Last week, IBM co-hosted the Big Data & Analytics EdCon event (with Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) and University of Ottawa Telfer School of Mgmt), bringing together leading academic thinkers who are pioneering curriculum in the Analytics space. All are wrestling with how to strike the right balance among interdisciplinary topics to achieve the right blend of market-ready skills in their students.

Data is exploding!

We all experience the explosion of data from my fav social to sensors in factories.  Due to this explosion,all companies need more data scientists, analytics professionals and Big Data trained decision makers who can not only crunch data, but turn it into effective strategy.

Creation of a skill gap. 

There is a widely-discussed skills gap between the growing number of jobs being created to support Big Data & Analytics and the available talent pool to fill these jobs.This “skills gap” is a significant concern across industries. Our research uncovered a dramatic gap in analytics skills, with only 1 in 10 organizations believing it has the skills it needs to be successful.

Collaborate to win!

To narrow this gap, IBM is collaborating with more than 1,000 academic partners to develop curriculum that reflects the mix of technical and problem-solving skills that is necessary to prepare students for Big Data and analytics careers, across all industries.IBM has a unique, hands-on model for collaborating with universities to build degrees and coursework from the ground up via the Academic Initiative ( this is part of my new role as the IBM General Manager of Ecosystem Development! )

  • We provide schools with access to IBM Big Data and analytics software
  • We help faculty develop curriculum materials
  • We build case study projects for students based on real-world business challenges
  • We offer IBM experts who visit classes as guest lecturers
  • We make available faculty awards, whose funding fuels new coursework on Big Data and analytics
  • Faculty members become part of a global community of educators working together to educate the next generation

Announcing the Analytics Talent Assessment!

The Analytics Talent Assessment offers insight from IBM clients (see the press release below showcasing both Boeing and Nationwide) on what analytics skills drive positive business outcomes.
Using the IBM Analytics Talent Assessment, university students can now gauge their readiness for public and private sector Big Data and analytics careers and gain guidance on ways to develop and position themselves for these in-demand jobs through a simple online questionnaire.

The eight universities piloting the assessment (Fordham University, George Washington University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Northwestern University, The Ohio State University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Virginia) are pioneers teaching Big Data & Analytics skills”

— Fordham’s dual track degrees, which are designed to train marketing analytics professionals
— GWU’s career-track courses support fields such as sports and marketing
— IIT integrates Big Data and Analytics courses in their Stuart School of Business
— UMass Boston offers an undergraduate and a graduate concentration in Business Intelligence
— Northwestern University offers an MS in Analytics as well as an online MS in Predictive Analytics
— The Ohio State University is partnering with IBM Academic Initiative to develop undergraduate and graduate big data and analytic programs
— SMART projects with schools like SMU bring bring together a commercial entity with a real world problem that students can then apply analytic skills to solve
— University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce offers an undergraduate Business Analytics track and they continue to broaden their Big Data and Analytic programs.

This focus is essential for winning the war for talent.   With the access of the technology and expertise for the assessment,   this initiative provides the insight into today’s state-of-the-art curricula, and provides the client insight, technology, and proven outcomes these skills can drive.