BLOG: Filling the Talent Pipeline to Careers in Big Data

Miami Dade College (MDC), an Achieving the Dream Network college since 2012 and co-winner of the 2017 Leah Meyer Austin award for whole college transformation and significantly improved student outcomes, recently has become the first educational institution in Florida to offer a Big Data program pathway leading to an undergraduate degree in data analytics.

Many businesses and industries depend on analytics to inform strategic and operational decisions. Healthcare, business, finance, manufacturing, energy, education, government, and science increasingly need data analysts to prepare and analyze large data sets. In fact, a major impediment to the widespread use of big data is the lack of workers with the appropriate training and skills.  A report produced by McKinsey & Co. forecasts nearly 200,000 vacancies nationwide in the field by 2018.

MDC launched the Big Data program pathway specifically to address the supply-demand gap in the talent pipeline for careers in Big Data. The college engaged with employers like NextEra Energy to create curriculum that would prepare students for in-demand jobs, building stackable credentials and career pathways in business intelligence and data analytics. The credentials in data science and analytics include the Business Intelligence Professional College Credit Certificate (20 credits), the Associate in Science in Business Intelligence (60 credits) and the Data Analytics Bachelor of Science (120 credits).  The A.S. and B.S. credentials are offered as a 2+2 program which allows students to first earn their associate’s degree and then proceed to enroll for an additional two years to earn their bachelor’s degree. The Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics meets the general bachelor’s degree requirements for acceptance into most master’s degree programs.

“Data Analytics is an exciting and still emerging technology field that responds to the explosion of ‘big data,’ said Antonio Delgado, Dean of the School of Engineering, Technology and Design. “It doesn’t just concern a single sector; nearly every area in the local and global economy requires data analysis. There are abundant employment opportunities for data analysts in the public and private sector and this degree is positioning graduates to enter the job market with excellent academic credentials.”

With a cross-disciplinary curriculum, students learn to resolve business questions, make data-driven decisions, discover patterns and relationships in large data sets, and effectively communicate informed strategic business objectives. Students acquire those skills in courses around statistics and probability, predictive analytics algorithms, data mining, data visualization, data security and governance, and other related topics.

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