If you are earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in mathematics, you may wonder what you can expect in terms of future employment. In this chapter, we discuss the working life of professional mathematicians. We take “professional mathematician” to mean someone who has a college degree in mathematics and is employed in a mathematical field. This definition is very wide, although not wide enough to include amateur mathematicians. The most famous amateur mathematician was Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665). With apology that professional mathematicians

have. Despite the large diversity of such jobs, there are common traits that professional mathematicians share; we discuss these next. Finally, we talk about what the working conditions of a professional mathematician, especially a university professor, may entail.