Maths students have a lot of career options: experts

While a variety of careers are open to maths majors as mathematics is involved in most sectors related to science and technology, students should prepare to adapt to their future jobs, experts have said.

Maths students have a lot of career options: experts
Students study information about professional orientation and exams at a Career Day held at Vinh University in Nghe An Province. VNA/VNS Photo Ta Chuyen

According to Vu Ha Van, Scientific Director of Vingroup Big Data Institute, Professor in Mathematics at Yale University, after graduating, maths majors tends to engage in teaching or do research at universities or institutes and use math tools in their work at businesses but this number is very small.

Van cited the Microsoft corporation, where he used to work, as an example. Every week, the manager would talk to the mathematicians about a problem that needed to be solved, from which the mathematicians would find the proper tool. Then the work was assigned to coders.

“Normal coders will not be able to come up with solutions, so a mediator with math skills was needed.

"Thus, if you can both write code and have maths skills, your chance of advancement in the company is very high," said Van.

Nguyen Ngoc Doanh, from Thuy Loi University, a member of the safety group of National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, said his group was seeking staff for a project that involves the development of COMOKIT- a COVID-19 modelling kit.

Although the requirements are not high, with even part-time work from students acceptable, few people have applied for the job, he said. It showed that there was a shortage of labour in applied mathematics.

Nguyen Xuan Hoang, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of MISA Joint Stock Company which specialises in software production, said human resources majors in maths and informatics are always in great demand in his company, adding that priority was given to those with a good mathematical background.

“The knowledge of maths that students learned at university provides a strong foundation for them to work in a wide variety of sectors, particularly information technology,” he told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.

Phan Thi Ha Duong, managing director of Vingroup Innovation Foundation, said there were a lot of job opportunities for individuals with maths degrees or other advanced training in mathematics.

Speaking at an event entitled 'Math – How to learn & Where to do?' held recently by Vingroup Innovation Foundation – Vingroup Big Data Institute, Institute of Mathematics and Centre for Information and Documentation, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, she said scientists, even students majoring in maths, took part in many projects that seemed not to relate to maths such as applying artificial intelligence systems to diagnose myocardial infarction in hospitals, or 3D printing technology.

“For these applied research projects, it is a must for workers to have a good maths background.

“The good news for all students is that whether they study theoretical maths or applied maths, job opportunities are always open,” she said. 

Meeting the demand

 

Vo Sy Nam, head of the Translational Biomedical Informatics Department at Vingroup Big Data Institute (VinBigdata) said though his current job seemed unrelated to maths, he still wished he had learnt more about the subject.

Nam said he was in a class for gifted students with maths as a major, learned IT at the university and then went to the US to study for a doctorate and researched biomedical informatics. Now he has returned to Vietnam and works in the major he pursued in the US.

However, he said sometimes he had to read maths books to find solutions to problems he was facing.

“Students who major in maths at university shouldn’t worry about what they are learning for. In my experience, we should learn more about probability and statistics, combinatorics and graphs,” Nam said.

He also advised them to learn to programme in modern programming languages.

Ha Minh Hoang, from Phenikaa University, suggested students who major in maths in college master programming skills, learn how to manage time properly and the ability to work in groups to improve their job prospects.

“Regarding theoretical maths, you usually do it alone or collaborate with only a few people. With applied maths, you have to work with many parties. The bigger the project, the more people you will work with,” Hoang said.

According to Doanh, what students need to prepare for depends on their future jobs. However, he said, projects that use applied maths now need people with knowledge of graphs and differentials.

Maths is a broad concept so students should focus on subjects that are relevant to current trends, according to Van.

Nowadays, as most technologies are related to computers, discrete mathematics, and probability and statistics are essential subjects.

For example, every year VinBigdata enrols between 100 to 150 students majoring in their final year to train in artificial intelligence. The first prerequisite is that they have mastered probability and linear algebra. Then comes programming and English. 

VNS

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