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Do you like mathematics? The question evokes the strongest of reactions, especially in class 12 students who have just got their results. Either you love math or hate it-there is no middle path. Math is an essential skill and among the crucial subjects when it comes to getting into the most sought after courses, but a course in pure math is not seen as a ticket to a lucrative and stable career. Students and parents have their reasons, but soon that will be passe. The employability of math graduates has been undergoing a steady change. Academic positions were the most preferred option earlier, and they continue to be strong options even today, but industry is also offering equally rewarding careers.
Much of the change is being driven by new-age businesses like analytics and domains like computer science and financial services which require candidates with deep mathematical skills. Students coming out of reputed mathematics programmes can expect to be in high demand in the coming years. The government has also realized the importance of reviving interest in mathematics and has declared 2012 as 'National Mathematical Year'. "One really strong trend is the rise of analytics," says Ashok Reddy, head of Team lease, a leading staffing firm in the country. "Analytics as a domain cuts across industry verticals and is growing fast globally."Big names, ranging from Amazon and eBay to Google and Microsoft have their own in-house analytics divisions. A number of third party analytics service providers have come up in India who service global names across industries and they need people with good math skills. Bangalore-based Mu Sigma, one such large firm, has made it part of its logo which goes: 'Do the math.' "My dream recruit would ideally be a mathematics plus computer science graduate," says Dhiraj Rajaram, CEO of Mu Sigma. "There's no better time to do math than now," said Atul Jalan, founder and CEO of Manthan, an analytics firm in Bangalore. The firm has a core team of 56 mathematicians, including many PhDs.In many firms, including Manthan, salaries for core analytics team is higher than those in other divisions. Companies like Google, IBM, Facebook and Microsoft are known to hire mathematicians and computer science scientists. As more of these technology companies set up operations in India, the demand for people skilled in mathematics is going up. Financial services firms are another set of recruiters. "They also need a large number of specialists to support the complex financial products. Statistical modelling and financial domain knowledge can be particularly useful," said Madan Padaki, CEO of Merit Trac, a testing and Assessment Company.Independent Knowledge Process Outsourcing companies and those associated with large IT firms are growing fast and require graduates with mathematical skills. "The critical thing to realise is that industry is a lot more interested if you bring mathematics plus something to the table. They are not just looking for number crunchers," says Reddy. Applied mathematics is what industry looks. Good communication skills and industry domain knowledge can enhance chances of a math graduate landing an industry job. "Maths lets us be better decision makers and the future belongs to people like that," says Rajaram.
Courtesy: Times of India
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