ZDnet, Guest post By Melissa Thermidor, August 11, 2012
... Andrew Brust of ZDnet writes: It struck me that educational values and approaches in India might make Data Science skill sets there more abundant than in the U.S. and other developed countries. Perhaps Data Science will help India transcend the stigma/typecast of a tech talent center that is merely lower in cost. I asked LatentView's Manager of Marketing, Melissa Thermidor, herself an American living in India, about my theory. She confirmed my hunch and, in this guest post, expounds on the subject.
Data Science in India: meeting requirements, not just budgets
India's education culture is benefitting Data Science, and the country is producing Data Analytics professionals that compete not just on relative cost, but on absolute talent.
Culture and workforce needs align
Education is considered the fourth necessity after food, clothing and shelter. However, in today's competitive world, and especially in a country like India with a ballooning population of over 1.2 billion, education at times is given a higher precedence than those other three necessities. India has always been at the forefront of Mathematics and Science. The concepts of arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry, spherical trigonometry, and continued fractions have been constant since the time of Aryabhatta.
This fascination - and at times borderline obsession - in India towards mathematics has continued to this day, and math is still the most preferred and sought after subject in schools and universities. India produces hundreds of thousands of graduates in the fields of science and mathematics every year and this number is on the rise.
An emerging economy, and emerging partnerships
The Indian economy is now amongst the largest in the world, and is still experiencing rapid growth. From the hub of the IT services sector, the shift is now toward making India an engine for knowledge-based services, with Data Analytics foremost among them.
This is evident in universities in India, in collaboration with some of the top schools across the globe. These partnerships have introduced a wide range of courses relating to Statistics and Data Analytics, helping to produce graduates capable of combatting the shortage of available manpower in Data Science. A representative example of this is the top-tier Indian Institute of Management - Lucknow teaming up with the US-based Kelley School of Business, to provide courses completely focused around Data Analytics. Other Indian universities are following suit and forming overseas partnerships to offer courses focused around Big Data and Data Analytics
Power in numbers
There are a whopping 600,000 students of science and mathematics in India graduating every year. In total, India sees more than 2.3 million university graduates and nearly 750,000 post-graduates every year, and it is not uncommon to find people in the talent pool with two Master's degrees. India's younger demographic constitutes nearly 70% of the country's total population. That's a lot of brain power, which puts India in good stead to take on Big Data.
Destination, not detour
While many US firms were initially hesitant to work with an offshore provider, sourcing to India is no longer a taboo. But some are still skeptical about shifting work geographically for lower costs.
For Data Science, India is not simply a cheaper alternative; it's a go-to market for talent that can't be found elsewhere. LatentView Analytics stands as a prime example: we specialize in the area of Data Analytics, have a vast and impressive clientele and have a substantial team of Data Science specialists. And Data Science is not a boys-only club, either: one third of our team is female.
Editor: See also Confessions of a Serial Analyst - A LatentView Short Film from LatentView analytics.