O.S. Shekhar Singh
Mathematics is as old as civilisation itself and is one of the most useful and fascinating branches of human knowledge. It encompasses many topics of study and as such it is difficult to define the term “mathematics” which comes from a Greek word meaning “inclined to learn”. It may, however, be broadly defined as the scientific study of quantities, including their relationships, operations and measurements expressed by numbers and symbols. In simple words, mathematics deals with study of numbers and their various calculations. The most important skills in mathematics are careful analysis and reasoning, and thus logic is the floor on which the structure of mathematics is built.
The Importance of Mathematics:
Mathematics is used by all individuals in everyday life. In science, mathematics is an essential tool for nearly all scientific studies. Scientists use in it designing experiments, analysing data, expressing precisely their findings by mathematical formulas, and making predictions on the basis of these findings. Such physical sciences as astronomy, chemistry, and physics rely heavily on mathematics. Social sciences, economics, psychology, and sociology also depend greatly on statistics and several other branches of mathematics. Economists (notably econometricians) use computers to create mathematical models (or econometric models) of the economic systems.
Skills and Personal Qualities:
Mathematicians use mathematical theory, computational techniques, algorithms and the latest computer technology to solve economic, scientific, engineering, physics, and business problems. Professionals are often a part of an interdisciplinary team that may include economists, engineers, computer scientists, physicists and technicians. Deadlines, overtime work, special requests for information or analysis, and prolonged travel to attend seminars or conferences may be part of their job.
Employment outlook and opport-unities as Maths Professionals:
- Operations Research Analy-sts: Operations research has been defined as an interdisciplinary branch of applied mathematics and formal science that uses advanced analytical methods such as mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, and mathematical optimization to arrive at optimal or near-optimal solutions to complex decision-making problems. Operations research analysts formulate and apply mathematical modeling methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with policy formulation and other managerial functions. They help managers to make better decisions and solve problems. If you’re planning to take this profession be sure you have a thorough knowledge of strong quantitative and computer skills: an advanced knowledge in mathematics.
- Mathematician: A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study or research is mathematics. Mathema-ticians are concerned with particular problems related to logic, space, transformations, numbers and more general ideas which encompass these concepts. They do research, come up with problems and solutions, etc.
- Chartered Accountant: With the rapid growth in economy, careers in finance and accounts have gained tremendous popularity and the most esteemed career option in this filed is that of Chartered Accountant. A Chartered accountant is somebody who specializes in accounting, auditing and taxation.
- Software Engineers: A highly fulfilling career, software engineers design and develop software. They apply the theories and principles of computer science and mathematical analysis to create, test, analyse and evaluate the software applications and systems thatmake computers work. Software engineers are also experts in theory of computing systems, the structure of software, and the nature and limitations of hardware to ensure that the underlying systems will work properly. Professionals in this field have excellent prospects in the next five to 10 years.
- Banking: You could work in any one of the following areas in Banking – accountant, customer service, front desk, cash handling, account opening, current account, savings account, mortgage loan underwriter, loan processing officer, back end operations, product marketing and sales executive, recovery officer, retail asset manager, property appraiser and customer service executive. As banks provide loans for setting up business and for various development work and thereby generate thousands of jobs and career opportunities in the banking finance sector.
- Teachers: If you have an affinity for numbers, you can pursue a career in teaching. A maths teacher is always on demand as this is considered one of the main subjects throughout schooling. It is a highly paid job in India as many maths teachers provide coaching or tuition to students. Mathematicians who work in academia usually have a mix of teaching and research responsibilities.
- Computer Systems Analy-sts: Professionals in this field use IT tools to help enterprises of all sizes achieve their goals. Most systems analysts work with specific types of computer systems – for example, business, accounting, and financial systems or scientific and engineering system to prepare cost-benefit and return-on-investment analysis to help management decide whether implementing the proposed technology would be financially feasible.
Mathematics offer opportunities in Software, Insurance, Market Research, Education, Securities, Banking Sector, Economics, Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Technical Braches, etc.
India has a rich tradition in math since time immemorial, and this has led to the establishments of various centers of learning in math and related sciences. In the present day too, there are various institutes offering math education and research of world repute in India. Mathematics is taught as a compulsory subject upto Class 10. At the Class 10+2 level, students may opt for the subject, if they so desire. However, those who want to take engineering and technology courses after 10+2 must opt for it 10+2 level. Mathematical of Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation are important components of many admission and recruitment tests. At the undergraduate level, mathematics is offered as one of the combinations both for B.A. and B.Sc. courses. In some universities, it can be taken up as the principal or honours subject.
The two best places in India offering a Bachelor’s degree in math are the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bangalore and the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), Chennai. ISI offers a B.Math degree and CMI offers a B.Sc degree in Math and Computer Science, admission to which is through a written test held in various centers of India in late May each year. Both ISI and CMI also admit students who have qualified in the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO), or are Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) fellows. Some other institutions offering specilized courses are, Numerical Mathematics (Madurai-Kamaraj University), Mathematical Economics (Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya), Industrial Mathematics (University of Pune and North Maharashtra University), Business Statistics and Biostatistics (Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women), Applied Statistics (University of Madras), Statistics with Computer Programming (Bundelkhand University).
At the Master’s degree level, Mathematics is offered by more than 135 universities in India. The courses are offered by the Departments or Schools of Mathematics. Often there is one department or school for both mathematics and computer science. The nomenclature of the award is both M.A. and M.Sc. Some universities make a distinction between Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Student can also apply for an Integrated MSc-PhD degree offered at some places in India. For integrated MSc-PhD programmes the best places are:
- Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai (through a written test and followed by an interview)
- The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai (admits through NBHM exam followed by an interview)
- Harish Chandra Research Institute (HRI), Allahabad (through a test followed by an interview)
- An Integrated MSc degree offered by the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Pune, Mohali, Kolkata, Trivandrum and Bhopal, and also at the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) at Bhubaneswar. The IISER admits students via IIT JEE, KVPY and through board exam performances. While the NISER admits students through the National Entrance Screening Test (NEST).
- A student can also opt for an Integrated MSc in math offered by University of Hyderabad, which admits students through a written test held in early June. Various central universities also have the Integrated programme.
Pondicherry University and IIT’S offer five year integrated courses in the subject after school. Besides courses in general, pure, and applied mathematics, a small number of programmes are available in such topics as Computational Mathe-matics (of Mathematics with Computer Applications), Mathe-matical Statistics, and Mathematical Economics, Mathematics with Computer Application, Industrial Mathematics, and Functional Mathematics.
Two other most important areas are Statistical Quality Control (SQC) and Operations Research (OR). Some are, Diploma in Health Statistics (DHS) - All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (Kolkata-700073), PG Diploma in Statistics (Dr. B R Ambedkar University) PG Diploma In Statistics (Punjab University), PG Diploma in Statistics of two years duration (Banaras Hindu University), Certificate in Statistics (Andhra University), Certificate in Statistical Computing (Karnataka University). Most of the universities which have Master’s degree programmes also have facilities of predoctoral and doctoral research. A number of fellowships are available for pursuing doctoral studies.
Mathematics is a recognized professional career and is among the top career choices made by students in India. Students having general interest in calculations opt for Mathematics career in large numbers. Mathematics is offered by Indian Universities through distance mode also.
(The writer is a research scholar. He is at present Chief Librarian, Navodaya Vidyalaya, Mewat (Old Gurgaon)-122108 Haryana, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)