Education’s Response to the Big Data Skills Demand

What are universities and colleges doing to make Big Data skills easier to obtain, and how are they speeding up the educational process to get these people into the workforce faster?

Big Data can and is doing amazing things for business, and that’s not the only cog in the greater wheel that’s benefiting. Millions of dollars, world-wide change, and a huge boost to quality of life and quality of service are at the fingertips of every business or organization that harnesses Big Data. Except, who can?

Big Data

Every business wants to harness Big Data – but even those with the bank account to finance experts with six-digit figures a year can’t get hold of the necessary manpower. The experts with Big Data skills are few and far between, and bringing up the next generation with those talents is a task the world is struggling with. There just aren’t enough professionals.

The gap needs to be closed, and education has a response to the demand. What are universities and colleges doing to make these skills easier to obtain, and how are they speeding up the educational process to get these people into the workforce faster?

1. Moving it Outside of Computer Science

You can have a great head for numbers and still not want to be a mathematician. It’s this kind of thinking that has helped broaden the gap Big Data and its professionals are experiencing. Industries have categorized data analytics and the like as computer science courses necessary for gaining a degree in a very technical field, but for those students who have the skills to harness Big Data but want another degree under their belt, it’s drawing a very firm line between them and it. A marketer, manager, or any other valuable business employee could be using those Big Data skills in business specifically without the technical career but can’t gain them without pursuing a different degree at a different college.

Universities are now diversifying the courses they offer, and making it easier for students to get those technical skills wherever they are. So there’s no need to transfer or attend multiple colleges – you can get Big Data skills and still pursue your dream career.

2. Online Learning Courses

For professionals trying to catch up with the evolving industry, going back to school is a massive burden. They already have jobs, families, and responsibilities that stand in the way of taking on the student-image full time again, but they still need those skills to stay relevant. For new students getting their education for the first time, they have their own responsibilities and money problems. Neither can commit to that much work, so they choose a different field, only widening the Big Data gap.

So educational institutes are taking out the middleman and getting right to his point of things – with online learning. Now students are allowed to attend classes at their leisure, do the work on their own time, and learn these heavy hitting skills like analytics or knowledge of all flash storage in a comfortable environment or while on the go.

3. Compacted and Cost-Effective Brush-Up Courses

In the United States specifically, school is expensive. For high profile skills such as Big Data, the courses are even longer and more expensive. Even if students have the determination to gain those skills, they may not have the bankroll or the time in their schedules to commit to a single course.

Universities are pushing back against this roadblock by keeping the idea of ‘brush-up courses’ in mind. Instead of several weeks and several hundred dollars (if not thousands of dollars), they’re compacting their courses to hit the high points, cost less, and take less time. So if a new student doesn’t have time to devote to it, they can always take the abbreviated version and still bring their skills to the industry, and older professionals can get up to speed with less effort.

4. Specifically Bringing Business Into the Picture

One major roadblock that universities and colleges have encountered when trying to “mind the gap” between Big Data needs and Big Data experts is how diverse Big Data is. It can apply to a range of different industries, but it needs to have focus when it applies to business, and many current courses aren’t business-centric when it comes to data analytics.

Now universities on the technical side of things aren’t the only ones offering data analytic and Big Data-skills centric courses, but business schools are as well. This allows students gaining their education and professionals getting a brush-up course to learn all the tricks for making Big Data count in business – and business specifically, creating more advantages for their future companies.

Rick DelgadoBio: Rick Delgado, @ricknotdelgado, is a technology commentator interested in enterprise technology.