V. Rajendran passed out with an M.Sc. (Mathematics) degree last year from a top institute. He was hired by a software company on the campus in double quick time and is now part of the company’s core analytics team.

A couple of years ago, a candidate of Rajendran’s profile would not have suited the IT industry. But, today, mathematics and statistics graduates are sought after in the analytics and big data sectors — the fastest growing areas for the industry. Consultancy firm Gartner said the global business intelligence, analytics and performance management software market surpassed $12 billion in 2011.

For instance, UST Global, the US-based software company, has hired nearly 50 graduates with mathematics and statistics background.

Business intelligence

These new staffers are part of the business intelligence group analysing raw data that come in different forms. This could be even from social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, said Bharath Krishnaswamy, Global Business Unit Head, UST Global, which has over 6,000 employees in India.

Rajeeva Karandikar, Director, Chennai Mathematical Institute, said there has been an increase in the demand for maths/statistics candidates from IT and other sectors too such as financial services and consulting.

The institute has a programme in applications of maths but this is very recent. “If we can produce 50 students who are well trained in mathematics/statistics, they would get decent jobs. These candidates could get between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 10 lakh per year as cost to the company,” he said.

According to E. Balaji, CEO of HR company Randstad India, internal analysis shows a spurt in the demand for candidates with M.Sc. mathematics and statistics for analytics. The demand for such a profile in the IT and ITeS space is growing gradually. Analytics around consumer behaviour is a key requirement driving this trend.

There is an increase in the compensation levels for candidates with these profiles across both Indian companies and MNCs. Apart from MSc, people with advanced quantitative skills, B.Sc. (statistics) graduates are also in demand for these roles, says Balaji.

Departure from traditional IT

According to Naresh Nagarajan , Senior Vice-President & Head, Ecosystem Business Incubation, HCL Technologies, social media, analytics and cloud (SMAC) need skill sets that are departures from traditional IT where the company always looked at programming skills. As entry criteria, it also hires candidates from non-IT streams but those which are foundational to SMAC. This includes analytics for which it hires post graduates in statistics and mathematics.

raja.simhan@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 13, 2012)
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