Numbers surround us — they are on our debit cards, they comprise our phone number, and every action on our computer is a series of ones and zeroes. Who understands the relationship between numbers more than anyone else?

Mathematicians create models of systems to explain mathematical phenomena. Pure mathematics brings understanding to the world of numbers. The theories which mathematicians publish, often apply to many other fields, such as finance, cryptography, biology and myriad other fields. Many mathematicians work with scientists, helping them to understand the results of their data. When mathematicians conduct their own research, large computers are needed to process the volume of numbers pouring through the system. Mathematicians often work for the government, in private research institutions, for financial institutions, or for colleges and universities.

How does one become a mathematician? This is a field that requires a high degree of education: at minimum, a Masters of Mathematics, though often a doctorate is needed. To begin, students should take as much math as possible in high school. In college, it is best to major in mathematics or applied mathematics.

After all of those years of study, there is a bright outlook: the average mathematician makes $99,380 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Georgetown University Report on the Economics of College Majors reports that 95 percent of mathematics majors are employed after graduation. There is some growth in the industry expected from 2010 to 2020 and a 16 percent growth in mathematics positions nationwide.