have worked in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Neuroscience, Psychology, and many other labs. Think about your interests, and look for work that helps you acquire more practical and theoretical knowledge.

Hone your communication skills

You will have the chance to get to know and work with many interesting people while at IUB. To work effectively together, you need to be able to communicate well—in person and in writing. Be respectful and enjoy the great variety of things you’ll be able to learn from others.

Cultivate your independent learning skills

Keep in mind that you don’t always need a class to learn something—the Internet abounds with of free resources for building technical skills. Remember that your first real job will require a lot of independent learning—now is a good time to develop that skill.

Learn how to interpret data

If you’re going to be an actuary or work extensively with data, knowledge of probability and statistics is essential.

Consider opportunities in tech

Software analysts and software testers don’t necessarily have to have extensive background in programming. Software developers and engineers, in contrast, usually do.

Develop computer proficiency

Microsoft Excel is used almost everywhere. It pays to become proficient with it.

It’s a good idea to learn at least one programming language fairly well. Between Google and YouTube, you can always look up the syntax for those things you don’t know.