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Moving forward with your Maths/Statistics focused PhD

14 Apr 2016

Stephen Waters

Graduates with backgrounds in Mathematics and/or Statistics wondering where to go next? If you haven’t thought about Data Science as a career previously, now is the time to investigate it further. There is a massive demand for high calibre candidates with your skills and technical abilities in Dublin.

Typically this demand has been centred almost exclusively within the Financial Services and Technology sectors. The onset of the Big Data era and an increasing number of companies that are looking to utilise and manipulate their data assets, mean that we have seen demand explode. Businesses of all sizes and in all industries see the benefit in having strong talent that specialise in this field. The ability to effectively leverage data is seen by some as paramount to setting them apart from their competitors. It is also central to the business model of others.

Companies are in many cases “language agnostic” when it comes to data science candidates. They want to see that you have the ability to understand the underlying statistical and mathematical concepts involved in data science. People who understand this are far more valuable than someone who knows a particular programme, as they allow managers to create teams capable of true research and innovation.

In many cases you will get the chance to work in an R & D style environment that encourages innovation. Often this is much more relaxed and easy going, in terms of culture, in contrast to the rest of the company (Particularly in Financial Services).

Many graduates with a strong MA in Data Analytics (or similar) are in high demand – if you have a maths/statistics-focused PhD, you can consider yourself the cream of the crop and can count on a great starting salary.

If you have not used any current data science tech in you PhD you can increase your marketability as a PhD candidate by taking a Coursera class on Data Science to give you an edge. This is a great way to get exposure to many specialties that currently set the tech sector abuzz including: R, Python, Hadoop and other NoSQL technologies, and techniques used for machine learning, predictive analytics and data mining.

My advice for a first port of call in Dublin, beyond the obvious tier one global tech companies, is in Financial Services. This industry has long recognised the importance of Data Science candidates. Their data analytics teams are highly funded and are given a large amount of autonomy when it comes to projects and technologies. If you are looking for companies that will expose you to cutting edge tools and ground breaking projects, they are hard to beat.

For me, these are some of the most exciting and innovative roles that the tech sector can offer graduates at the moment. You can have the chance to be part of incredible innovation, including, if you are lucky, working with Artificial Intelligence. If you don’t have exposure to some of the areas that I mentioned above do not worry – if you have a strong maths/statistics PhD and would like more in-depth advice, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and we can discuss further.

Steven graduated with a BA in History & Philosophy from UCD in 2010 and an MA in International Relations in 2011. At Brightwater he specialises in Data Science and App Support roles.
Connect with Stephen on Linkedin today!