A lot has been written about the shortage of data scientists, and how universities can do a better job of training the next generation of big data experts.

But what role should K-12 education play in this effort? According to Ken Chelst, professor of operations research at Wayne State University in Detroit, one critical problem today is that Americans lack the analytics skills to solve everyday problems.

“I have two goals: To get more people interested in this stuff as a career, and I’m equally interested in creating educated consumers of advanced analytics,” said Chelst in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

Chelst is actively involved with the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), a 10,000-member international organization of analytics professionals. Earlier this year, the organization launched its certified analytics professional (CAP) program, which is designed to provide the rigorous certification needed for big data careers.

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