The numbers behind everything: maths + data skills are in demand

Emma Studerus - Maths and Data
Emma Studerus is a Bachelor of Data Science student at QUT

Hot tip: Data literacy will be the most in-demand skill for employers by 2023

You heard it here – maths and data skills are in demand for, yep, just about everything.

Floods, fire, pandemics, climate change – it’s been a tumultuous couple of years and the cost of these disasters is huge on both society and the economy. So just what is the damage? Ask mathematicians.

Mathematicians tackle some of today’s biggest societal challenges, from predicting climate change and bushfire risk to understanding social trends, combatting online bullying and so much more.

It’s not just disasters where mathematicians (working in risk and insurance, banking, economy and policy) are super relevant. Think social good. Conservation. Health. Transport. Retail… Every industry sector has a strong need for people with maths skills. US job website, CareerCast has ranked maths-based careers in the “10 Best Jobs” for the past seven years.

Apply yourself

While maths theory has its own special beauty, the applications of maths are hugely varied and interesting. And QUT, with its focus on real-world applications, is the perfect uni to dive into these.

In fact, it’s one of the top unis for applied maths – where maths is set to tackle real-world problems across a number of fields, including engineering, information technology, commerce, biology and medicine. One hundred per cent of maths graduates complete an industry-driven project in a work-integrated learning program. In your final year, you’ll apply your knowledge to a real-world project, delivering it to an industry client.

QUT’s Bachelor of Mathematics offers three majors: Bachelor of Mathematics (Applied and Computational Mathematics) looks at the massive, tricky problems in energy, the environment and health, using maths models to build computer simulations, testing ‘what if’ scenarios and making accurate predictions.

The Bachelor of Mathematics (Operations Research) is about optimising the design
of systems relying on scarce resources. It could see you tackle challenging problems in transport, food, mining and defence.

Finally, the Bachelor of Mathematics (Statistics) sets you up with the Big Data capabilities to provide evidence-based decisions across a range of industries. The report Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution, predicts that data literacy will be the most in-demand skill by 2030.

Want to combine maths with another interest through a double degree? There are some excellent maths + X combinations at QUT! Think maths + communications = decision scientist or policy advisor; or maths + interactive design = realistic game environments. With maths you will add in-demand skills to some of today’s most interesting careers.

Data science – a future-proof career

Data science skills can be applied to almost any industry. You’ll find machine-learning engineers building chatbots to make online banking easier, data analysts crunching numbers to improve patient care in hospitals, and statisticians gathering data to help sports teams track performance and strategies.

QUT is the place to be if you dream of creating smart tech or doing maths to bring numbers to life to solve big, real world problems. At the Centre for Data Science, researchers work on data-driven solutions for a range of big challenges in sports, government, business and environment. The Centre also offers research and professional training opportunities to students who are keen to build their hands-on experience while they study.

Last year, QUT launched the Bachelor of Data Science, the first standalone undergraduate degree of its kind in Queensland. And in just two years, enrolments in QUT’s Master of Data Analytics almost tripled. Data science undergrads take a deep dive into processing, data acquisition, storage, management, analysis and visualisation.

Data science case study: creating better cancer diagnosis and treatments

A team at the QUT Centre for Data Science is using massive genetic datasets and machine learning to explore how different types of cancer develop over time. The researchers are drawing on their data analytics know-how to better understand how cancer progresses in patients across different groups and cancer types. They are also using genetic data to predict a patient’s prognosis, improve diagnosis and ultimately identify which drugs will work best for each patient – an important step in improving personalised treatments.


Start your career here

Maths and Data Study

Maths and Data Careers

  • Bioinformatician: $50K–$86K
  • Data scientist: $64K–$135K
  • Health information manager $61K–$122K
  • Risk analyst: $61K–$100K
  • Machine learning engineer: $56K–$128K

Salaries according to

Maths and data role models

This article was created in partnership with QUT and originally appears in the QUT STEM Guide 2022. 

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.