There’s satisfaction in solving problems for the common good.
BY CHRISTINE KNIGHT
When Dr Cameron Maxwell began his studies at the University of Technology Sydney, he had no way of knowing his career would eventually impact millions of people nationwide.
“During my undergraduate and PhD I worked as a traditional engineer,” Cameron says. “But I wanted to keep my options open.”
He picked up specialist skills in simulation, optimisation and machine learning during his PhD while working part-time for Avolution, a boutique consulting firm in Sydney, and after his PhD, at Intersect Australia. This helped propel his career towards business and government consulting, solving problems involving large amounts of data.
In 2014, Cameron joined PwC as a manager in the Insight Analytics team. His work involves consulting with external businesses on problems ranging from traditional financial analytics to modelling a typical day in a call centre. The data from modelling helps businesses to make evidence-based decisions. For instance, call centre data assists businesses to make the best possible improvement to customer experience while maximising return on investment.
“I work with clients across a range of industries including government, mining, construction, retail and financial services to understand their technical and non-technical needs,” he explains.
“This often involves developing a deep understanding of their point of view as well as the technical nature of the problem.”
One such problem Cameron and the PwC consulting team are working on involves public transport. “We model the millions of trips made by commuting passengers in Sydney each day,” he says.
They obtain data from a number of sources, including transportation providers and operators, and analyse it to reveal ‘pain’ points in the network, such as the location of overcrowded platforms. The results are directed towards improvements.
“The area of public transport has seen open access datasets being released by government over the last decade. It’s a great opportunity to help make decisions that affect the public good.”
Cameron hopes to build his PwC consulting team by bringing in more engineers with advanced STEM skills. “At the highest level we’re looking for people with machine learning, agent-based modelling or predictive modelling skills.”
2014–present Manager, PwC Australia
2004–2007 Doctor of Philosophy (Computer Science) at UTS
1999–2003 Bachelor of Engineering (Software) and Diploma of Engineering Practice at UTS
Author: Heather Catchpole
Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs