I graduated from Rose Polytechnic Institute (not Rose-Hulman then) in 1971. I had encountered statistics as a junior and really enjoyed it, so decided to go to graduate school at Virginia Tech pursuing a PhD in Statistics. My solid mathematics background from Rose gave me the skills and knowledge to be successful in that program and, after a two year side trip working for BF Goodrich in Akron, Ohio, I was awarded my doctorate in 1977.
I started teaching mathematics and statistics at The University of Akron in 1978, but found that my interest in computer science led me to teach more and more CS courses. Ultimately I decided to return to Virginia Tech to get a Master's degree in Computer Science. Once the computer science split from mathematics at Akron in 2001, I became the Chair of the Department of Computer Science.
While a faculty member at Akron, I also did considerable consulting with companies locally and nationwide, utilizing my knowledge of mathematics, statistics, and computer science in various projects.
In reviewing my professional career, I would say that I was a generalist rather than a specialist. However the common thread in all of my work was the necessity for a solid foundation in mathematics.
I have always found that problems in many fields can be solved using the thinking processes developed in mathematics courses. The skills, mindset, and knowledge are applicable in so many areas of professional life that it is impossible to predict exactly when you will need them. But when you do need them, there is no substitute.