Prompted by an alarming skills gap in emerging technologies, IBM today announced several programs and resources for educators to train IT professionals in a number of areas, including big data and analytics.
The analytics skills initiatives were unveiled in conjunction with the release of a report by the IBM Center for Applied Insights and IBM developerWorks which found that nine out of 10 enterprises lack the in-house skills to leverage big data and business analytics, cloud computing, mobile computing and social tools.
The new IBM offerings involve several components, including:
• Allowing professors to directly access IBM big data software in the classroom, as well as e-books and Hadoop-based training modules, as part of Big Blue’s Academic Initiative, an educational program begun nine years ago. Among the more than 200 universities working with IBM are San Jose State University, the University of Texas at El Paso and Birmingham Metropolitan College. (Just last week the company opened a new analytics center at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.)
• A new online resource called Knowledge Exchange, which allows IT educators from around the world to share teaching tips and best practices.
• For IBM Business Partners, new in-person training and certification in Smarter Commerce and digital analytics designed to complement new educational materials and best practices resources on developerWorks, the company’s technical resource and professional network for developers.
“There is significant investment happening in analytics, but there’s a really, really large gap in the people who have the skills to deliver on the promise of analytics,” Alice Chou, director of IBM developerWorks, said in an interview.
The survey shows that 62 percent of U.S. respondents reported a moderate to major gap in their enterprises, with as many as 74 percent of respondents from China reporting similar big data and analytics skills gaps.
Despite the shortage of big data and analytics talent, many enterprises are going forward with big data initiatives. More than 25 percent of enterprises surveyed by IBM said they plan to increase spending on business analytics by more than 10 percent.
Last year the company launched a series of big data “boot camps” at various universities and IBM innovation centers, as well as online. In August 2011, IBM started Big Data University, offering free online classes and certifications.
“What we’re doing in response to our Tech Trends report is invest heavily in expanding our Academic Initiative,” Chou said. “This is particularly timely because the faculty and the students we surveyed said they didn’t think they were prepared for next-generation jobs.”
The report, Fast Track to the Future: The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report, is based on a global survey of more than 1,200 enterprise technology decision-makers, 250 academics and 450 students.