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Big Data Experts Are Hard to Find

As with the emergence of any new technology shift, the consultants are the first to notice the widespread implications. McKinsey in 2011 warned that the increasing volume of information that enterprises capture from multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will force leaders in every sector to grapple with the implications of Big Data.

While noting the many ways that Big Data can create value for organizations—making data transparent and usable, collecting more detailed information for better management decisions, and allowing for greater segmentation and improved new product development—McKinsey also warned of the dearth of talent able to manage Big Data projects and implementation.

According to McKinsey, 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.

Now, universities are attempting to fill the gap with specialized programs. One of the crop of new programs springing up, as IEEE Spectrum reported earlier this week, is a M.S. in Business Analytics program at the University of Texas at Austin. Other universities creating Big Data programs include North ­Carolina State University, in Raleigh, Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., New York University, and the University of Michigan–Dearborn.

Internationally, Deakin ­University in Melbourne, Australia; the University of Warwick, the University of Strathclyde, and University ­College Dublin in the UK and Ireland; and  the Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management in India.

The programs typically run for one year, combine knowledge from computer science, statistics, and business, and require students to have a quantitative background.

The need for greater understanding of how Big Data can be used is one of the reasons IEEE Computer Society is hosting Rock Stars of Big Data, 29 October at the Computer History Museum in the Silicon Valley.  If you want to learn more about Big Data, we invite you to join us to hear how Big Data is being used in a variety of organizations.

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