IBM (NYSE: IBM) and DePaul University today unveiled a new Center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics that gives students expertise in predictive analytics, a skill increasingly in demand by employers in Illinois and around the globe. As part of the program, DePaul is also offering students the nation's first Masters of Science in Predictive Analytics, in an effort to bridge the gap between business and technology.
The new predictive analytics curriculum will prepare university students for careers in key industries such as energy and utilities, healthcare, education, transportation, criminal justice and public service that increasingly require analytical skills.
According to the April 2010 "IT Occupation Trends in Illinois" study conducted by the Illinois Technology Association and CompTIA, 65 percent of Illinois businesses see business intelligence and analytics as important jobs they must fill within the next two to three years. Firms rate these as important occupations, yet they lack confidence in finding the right workers for these roles.
Today, businesses and governments are driving transformation projects with predictive analytics to understand customer behavior, detect fraud, lower energy consumption through smart grids, improve customer buying experiences, reduce traffic congestion, predict part failures, and combat crime. As organizations seek to create value from the exponentially growing amount of structured and unstructured data, they need leaders with strong analytical capabilities to understand this data for smarter decisions and, thereby, improve performance.
Opening in September 2010, the DePaul University Center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics is an applied research center that focuses on the applications of data mining across all industries as students prepare for careers in health care, green infrastructure, clean energy and utilities, education, transportation, and public service, among others. This joint venture involving faculty from the School of Computing and the Department of Marketing will create an essential bridge between technology and business.
Students in the predictive analytics masters program can choose from a curriculum of approximately 30 courses. They will obtain a variety of skills required for a career in data mining and predictive analytics, including the ability to analyze large datasets and to develop modeling solutions to support optimized decision-making; a strong understanding of the fundamental principles of marketing and customer relationship management; and, the ability to present results effectively to a non-technical business audience.
"Predictive analytics is providing new job opportunities for students entering the workforce in all areas of business," said Suzanne Fogel, Chair, Department of Marketing at DePaul University. "The new Center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics is an investment in an area that is greatly in-demand by organizations worldwide. It also affirms DePaul's commitment to constantly innovate and evolve its teachings to keep students on the leading edge of business, preparing students for future jobs with a highly-marketable skill. Working on these challenges in collaboration with IBM offers students the rare opportunity to acquire real-world knowledge that should benefit them - and society - for years to come."
As the Center's first partner, IBM will provide industry expertise and guidance to professors and researchers as they apply predictive analytics and data mining skills to solve business challenges. IBM will also donate resources in the form of IBM predictive analytics software, curriculum and datasets, and provide guest lecturers. In support of the Center, IBM is also announcing its Analytic Certification in Education (ACE) program that validates a student's proficiency in IBM SPSS predictive analytics software and serves as a significant differentiator for those vying for prominent positions in today's job market.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, demand for individuals with proven statistical competencies is expected to grow 20% through 2018. As more organizations harness the exponential growth of data with predictive analytics to improve decision-making, the demand for experienced professionals is critical. The DePaul University Center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics will give employers confidence in an individual's ability, advance careers and create leadership opportunities for these students.
Deepak Advani, vice president of predictive analytics at IBM, said, "As analytics goes mainstream, organizations realize that smart and accomplished professionals fluent in this knowledge are critical to their success. IBM predictive analytics is used by academic institutions around the globe in preparing students for successful careers and giving them a significant advantage upon graduation. IBM and DePaul University share the vision that educating students in the application of predictive analytics will advance careers and create leadership opportunities in tomorrow's workforce."
Furthering Career Opportunities in Predictive Analytics with Analytic Certification
IBM is also announcing the ACE program, providing universities and colleges the information and testing they need to ensure their students are trained to meet the rigorous demands of the commercial world. Independent, third-party testing ensures that prospective employees are prepared to tackle the toughest analytical tasks through the use of IBM SPSS software.
IBM has created a globally recognized credential to advance the skills of students seeking to become professional analysts, statisticians and business line managers – across any industry – and give organizations greater confidence in hiring those with proficiencies in the leading predictive analytics software.
There is no charge to the university or college to participate in this program, only the requirement that the educator be certified. Participation in ACE includes comprehensive materials covering all requisite content to ensure student success, practice mini-examinations to facilitate student preparation, and student and faculty examination discounts of 50%.
In the last four years, IBM has invested $11 billion to build its business analytics portfolio, dedicated 5,000 services consultants and made 18 acquisitions. The IBM Academic Initiative offers no charge access to online resources to help more than 4,600 universities and community colleges worldwide cultivate more competitive business and IT skills to meet the needs of new and emerging industries.