Edited by Laura Morrison, for GradSchools.com, March 2014
Graduate programs could help students prepare to pursue big data careers In today's world, data is everywhere. Whether companies are selling products or customers are posting reviews of the very same items online, data is being produced. In fact, the daily creation of so much information has given rise to the term "big data."
Whether you plan to pursue a career in business or technology, you may want to become more familiar with big data. If you have your sights set on attending graduate school, you may even be able to enroll in master's programs related to all this information.
So what is big data?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, big data is a term that's applied to datasets so large they can't be analyzed with the usual statistical methods.
Big data is broken into two types: structured and unstructured. Basically, it's easier for people to categorize and analyze structured data, which includes sales and transaction figures, than it is when working with unstructured data. This latter form of information doesn't have to include numbers. Instead, unstructured data may apply to everything from multimedia to comments on social media websites.
As big data, whether structured or unstructured, can provide valuable insight into customers' behaviors and buying preferences, it's easy to see why companies could use professionals who are trained to work with all this information.
Preparing tomorrow's big data professionals
Of course, before anyone can analyze this data, they need the proper knowledge and skills. IBM understands data, and is lending colleges and universities a helping hand via its Academic Initiative.
In a 2013 press release, IBM announced that it had established more than 1,000 partnerships with universities around the world. Ultimately, the goal of these collaborations is to help prepare students so they may pursue the 4.4 million big data jobs that are expected to be created by 2015. Since joining forces with IBM, several schools have been able to create graduate programs focused on big data.
"Leaders in business, education and government must take action to foster a new generation of talent with the technical expertise and unique ideas to make the most of this tsunami of Big Data," said Richard Rodts, IBM's manager of Global Academic Programs. "To narrow this skills gap, IBM is committed to partnering with universities around the world to provide students with Big Data and analytics curriculum to make an impact in today's data-driven marketplace."
About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.