120,000 Reasons Big Data is Hot

Big-BIG-DataData scientists are rapidly becoming the hottest commodity, and their status is expected to only become even more sizzling over the next few years. Boston Business Journal reports that by 2018, a hefty 120,000 positions related to big data will need filling – and that’s in Massachusetts alone.

Massachusetts has become an epicenter of sorts for the big data industry, with notable experts and companies emerging from the commonwealth. Several higher education facilities are also beefing up their programs to meet the expected demand throughout all areas of the data science industry.

Notable Names and Numbers

Several big data companies and scholars make their home in Massachusetts, with notable names and numbers that include:

  • $2.5 billion: Private investment funds given to big data companies in the state since 2000
  • 500: Number of Massachusetts-based companies working on endeavors involving data science
  • 80: Number of big data-related startups that cropped up in Massachusetts over the past four years
  • VoltDB: Company aiming to build the globe’s fastest operational database, based in Bedford
  • Sqrrl: Big data analytics startup based in Cambridge
  • Experfy: Online marketplace that matches clients with big data scientists, based in Boston
  • Michael Stonebraker: Computer scientist and perpetual entrepreneur who nabbed this year’s $1 million Turing Award. The award is hailed by industry insiders as the computer science equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Higher Ed Programs

The report citing the alluring data science stats comes from the University of Massachusetts, just one of myriad higher education facilities hopping on the big data bandwagon.

  • UMass: Armed with nearly $180 in research funding generated since 2010, UMass faculty includes close to 200 members focused on areas directly linked to data science.
  • Bentley University, Waltham: Programs include one focusing on actuarial science and a Master of Business Analytics degree, which made its debut in 2014.
  • Middlesex Community College
  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • Bay State College

Demand Keeps Increasing

As the world keeps moving into increased digitization of everything from watches to light bulbs, the need for understanding and analyzing all the available mounds of data is expected to increase right along with it.

A prediction stemming from a 2011 report by McKinsey & Co. says the US could face a shortage of data science experts if the industry isn’t well-stocked by 2018. That shortage could reach as high as 190,000 for those with general data science skills and 1.5 million for managers and analysts boasting those skills.

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