There’s no disputing the fact that big data is creating a big demand for data scientists.
In a report on big data, the McKinsey Global Institute released some pretty stunning numbers: “By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.”
While some people believe that it’s up to universities to develop curricula to turn out grads who can put big data to work in a variety of industries, others say there’s no need to wait for universities to churn out data scientists.
For example, Dean Yi Deng of the College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is working with the college’s Industry Advisory Board to develop informatics programs that are linked to the needs of business and society. Deng says the pace of big data development is “amazing,” but the problem is that education hasn’t kept up with development.
“We are facing a huge deficit in people to not only handle big data, but more importantly to have the knowledge and skills to generate value from data – dealing with the non-stop tsunami,” Deng says. “The whole thing is hugely important for the future.”
Deng says he realized about two years ago that universities need to change the way they teach technology. Instead of just focusing on systems, technology, networks and communications, they need to educate students to be multi-skilled experts – data scientists – who understand programming, large-scale mathematics, statistics and business.
But while universities are busy creating data scientist programs, data-intensive firms are developing their data scientists by training their current “analysts, quants, Excel jockeys and computer-savvy MBAs in some big data skills like Hadoop.”
So maybe companies don’t have to wait for universities to catch up with the explosion of big data. Rather firms can start educating their analysts and other skilled workers by giving them access to big data analytics tools so they can access the data that can give them the insights their companies need to stay competitive.
What do you think is the best way to turn out data scientists? Let us know in the comments section.
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Spotfire Blogging Team