# Five Jobs That Include Algebra

Algebra converts the relationships among objects to formulas and symbols to allow calculations. The subject not only acts as a foundation for higher mathematics, such as calculus, it is used to figure such everyday problems as the amount of paint needed to cover a wall or the interest rates on a loan, so algebra is necessary in many jobs.

## Plumbers

Trade occupations, which focus on working with hands, are not normally associated with algebra, which is commonly assumed to work only with intellectual pursuits. Yet mathematics appears in the licensing exams for plumbers. They require algebra to determine the flow of liquids, how it is affected by the force of pumping equipment, and what size and length of pipe best accommodates those factors.

## Civil Engineers

Civil engineers build large public structures such as highways, dams, sewer systems and airports. They use algebra and advanced math to calculate the strength of materials so that their constructions remain durable through many years of constant use. The math varies by projects. For example, highway specialists need to determine traffic flow, while those who construct dams measure the force of water. All projects come at a price, so all engineers must calculate the cost of materials and personnel, and then determine project schedules.

## Database Administrators

Set theory is a part of algebra. Database operators store and classify information into sets and then use relational operators to sort and report on data. For example, they may put a company’s customers and their contact information in a table. They can then create queries to determine how many of them live in a particular marketing area, so those customers can be assigned to particular salespeople.

## Programmers

Algebra expresses the calculations needed in a computer application, whether it’s the number of sales in one month or the speed at which a three-dimensional tank rumbles across a video game, so even when working with basic business problems in entry-level positions, computer programmers must be expert users of algebra and be able to translate its symbols and formulas into the computer language that they use.

## Nurses

Entrance exams for nursing school as well as for state-required nursing licenses have algebra questions, so all aspiring nurses must learn algebra just to receive training and begin their practice. In their profession they need to calculate the dosages of drugs and drip rates for intravenous feeds so that patients receive safe and effective medication. They must take into account patient condition, weight, time and doctor’s instructions and may even need to convert between English and metric systems.

References

- Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Algebra, Jobs and Motivation
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab: Jobs That Use Algebra
- Chattahoochee Technical College: Computer Programming Associate of Applied Science Degree
- Renee Career Facilitation: Math for Healthcare Nurse
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Civil Engineers Do
- Preview Guide for LPN LVN Pre-Entrance Exam; Mary E. McDonald
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: U.S. Wages

Writer Bio

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.