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Careers – University of Reading

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Careers

We are passionate that our students have the core technical and soft skills desired by employers, and that they enter the employment market with an awareness of a wide variety of roles across numerous industries.

Careers Support and skills development

Throughout your studies, you'll be able to take advantage of opportunities to develop key employability skills, for example:

First year

  • You will be assigned a personal tutor and be offered regular tutorials to help develop confidence in communicating mathematics.

Second year

  • All courses incorporate a skills module, focusing on understanding employment opportunities and effective applications, building teamworking skills, and presenting the salient points of scientific literature.
  • BSc and MMath Mathematics include a module that aims to develop skills for communicating mathematics.
  • BSc Mathematics and Statistics offers a module that teaches statistical computing and the analysis of data for open-ended problems. It includes the opportunity to undertake statistical consultancy for an external client.

Final year

  • You will be given individual careers support from careers advisors and your personal tutor through a  'personal development review'.

All years

  • A weekly placements advice drop-in session, run by our Placement Team, focuses on finding the right placement, applications, CVs and interview technique.
  • You will have the chance to design and deliver outreach sessions in schools, through the STEMath ambassador scheme (for secondary schools) and the Maths Squad scheme (for primary schools).
  • You will also have the opportunity to seek funding from the Department for a one-week Teaching & Learning project, to be undertaken in the summer, in order to create, develop or evaluate teaching or related materials.

Skills in logical thinking, numeracy and computing are developed throughout the programmes. You can further your skills in logical thinking by attending the weekly Maths Arcade, which is an opportunity for students and staff to get together one lunch time to play board games with a mathematical or logical basis.

Events

We recently held the annual Statisticians in the Pharmaceutical Industry (PSI) careers event. This was a recruitment and awareness event in which ambassadors from

  • 14 pharmaceutical companies;
  • a clinical trials unit;
  • the UK regulatory body;
  • and 4 universities;

met with students from numerous universities to provide an insight into the many opportunities for both mathematics and statistics graduates in this industry.

One attendee said:

"The day as a whole was well thought out and very helpful. I could get first hand information and advice from people working in different fields surrounding Medical Statistics which was beneficial as it enabled me to think more specifically about what sort of area I would want to get involved in.

"Additionally, as a third year BSc student, there were several universities who offered masters in Medical Statistics who I could get handouts and talk to about their masters courses. I would enjoy doing something similar again and would recommend it to anyone considering going."

students at a career fairFurther Study

On average, approximately 30% of our graduates go onto further study.

Popular further degrees have included masters in Mathematics, Statistics, Financial Engineering, Operational Research, Ergonomics and Electronic/Media Imaging. Some graduates have chosen to move on to PhDs in subjects related to mathematics and statistics.

Many of our former students also opted to move into teacher training (PGCE), either in primary or secondary education. To help foster interests in teaching, the Department runs the STEMath Ambassadors scheme, which encourages students to deliver their own or an existing mathematics masterclass in local schools. A new initiative is the Maths Squad, which encourages students to join staff in developing and delivering short outreach activities in local primary schools.

Six months after graduation

The results of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey for our 2016 graduates (all of our degrees combined) are:

  • 95% of our graduates (single and joint honours) are in work or further study six months after leaving;
  • of these, 77% are in graduate-level work or further study;
  • of those who are in full-time work, 75% are in a professional or managerial job.

 

We caught up with some of our graduates to see where their degrees had taken them:

 

'I currently work in London for a financial data provider. My first class Mathematics degree from Reading gave me freedom to apply to wherever I wanted and eventually led to me accepting my first choice job.

'Reading actually introduced me to this company, as I first heard about it through a Maths career event. The Careers centre then helped me to improve my application and guided me through the interview process, even giving me a mock interview when I didn't know what to expect.

'I'm really enjoying my time in London; it's an amazing city with so many possibilities. I'm looking to progress within the financial sector and hope to specialise in risk analysis in the future.

'My job is so much more than I ever expected it to be. Every two weeks I catch up with my manager and she takes note of my areas of interest. I'm currently in my final stages of training and will be responsible for my own clients by April. Mathematics at Reading help me build on my existing problem solving skills and create new analytic skills which have undoubtedly helped me progress in my current role.

'I'm very grateful to everyone at Reading. Without their help, support and confidence in me I wouldn't be where I am today. '

Madeleine Parish

 

'Being a student in the Mathematics and Statistics Department put me in touch with many dedicated lecturers whose aim was to enhance my experience and my education. As I was doing a maths degree I decided to take many of the optional statistics based modules which I thought would help me in the areas I was weaker in.

'The smaller groups in my third year (many people shy away from this approach) gave me the additional benefit of greater teacher/student interaction, which I feel had a positive impact on my results. Many opportunities were given to students to provide feedback to senior staff and the Department were always looking to improve things for the students.

'If I had to say three things about my time at Reading: really enjoyed my time there; left with the qualifications I needed to go into my chosen career; got a first!'

Jon Fitch (now studying for a PGCE)

 

'After graduation I made the decision to stay in Reading, rather than return home for any length of time, with a group of friends. I had a part-time job that could cover rent payments, but otherwise I applied for local jobs as a software developer. I wanted to gain some experience using programming languages after hearing some comments suggesting maths was a good background for programmers to have.

