Algebra, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely Everything!

“When will I ever use this?”, as a Math Instructor, I used to hear it almost everyday. When I go over examples in class I try to make them relevant to students. Of course this means each time I go over examples the relevancy changes based on the fields my students are studying. I am not going to give engineers the same examples I give health care students. However, I decided it was past time to have examples grouped by topic, so this post is focusing on some of the ‘basic’ Algebra topics and the careers that use them. I won’t be able to go over everything, but I do have some links below that have additional examples.

Below is by no means an exhaustive list and will continue to grow as time permits, these are just some examples. While some parts covered in Algebra are not used heavily, the thought process is important for solving problems of any type.

Linear Equations (all variables to the first power)

Sales, profit, loss, breakeven
cost revenue
predicting sales, etc.
Payroll
Purchases
Health Care
Medicine Dosage
IV Solutions
Builder
cost of supplies for a project
amount of supplies for a project

Variation Equations (multiple variables that are multiples in some form)

Banking/Retail/Personal
Simple Interest
Sales Tax
Sales Price
Mark-Up
Health Care
BMI
Investigator
Car Skid
Computer Graphics
Scaling an image

Quadratic Equations (only 1 variable is squared)

Profit Loss Forecast
Design and pay for a pension plan
Health Care
I am sure there is something
Investigator
Trajectory of a projectile
Farm/Agriculture
Maximum or Minimum area given a perimeter

Other ‘basic’ Algebraic Equations