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What maths do you use in your job?

(221 Posts)
DreamingofBrie Tue 19-Mar-19 14:17:41

A few years ago, a teacher started a brilliant thread on MN, asking posters whether they used maths in their job, and if so what job they did. The thread had hundreds of responses and it was great to see the diversity of the replies - I've used those responses in my classroom to show pupils how maths is used in jobs that they might not have thought of. Replies included a pilot, QC, nail technician, mediator, charity worker, SAHM, computer network programmer, chef, dancer, sports performance coach and many many more.

I'm a Maths teacher, so I use all sorts of maths in my job every day grin. I'm hoping for more interesting replies from this thread, so that I can update the display in my classroom!

Thanks in advance!

Seeline Tue 19-Mar-19 14:21:58

In my job as a town planner I use maths to work out the volume of extensions, the percentage increase resulting from additions to buildings, housing densities, and using scales on plans.

Needallthesleep Tue 19-Mar-19 14:23:30

I work in FMCG marketing and do % differences, and calculating margins multiple times a day.

sackrifice Tue 19-Mar-19 14:24:35

I used to be an engineer on construction sites so used weights and measures to calculate the strength of soil so that other engineers could use my calculations to design roads, bridges, etc. I worked on the Dartford bridge (QE2 bridge), the M20, The Thanet Way, and most roads in the south east. If you drive to get the ferry or the Eurostar I would have tested the soil under your feet decades before you got there.

I also worked on the large football stadiums. I remember Pride Park Derby being particularly interesting as it was all soggy mud and we lime stabilised it to make the clay harder and able to take the weight.

I am particularly proud of the piled foundation diameter calculator that I designed on lotus 123 long before excel came along.

GetOffTheRoof Tue 19-Mar-19 14:24:43

I'm a woman (relevant!) and I work in construction (unusual!) in health and safety. I review all sorts of documents, so generally I'm not the one doing the original maths.

I do however have to check calculations and therefore understand very complex concepts around structural engineering, land surveys, landslip risks, weights, measures, crane loadings, wind speed effects, and a whole body of other areas. I do find some of it baffling and have to ask specialist engineers to help me with some of it!

sackrifice Tue 19-Mar-19 14:26:31

Nowadays I use it in calculating funding payments for a large project I am managing on behalf of the government. And in providing dashboards on performance management for the higher ups.

Comefromaway Tue 19-Mar-19 14:27:56

I work in payroll and accounts. I have to add up coatings of jobs. Work out VAT on invoices. Find percentages of work completed. Work backwards to find the nett figure if VAT has been added on. Interest rates, percentage discounts etc.

Thatsnotmyotter Tue 19-Mar-19 14:28:11

I’m a midwife and I use maths to calculate and check drug dosages to ensure that mums and babies are given medication as prescribed and safely. On a more basic counting and addition level, I use maths to work out how many weeks pregnant women are!

amusedbush Tue 19-Mar-19 14:29:34

I work in admissions and course management in a university. I don't use complex maths but we have various admissions/conversion targets, plus I check weighted class grades, I process payroll for temporary tutors and I provide stats/forecasts for senior management. It's more just numbers and data than proper maths, I suppose.

IncredibleSulk Tue 19-Mar-19 14:29:58

Drug calculations, weight gain/loss, weight conversion, timings. I can’t think of a job where it wouldn’t be needed really.

LosingLola Tue 19-Mar-19 14:33:53

Basic drug calculations.
To work out an ETA.
To work out how much overtime I've done.
To work out how old someone is (surprisingly, a lot of people give an answer such as "oooh, 97 in 6 months")
I use angles when looking at an ECG.
I look at a graph for an expected peak flow, and then figure out 50% and 33% of the value.

RedSippyCup Tue 19-Mar-19 14:34:28

I work in large scale food manufacturing.

I use percentages, ratios, fractions, all that sort of thing to scale up and down recipes, work out percentages of percentages (so if a pudding is 40% sauce and 10% of the sauce is blackberries, what weight of blackberries in one pudding?)

Or reconstituting things like concentrated fruit juices.

People often want to know how much x in y or if I take out x grams of sauce how many grams of sponge do I need to take out to keep the ratio the same.

Or calculating parts per million into a percentage or an actual weight. I have to do that often.

I've really noticed some of my younger colleagues (I'm only mid 30s!) Don't know where to begin with calculating stuff that's a little complicated.

