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Into maths and drones? Put your skills to work in mining

A worker uses a drone on a construction site

Miners and builders are awash with data, meaning they’re on the hunt for talented data science graduates to make sense of it all

Mining and construction are two of Australia’s biggest industries. There is a huge amount of data and maths involved in them, and skilled grads are needed!

From drone surveys to sensor data, buildings and mines are getting more intelligent all the time. This is producing a lot of data that needs to be analysed and processed to keep workers and residents safe, and to help anticipate and solve potential problems before they occur.

Data and maths have other cool applications too, such as in virtual and augmented reality models. Whether you love maths and modelling or are deeply into data, the opportunities will keep increasing as we find new ways to put data to work.

Graduate opportunities in mining

Two major mining companies are on the hunt for talented data science students to fill graduate and internship roles.

Rio Tinto’s two-year grad program offers individual coaching, game-based leadership training, inspirational talks and practical placements. There are also holiday internship opportunities that could give you a foot in the door!

BHP’s two-year program includes mentoring and buddy programs to get your career off to a great start. You’ll rotate through two to four roles to get a good feel for what you want to do. And, if you’re keen to get in early, BHP has internships available for students in their second to penultimate year of uni.

Data + construction

We asked Professor Srinath Perera from the Centre for Smart Modern Construction at Western Sydney University about opportunities for data science grads.

Q. Where does construction data come from?

A. More and more construction processes and activities are going digital and tapping into technology. For example, drones are now used to survey construction sites and buildings. We’re also starting to embed sensors in concrete slabs and columns to monitor movement, temperature and other properties, and we then share that data over the internet of things (IoT).

Q. How much data is there?

A. Sensors generate enormous amounts of data. We call this ‘big data’. This data needs to be analysed so we can predict building faults and maintenance ahead of time. We can also use data analysis to create augmented reality overlays with ‘X-ray vision’, which can show maintainers where electrical cables and pipes are located.

Q. What opportunities are there for maths and data science grads?

A. A lot of construction companies will employ more maths and data science grads in the future to gain meaningful insights from the growing amount of data being produced. At the moment, we don’t have the skills to analyse data, so there will be a lot of opportunities for data science grads. And we need brilliant minds to keep the construction industry vibrant!

Crunching the numbers

Have you ever wondered who keeps multimillion dollar construction projects on track?  Quantity surveyors are the accountants of the construction industry. They are the brains behind budgets – from the start of the project right through to the finishing touches. Quantity surveyors are in high demand and come to work in Australia from all over the world. 

Tackling climate change with maths

A very cool PhD project at Western Sydney University is using maths and blockchain technology (the tech behind bitcoin) to estimate the carbon emissions of buildings. Tracking emissions from power and building operations is straightforward, but it’s trickier to calculate the carbon from materials and building construction. This project sources accurate data from manufacturers to solve that problem. The blockchain system also makes sure the data stays secure. It stores many copies of the data, so if one copy is corrupted or changed, it can be fixed straight away.

Start your career here

Maths & Data + Mining & Construction + Study

Maths & Data + Mining & Construction + Careers

  • Quantity surveyor: $53K–$112K
  • Graduate mining data analyst: $56K–$122K
  • Data visualisation analyst: $54K–$90K
  • Data analyst: $56K-$103K
  • Salaries according to payscale.com, australianminingcareers.com.au

This article was originally published in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data. For more on STEM careers, subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up to our e-newsletter.

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