The world of words
Q: What exactly is philology? What does the work entail?
A: In modern usage, the term philology is defined as “an affinity towards the learning of the backgrounds and current usage of spoken or written methods of human communication”. Since philology seeks to understand the origins of a
language, it is often defined as the study of ancient texts and languages, although this is a rather narrow and not entirely an accurate view.
In the academic sense of the term, philology describes the study of a countrys language along with its literature and the historical and cultural contexts which are indispensable for understanding the literary works and other culturally significant texts. Philology thus comprises the study of grammar, rhetoric, history, interpretation of authors, and critical tradition associated with a given language.
If this doesnt sound Greek to you, heres more. A part of a philologists job is to distinguish the words of one language from the roots of another, by recognising the common (shared) roots and grammar.
For instance, the similarities between Sanskrit and European languages, first noted in the early 16th century, led to the speculation of a common ancestor language from which all European languages descended — now named Proto-Indo-European.
Philology was one of the 19th centurys first scientific approaches to human language but gave way to the modern science of linguistics in the early 20th century due to the influence of Ferdinand de Saussure, who argued that spoken language should have primacy.
Philology is further divided into five main branches: Comparative philology, radical philology, textual philology and text editing, cognitive philology and deciphering ancient texts.
Next big wave in outsourcing
Q: Is remote infrastructure management the same as facilities management in the real estate industry? What exactly does it entail?
A: No, infrastructure management has nothing to do with managing brick and mortar. Instead, it falls within the information technology domain. Infrastructure outsourcing involves the management of personal computers, servers, and security for banks, trading houses and insurance companies among others.
This is going to be the next big wave in outsourcing. While Indian companies are currently handling $1.2 billion worth of work, the figure is expected to touch $8.8 billion — making India a global hub for remote infrastructure management. Not just that, remote infrastructure management has the potential of employing millions of graduates.
Exciting career in medicine for number crunchers
Q: I am pursuing BSc in mathematics because I could not clear the medical entrance exams. But I have great interest in medicine and related fields. Is there any specialisation course that will make me eligible to work in the field of healthcare or medicine?
A: One option that immediately comes to mind is biostatistics which is an inter-disciplinary field that applies statistical methods and techniques to collect, manage and analyse data on living organisms and biological systems. Biostatisticians also study the risk factors that lead to the development of a disease and apply experimental design and projection methods, descriptive statistics and specific applications to health and biological sciences
The real skill lies in identifying and assessing the sample and accurately analysing the mass of data, as in the case of bioinformatics for instance, for mapping the number of genes on a chromosome or a large study of patients.
The work also involves analysing clinical trials of new medicines before they are released in the market. There are three phases of a trial: The first step is to check the toxicity of new drugs on volunteers; the next step is to study the economic viability of the drug and the last step is to determine the exact dosage.
Biostatisticians perform all these assessments. However, biostatistics — and even applied statistics — are only just beginning to take shape in India.
You can opt for working in any of the following areas: Programme management, policy analysis or teaching.
You will closely work with doctors, paramedics, pharmacologists, sociologists and related professionals on collaborative projects in hospitals, pharmaceutical firms and large biochemical and bioengineering labs with strong research programmes as well as with public health policy research centres to structure and plan effective public health programmes or devise strategies for disease prevention and control, population and nutrition studies.
There is a huge demand for trained professionals who can crunch numbers and feel at home with handling complex data. Exciting new methods like neural network modelling (fuzzy logic) makes this field highly challenging for those with a bachelors in mathematics (pure or applied) or statistics, and computer science and an interest in health and medical sciences. Medical practitioners with an aptitude for statistics can also specialise in this field.
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