DreamingofBrie Tue 19-Mar-19 14:36:39

IncredibleSulk, what is your job?

In my former life I was a project engineer in a factory, so used maths to complete capital expenditure proposals, plan timings and resources for project installation and commissioning - all alongside the current production schedule! We also had a view of whom we were competing against when quoting for new projects, so needed to see where and how we could make our quotes competitive.

Thatsnotmyotter Tue 19-Mar-19 14:37:49

Also working out how much weight babies have lost as a percentage and calculating how much formula they should be having (if bottle feeding).

insancerre Tue 19-Mar-19 14:38:00

I work in a nursery and use it to work out how many staff to children we need
I work out fees and do the cash sheets
I work out occupancy both current and future forecasts
I have to work within budgets for resources, food, maintenance etc
I have to work out the percentage of children making a good level of progress across all age groups, all areas of the curriculum and produce reports showing gaps and areas for improvement
There’s probably more
Oh and I also teach it to children from 0-4 through play

DreamingofBrie Tue 19-Mar-19 14:38:02

LosingLola, what is your job? I don't want to guess in case I'm wrong!

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Toiletbrushofdoom Tue 19-Mar-19 14:38:22

Camhs therapist. I use statistics a lot.

- analysing questionnaire results (involves data tables etc)
- graphs to chart symptoms and goal progress, help clients understand where they're at
- generally understanding of stats (and all the ways in which they can be fiddled) to help work out whether the latest research is meaningful or not

It's not as maths-y as something like accountancy but my job would be really hard if I couldn't do it.

ImaginaryFriends Tue 19-Mar-19 14:38:44

Not in a job.
I knew a guy who always said he was no good at maths but could workout a complicated bet in no time at all.
I do mean complicated ones not just to win or each way bets.

Whatchitsonny Tue 19-Mar-19 14:40:19

I am a caseworker dealing with medium/large public sector organisations that have messed up their finances.

I have to work out from their accounts what deficits they are running, both in-year and cumulative. This involves a lot of adding and subtracting then working out what percentage of their income is the deficits. I also have to work out what percentage of income they are spending on various things. I comb through the accounts looking to see where money has been misattributed or hidden.

I also look at montly cashflows and work out whether bailouts are needed and if so, how much and when. I check budget forecasts to see if they are a) accurate and b) reasonable in terms of costings and income projections which can be affected by a variety of factors.

bloodywhitecat Tue 19-Mar-19 14:40:33

Carer for children on a palliative pathway, I use maths for drugs calculations daily. On a ward these calculations would be done by a nurse but in the community I give and sign for the drugs I give so I have to be sure I am giving what is prescribed and not just rely on the dispensing label.

bathorshower Tue 19-Mar-19 14:40:59

Part of my job involves video editing. Cleaning up the sound involves a lot of maths - fourier transforms to see the frequency spectrum, and work out where the noise might be so I can take it out. I'm hoping OP knows what a Fourier Transform is, even if her students don't yet! A good understanding of log scales to adjust different sound levels from different microphones so they match.

I also help set up for recording, so knowing how feedback works in a sound system (and how to remove it!) is part of my job too.

PepsiLola Tue 19-Mar-19 14:41:47

I'm an accountant, so pretty much all day I use math and IT!

Simple adding up, working out tax(%), ratios for KPIS etc.

DreamingofBrie Tue 19-Mar-19 14:45:08

BathorShower, I do remember Fourier Transforms in the dim and distant past (A-Level Further Maths and first year of Engineering degree!), but haven't taught it yet!

There was a quote previously, mentioning them from a computer programmer:

I used to write software that ran mathematical models to interpret DNA profiles. The actual models were written by a statistician but I had to understand mathematical notation and the theories behind the models. I also did a bit of signal processing of results from lab instruments (Fourier transformations etc.) I don't use it much at all in my current job. I miss it!

LeesPostersAreInFrames Tue 19-Mar-19 14:46:06

I work in a museum. I have to count and add up money in the till, give change, calculate area for displays, work out percentage discounts and deposits for events, stick to a budget, understand percentages against targets, resolve card receipts against bank statements, check my pay is correct with overtime payments and tax.

moomoogalicious Tue 19-Mar-19 14:49:24

I'm a bookkeeper so use Maths every day: percentages, addition/subtraction/multiplication/division, fractions and formulas if I'm using excel.

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