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Online Master of Information Technology program prepares the ‘new data scientist’ for job boom

Big Data Analytics

Careers in big data are booming but not all “experts” are top-gun statisticians or data scientists with heavy-duty computational skills.

According to Barbara Hoopes, associate professor in the Department of Business Information Technology at the Pamplin College of Business in the National Capital Region, “Equally as important are people who can use cost-benefit analysis tools and have deep business understanding about what can be done with this asset, which is the data that companies have access to.”

These are individuals who hear “the voice of the data,” she added, and know what kinds of questions to ask of it.

Hoopes and Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering in the Department of Computer Science and director of the Discovery Analytics Center teach in Virginia Tech’s Online Master of Information Technology program. The program brings together disciplines from the university’s engineering and business colleges and supplements foundational courses with six concentrations, such as “Big Data” and “Analytics and Business Intelligence.”

Courses about data topics are bursting at the seams, said Ramakrishnan, with many more students wanting to register than can be accommodated. That level of interest reflects the nature of the employment outlook for big data jobs.

“Our students are recruited into data science companies such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn,” he said.

But, alongside those are the non-IT segments, such as automakers and oil and gas companies. “Many of them are launching data-science teams, so they’re all looking to staff these new positions that are coming up. The fact that our students keep getting requests for interviews is a good sign,” Naren Ramakrishnan said.

Read more about big data and how Virginia Tech is preparing the new data scientist to enter the workforce at the Pamplin website.

Posted April 26, 2017