Big Data skills gap needs filling says tech industry
Want a job for life? Get good at data science
Oracle OpenWorld Concern is growing in the US technology industry about a skills gap in education and training in the field of data analysis.
"Last 50 years arguably have been about computer science," said Jeremy Burton, VP of product operations for EMC, during his Monday keynote at Oracle OpenWorld. "The next 50 years are going to be about data science, people who understand the semantics of data, how to visualize the data and present it to business people."
LinkedIn employs around 100 data scientists, he said, but the industry needs many more and there are job vacancies aplenty. His concerns were echoed on Wednesday with the release of a report on big data use in government from the non-profit TechAmerica Foundation's Big Data Commission.
"There are millions of technical jobs in the US market going unfilled," commission co-chair and GM of Database & Technology at SAP Steve Lucas told The Register. Part of the reason is that we need people who are better equipped to understand large data sets and finding new data sources."
"It's not just computer science, not just engineering and not just mathematics – you need elements from all of them to educate people on big data use."
The report recommends setting up an IT Leadership Academy to promote such skills and for training facilities to build in Big Data understanding into technology curricula. Companies and government departments would also benefit from setting up a role for a chief data officer, responsible for managing and understanding data streams internally and externally.
The Obama administration set aside $200m for Big Data projects last year and there are some areas of government that are getting the message, with the report citing the Department of Defense as a good example. But in general, government has lagged behind commerce in the area, Lucas said.
While government has proven good at collecting and storing data, it's less adept at getting value from it, according to the report. In 2009, the government produced 848 petabytes of data and US healthcare data alone reached 150 exabytes. At this rate, the healthcare system will soon reach zetabyte (10^21 gigabytes) scale and soon yottabytes (10^24 gigabytes).
If this was mined intelligently government could cut costs and add more value to the economy, Lucas asserted, and while there was support among Federal departments, there is still a long way to go. ®
Skills and Tools Needed for Big Data Management
Managing data is different from storing data. When storing data, we use computer software programs, machines and computer-operated engines. But managing data needs more than a chain of computer programs. It needs humans - those who have the skills and passion to analyze oversized data. They should use the best data analytic tools to keep up with the growing demands of data management.
Career and technical education
Skills gaps are definitely emerging in the American economy, and career and technical education (CTE) programming should be part of the discussion for how to fix them. CTE is known and has been proven to boost student achievement and improve their career prospects, as well as curb those emerging skills gaps.
The Industry Workforce Needs Council is a new organization helping to advocate for more CTE programs like this, as a means to ensure businesses remain able to find and hire qualified workers well into the future. For more information, or to join the effort, visit www.iwnc.org.
848 PB sounds low
There is one NOAA site that produces about 1 to 2 PBs a month and they have years worth of data on tape. So 848 PB sounds low or there aren't that many sites generating huge amounts of data.