Welcome to a new feature on Tips N Tricks that features people from a variety of careers who started off studying mathematics.

Our first Math Career spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to Professional Services Engineer, Steven Coates.

“I am a Professional Services Engineer with Fortinet, a network and security company. I provide design, implementation and configuration services to customers for network security, routing, switching and access.

How do you use math or mathematical problem solving in your work? How does your math background help you in your job?

A large part of my job is troubleshooting and problem solving. With IP networks, you must take logical steps in problem solving. The rigor required for success in mathematics directly translates to quickly and efficiently dealing with complex network issues.Also, IP networking requires a thorough understanding of the binary number system.

What motivated you to study math?

I initially started my college career in the Electrical Engineering track. As I was a non-traditional student, I didn’t start college until I was 29, I had to start in lower level classes. In order to take EE classes I needed to have completed Calculus 1. My first college math class was College Algebra in the fall of 1999. By the following fall, I had passed [all the prerequisite courses and Calculus]. At this point I was still a EE student but was not very interested in the engineering classes. Within a couple of semesters I changed my major to Math and never looked back. There was just something about Math that grabbed me.

What would you say to a student who is thinking about studying math but doesn’t what a typical math career.

A degree in math is very attractive to employers in just about any technical field. The problem-solving skills and the logical thinking required makes someone with a math degree a great asset. If math is interesting to you, study math.”

Lo-res_185329426-SIf you know someone who would be ideal to do career spotlight, submit their name to us!