Big Data education hinges on business, university partnerships

Hey, college grad, ever heard of Hadoop? Know anything about statistics? In the coming years, big data skills might help you land a good job, InformationWeek reports.

Data analysis is expected to play a greater role in day-to-day business operations, a development that will require many university graduates to attain at least a basic understanding of big data tools and technologies.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts a 25 percent growth in the need for analytics-trained workers through 2018. And research firm Gartner estimates that more than 4.4 million big data-related jobs will be created by 2015, but only a third of those will be filled.

Of course, one can quibble with the accuracy or timeline of these projections. But there’s no denying the fact that volume, variety and velocity of data — big and small — continue to grow, and that organizations increasingly need employees with some degree of data-analysis skills.

A partnership between academia and business can help accomplish that, according to Georgetown University professor Betsy Page Sigman.

“It’s important for universities to partner with companies so that they can stay cutting-edge,” Sigman said in a phone interview with InformationWeek. “It’s important that (schools) find companies they can have a relationship with so that they can expose their students to new technologies that are out there.”

This process is already underway, of course, but in its early stages.

… Sigman points to a recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute, which uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to divide big data talent into three job categories, which Sigman calls Deep Analytical, Big Data Savvy and Supporting Technology.

Deep Analytical, as its name suggests, includes professions that require extensive knowledge of advanced technology and science, such as database administrators and programmers, mathematicians and operations research engineers.

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