Educators agree: Analytics skills are key to future success
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This is a guest post by Professor Barbara Wixom of the University of Virginia. Special thanks to Dr. Wixom for her insights.
In fall 2012, the BI Congress (a consortium comprised of business analytics academic and commercial thought leaders, including IBM) surveyed professors, students, and employers regarding the state of business intelligence and business analytics (BI/BA) curriculum in universities around the globe. This effort represents the BI Congress’ third survey project since 2009.
Consistent with the IBM Tech Trends report, 89% of the employers who responded believe that their organizations’ needs for business intelligence and analytics skills will increase in the near future. This projected rise is daunting because BI/BA skills are not straightforward. Our findings suggest that BI/BA skills include a diverse set of technical and non-technical capabilities, with the top skills (in order) being: management communication, SQL and query, basic analytics (e.g., regression, ANOVA), business domain knowledge, and data management.
Traditionally, the diverse skills required for BI/BA position are taught by different areas of universities. For example, computer science or engineering schools teach the highly technical skills, and business schools teach courses in management communication, business domains (e.g., marketing), and data management. This likely is the reason that the IBM study found “too few people with knowledge that spans a broad range of IT and business disciplines.” Universities must collaborate internally and tear down silos to craft the ideal BI/BA curriculum.
Universities’ recent progress in meeting BI/BA market needs is significant; universities are indeed trying to close the looming skills gap. 59 universities in our study currently offer degrees specifically in business analytics, up from twelve in 2010. Further, half of universities in our study report that they are increasing their business analytics offerings, meaning more BI/BA classes and content. With support from companies like IBM, universities will continue to make progress in the BI/BA space.