Big Data is the new Big Man on Campus. As the New York Times reports, schools offering data science programs include Columbia, the University of San Francisco, Stanford, New York University, Northwestern, Syracuse, the University of California at Irvine, George Mason and Indiana University. Specialized analytics programs like one at North Carolina State University are becoming more common.
Folks already employed in the technology field can bolster their data skills with a growing list of Big Data certification programs.
This is not surprising, given optimistic job forecasts like Gartner's prediction that 4.4 million jobs will be created to support Big Data by 2015, including 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States alone.
Still, at least some of these programs may fall short as many organizations are seeking data professionals with specific domain expertise. As Barbara Kittridge wrote on the Cardinal Path blog, "It is great to have more data experts feeding into the pipeline but what does that really mean for marketers? After all, CMOs are looking for a very special type of data scientist -- one who can work with teams who traditionally have relied on the sometimes-intangible skills of creativity and salesmanship and one who can bring strategic inquiry to the task of learning from data."
Marketing is a line of business that is keenly interested in data, according to a recent CMO Council report. Liz Miller, vice president of Marketing Programs and Operations for the CMO Council, told Enterprise Apps Today that many marketers are "trying to tackle Big Data by managing their own social and marketing data and attempting to mix and merge it together themselves."
Teradata hopes to increase the pool of marketers with analytics skills by making marketing resources available to university faculty and students through its Teradata University Network, an online learning portal. Videos, articles, whitepapers, infographics and assignments are among the curriculum materials available through the portal. Students also enjoy free access to Teradata's Integrated Marketing Cloud solutions.
"Through Teradata University Network, we are giving college students hands-on experience with the same leading edge technology marketing professionals are using today," said Bob Fair, Teradata executive vice president and chief marketing and information officer, in a statement.
"Using analytics to support a data-driven marketing strategy is now standard in many companies and we need to prepare our students to have relevant skills by teaching them how to identify and understand trends, patterns, and hidden insights and apply them in business," said Dr. Camille Schuster, a professor in the College of Business Administration at California State University, San Marcos. Schuster, who is a member of the Teradata University Network executive board, authored the marketing curricula.
The demand for professionals who can straddle the line between marketing and IT will likely continue to grow as the two functions work more closely together. As Marketing Week reports, both CMOs and CIOs participating in a recent Accenture study said they are collaborating more than ever before. Respondents also identified a number of challenges, including "cumbersome" and siloed technology that makes it difficult to create cross-channel experiences for customers.