LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR A BIG DATA CAREER PATHWAY: A CASE STUDY

J. Ippolito, J. Malyn-Smith

Education Development Center (UNITED STATES)
“Big data” has become a big deal. As the volume, velocity and variety of data increase exponentially, the use of data as decision drivers has extended into every scientific, industry and business enterprise. Auto mechanics, nurses, real estate agents, and teachers (for example) are now expected to use data in their professions. Analyzing data, spotting patterns, and extracting useful information have become gateway skills to full participation in the workforce and civic engagement of the 21st century. Individuals skilled in the variety of tasks and duties required to acquire, aggregate, clean, organize, and analyze these massive data sets are now in high demand. However there is a large and growing gap between the need for a workforce skilled in working with big data and the supply of qualified graduates. In the United States alone, it is estimated that by 2018 there will be a shortfall of 1.5 million data savvy managers and analysts for projected job openings.

This presentation will outline efforts taken to develop big data career pathways that are equipped to provide individuals the essential skills needed to succeed in this rapidly emerging field. We will describe how diverse panels of big data experts have:
• identified the work responsibilities, skills knowledge and behaviors that are essential to Big Data Enabled Professionals (BDEPs);
• articulated the big data middle skills required by Data Practitioners, the technicians who support the work of BDEPs;
• developed performance based indicators that illustrate what proficient performance of big data middle skills “looks like.

We will then share how community colleges are using these resources to design training programs and curricula focused on preparing graduates to succeed in big data careers.