Study: World's colleges lack BI, analytics concentration

Students aren't ready to handle the world's 'big data' challenges

Relatively few colleges and universities around the world offer dedicated degree programs for BI (business intelligence), despite the rapidly growing popularity of analytics technology among businesses, according to a study announced Monday.

BI courses are being taught in a number of disciplines, such as computer science, statistics and accounting, according to the study by Barbara Wixom, an associate professor of IT at the University of Virginia, and Thilini Ariyachandra, an assistant professor of MIS at Xavier University. Wixom is also co-executive director of Teradata University Network, an educational portal sponsored by the vendor.

The fragmented nature of BI course work means that students aren't necessarily getting a well-rounded understanding of BI from both a business and technical perspective, the authors found.

Undergraduate BI degrees are offered at three of the 129 schools surveyed: Augusta State University, St. Joseph's University and Stuttgart Media University.

Twelve in the sample have a graduate-level BI program, including Augusta State University, the University of Denver, Stuttgart Media University, Sofia University, North Carolina State University, Singapore Management University, Xavier University and the University of Muenster.

The survey garnered answers from 339 students at 62 schools.

Some 150 students said they were taking a BI course because they were majoring in a program where it was required, compared to 90 who said they planned to make a career out of BI.

Other responses suggest that schools are having a hard time giving students practical, hands-on training versus textbook lessons. "More/better real-world software" and "more/better real-world data sets" were the top two areas student respondents cited as areas for improvement in their education.

The study was sponsored by the Business Intelligence Congress II, an event for BI educators and professionals.

Its conclusions emerge following a report released last month by McKinsey Global Institute, which estimated that the United States alone needs up to 190,000 additional people with "deep analytical skills" as well as another 1.5 million "managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings."

Another expert also sees the BI job market as red-hot.

"All major corporations are hiring BI talent," said Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson via e-mail. "All large BI vendors and service providers are struggling with finding and retaining BI talent. I hear of horror stories about competitors stealing BI talent from each other by offering 50 percent salary increases."

For any student interested in a career in BI, "a basic, intuitive understanding of statistical significance" is most important, said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research. "If you're looking at an apparent trend, is it real or just random variation? Also crucial are general analytic and quantitative problem-solving skills."

"The more analytically oriented should add basic programming skills, and basic knowledge of SQL," he added. "While SQL's utter dominance is ebbing a bit, it still will be with us for a very long time."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags applicationsTeradatasoftwarebusiness intelligence

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?