Multinational IT firm EMC, which recently partnered with University College Cork (UCC) on two data-focused business courses, believes that more interdisciplinary big data programmes are needed in Ireland’s third-level education system to provide suitable candidates for a growing jobs market.
Gartner predicts that 4.4m IT jobs will be created globally by 2015 to support big data, but only one-third of these positions will be filled. Meanwhile, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that, by 2020, there will be 10 times as many servers and enterprise data centres will be managing 14 times as much information, but there will only be 1.5 times as many IT professionals.
“This trend is creating an IT skills gap which can only be filled by adapting our undergraduate and post-graduate education programmes,” said Jason Ward, EMC’s director for Ireland, Scotland and UK North. Along with SAS, EMC has partnered with the Irish Management Institute and UCC on a recently launched master’s in data business and diploma in data business in its efforts to address the shortage of talent.
“Colleges should now move to develop more programmes covering the increasing role that the combination of IT, data, services, economics, innovation, business models, analytics and strategic data management play in the success of an organisation,” added Ward.
Big data is growing by up to 40pc annually and it is the Government’s intention to make Ireland a leader in this field, but Ward believes new thinking in education is needed to produce capable graduates.
“Our colleges can sometimes produce programmes that are over-specialised, particularly at undergraduate level, when they perhaps should be giving students the freedom to explore interdisciplinary courses and then figure out where their strengths lie,” said Ward. “For example, data scientists need competencies across a range of areas, including maths, computing, science and sociology. New college programmes need to reflect that diversity.”
Graduates image via hxdbzxy/Shutterstock