When I was in college, I really enjoyed my theoretical math classes. But at the same time, I was aware that they were a dead end of sorts – theorems and proofs had little to do with most real-world work. Unless I was going to obtain a doctorate, this kind of math was only really necessary to help shape our minds so that we can solve other problems in our real careers. At one point I wanted to teach high school math, where that sort of thinking was the norm. Were students really going to use the quadratic equation in real life? Certainly not, we had calculators and computers to do that for us. Just like strength training, math exercises are a preparation for something a bit different.
But like most of us, life played out differently and I ended up in a career that suited my skillset more – cost estimating. It was nice to discover another field where math wasn’t just a bunch of theories, but tools people could use to solve real life problems.
When I joined PRICE in 2017, I had only a little bit of knowledge of the cost estimation industry. I knew it used a combination of math, engineering, and research. In fact, to be a part of the Cost Research department at PRICE®, one needs to be a generalist of the cost estimation field (or for a fun pun, a “polymath”). This is because our Technology creates predictive, prescriptive models for many different types of aerospace and defense products (software, IT, hardware, etc.) for the lifecycles of programs. So, I had a lot to catch up on when I first started working here. And I still learn every single day…
It may not be teaching High School math, but I’m lucky to have a job where it’s required that I synthesize knowledge growth instead of staying stagnant.