'In October I received a job offer from Sovereign Housing Association to join their Solutions team, which including myself consists of seven people. The position is temporary until August, however it has allowed me to learn a lot of useful development skills and given me a position to explore more languages and methods. My day-to-day work has me solving problems and improving efficiency of the company's systems and employees, and when coding it helps to approach the tasks with a logical mindset that I picked up from my degree.

'Looking to the future, I hope to improve my programming skills with the materials I have access to. The skills I am learning will be very transferable between a lot of different companies, however ultimately I hope to move into video game development and will seek to join the industry as a programmer. I believe that my time at Reading gave me the basis to follow this career path and I appreciate it greatly.'

Jasper Lunn

Graduate Careers

'I graduated from Reading University in 2011 with an MMath degree. After a final summer vacation I began working at BAE Systems Maritime Submarines. After 2 years of placements in systems engineering, finance, and software engineering on their graduate scheme, I am about to enter a full-time post within Combat Systems for Submarines.

'The MMath degree was a fantastic degree in terms of the graduate scheme; the broad technical knowledge gained from the degree allowed me to undertake such a diverse placement: I was not exclusively constrained to engineering or finance.

'It is an incredibly exciting business, boasting products such as the Astute Class Submarine, Eurofighter Typhoon and Type 45 Destroyers; I wouldn't have had such an opportunity without my time spent studying at the University of Reading.'

Alex Dolphin (MMath Mathematics)

 

'After graduating, I started a PhD researching the evolution and transmission of infectious diseases including hepatitis C, campylobacter and norovirus. My focus lies in developing methods that use DNA data to investigate how infection propagates – both at a global level (for example, how one particular strain can dominate and cause a worldwide epidemic) and also more finely between patients in and between hospital wards. Most importantly, my work aims to demonstrate how whole genome sequencing can inform better intervention strategies and improve public health response in the future.

'During my time at Reading, I was inspired by the range of courses on offer. This was particularly important as someone with a keen interest in biology as well as maths at A-level, as I was unsure where I wanted my degree take me and was subsequently able to build both theoretical and practical experience in a number of areas. Notably, it was at Reading that I was introduced to, and became passionate about, the applications of statistical genetics – a field I had no idea I could go into whilst at school. I was also inspired by courses in public health and epidemiology, and began wondering how genetics might be combined with these – directly leading to where I am today.'

Bethany Dearlove (BSc Mathematics and Statistics; MSc Biometry)

 

'Since leaving university I have been working for Television Research Partnership in Taunton; the organisation specialises in providing TV, Radio and New Media research for a large number of clients including the BBC. My job involves analysing and interpreting numerical data from a variety of sources for the BBC as well as managing a team of two. My main expertise is in the Radio/Music sector where I regularly provide training and advice to others in the company. Recently I've been involved in getting data for the BBC's Annual Report which gets published every year.

'One of my biggest jobs is providing in-depth reports on the performances of the BBC's summer music festivals including Glastonbury and the BBC Proms. Part of this involves choosing comments from the audience - quite entertaining as I get to read what people really think of the coverage! I am also the company's expert in Statistics and advise others within our company on the application and use of statistics as well as organising training courses for them. Through my job I regularly visit the BBC headquarters in London for meetings; whilst there I've been lucky enough to see rehearsals for Strictly Come Dancing, watched Pointless being filmed and been shown around the Radio 1, 1Xtra and Asian Network studios.'

Amanda Kaminski (BSc Mathematics and Statistics)

 

"Initially after graduating from my degree I worked at as a Modeller for Network Rail, where I got to test changes in the timetable and infrastructure and have input into some of the important schemes being developed for the future.

"After a couple of years I changed my career direction back towards mathematics. I now work for the Ministry of Defence as a Scientist where I get to directly use and apply the mathematics learned in my degree, particularly in the areas of numerical modelling and fluid dynamics. This solid grounding has also enabled me to work on projects in all kinds of related fields such as chemistry, physics and biology.

"As well as thoroughly enjoying my work, I am working towards Chartered Mathematician status, which we provide me with external recognition of my work."

Sarah Williamson (MMath Mathematics)

 

'I graduated from Reading in 2012, and in my final year of the BSc course applied to study for a PGCE. I am now close to finishing this course and am eager to start my job as a teacher of maths at a school in Hertfordshire.

'I have always wanted to be a teacher, but studying Mathematics at university cemented my choice to apply for a PGCE in the subject. Studying at Reading allowed to me to further my enjoyment and understanding of mathematics, both of which I am now able to share with the students I teach. I was able to choose most of the modules in my final year and this allowed me to focus of the areas of maths I took greatest interest in and would also be keen to teach. Whilst at Reading I took advantage of the extra opportunities to gain experience of working in a school, an essential for any initial teaching training courses.

'Going straight into Master's level education after graduating allowed me to remain focussed and ready for the hard work that a PGCE brings. I am now considering continuing to study for Master's in education while working as a teacher.'

Sophie Wren (BSc Mathematics)

students at a career fairFurther Study

On average, approximately 30% of our graduates go onto further study.

Popular further degrees have included masters in Mathematics, Statistics, Financial Engineering, Operational Research, Ergonomics and Electronic/Media Imaging. Some graduates have chosen to move on to PhDs in subjects related to mathematics and statistics.

Many of our former students also opted to move into teacher training (PGCE), either in primary or secondary education. To help foster interests in teaching, the Department runs the STEMath Ambassadors scheme, which encourages students to deliver their own or an existing mathematics masterclass in local schools. A new initiative is the Maths Squad, which encourages students to join staff in developing and delivering short outreach activities in local primary schools.

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