format_quote Press Release

Solving the Jobs Gap for Big Data Analytics Careers Requires Access to Cutting Edge Technology and Big Data: Survey

April 29, 2013 | CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

Interest in data-savvy careers on the rise, shows latest State of Business Intelligence survey

Job prospects abound for college students seeking careers in business intelligence or analytics, but the greatest challenge to filling the talent pipeline lies in students having access to large data sets as part of the educational experience. While a business intelligence or analytics degree or major is a considerable advantage, it alone is not sufficient. Apart from the technical skills required, communications skills and business knowledge are the most important skills new grads need in order to land data analytics jobs. These are the top findings of the latest State of Business Intelligence survey conducted on behalf of the Business Intelligence Congress and sponsored in part by the Teradata University Network. This is the third State of Business Intelligence and Analytics survey of university professors, students and employers since 2009.

Professors responding to the survey reported the top three challenges to teaching are: access to large data sets (45%); students with the pre-requisite skills (39%); and, qualified or available faculty (35%).
Analytics hiring managers report their largest needs for new hires of recent graduates are for IT or systems analysts (35%), program developers (32%), data managers (30%) and business analysts (22%).
According to the study, students are bullish on data-related careers.  Two out of three students agree or strongly agree there are job opportunities for them. More than 40 percent pointed to data-savvy careers such as business analyst, IT professional working with analytics, or a role in business that requires an understanding of data analytics. Four in 10 want to use their business intelligence skills in marketing (22%) or in finance (20%). Sixteen percent are considering careers as data scientists.


Barb Wixom, study author and Associate Professor of Commerce at University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce "What faculty are looking for today is access to real, big-data sets. They want to show students the impact of the data explosion, demonstrate the linkage between data and business outcomes, and teach exactly how to achieve those outcomes."

"Corporations are making available real-world cases and big data sets, and through academic alliance programs like the Teradata University Network, they are working with professors to develop meaningful analytics assignments, teaching notes and other pedagogy so that data sets are consumable by professors and students."

"The needs of big data are being addressed across the board – from new analytics approaches in the business analytics courses, to new data sources in the data management course, to new statistical methods in the stats course."
Ramesh Sharda, executive director, Teradata University Network and Director of the PhD in Business for Executives program. "Unlike other academic alliances, here at Teradata University Network, we have more independence and it is not vendor-centric. The content is contributed by academics for academics."

"We are expanding our reach to include more corporate partners to broaden our coverage in marketing and analytics. We are expanding our scope to be able to support analytics coverage for marketing and computer science colleagues. We are constantly adding new content from faculty members who share their knowledge and coursework."

"Through the supporting materials made available by corporations and by faculty colleagues, such as real case studies, software, data sets, videos and other tools, we now have a large pool of students around the world who are learning why analytics should be used, how it is used, and how the strategy and technology mix together."
Susan Baxley, director, Teradata University Network "The State of Business Intelligence survey helps Teradata University Network provide professors with the tools they need to engage students at a practical level. With the hands-on learning, we’re helping new graduates be prepared for the workforce requirements of our customers, our partners and ourselves."

Relevant Information 

  • One-third of employer practitioners responding to the survey reported an overall lack of experience as their most important challenge, followed by insufficient business skills at 26 percent. Insufficient technical skills and a general lack of candidates tied for third at 22 percent. Experience with real tools and insufficient communications skills each captured 21 percent. Forty-four percent reported that students must possess communications skills and 38 percent cited business knowledge as the most important non-technical skills new grads need to land the jobs.
  • In response to these gaps, 80 percent of employers surveyed offer supplemental training courses for newly hired workers ranging from extensive classroom work to mentorship and internships to tuition reimbursement.
  • Professors identified six areas where business can assist in meeting the challenges: Providing large data sets (45%); Suitable cases (31%); Staying current with the practice (29%); Technical support and training (29%); Realistic and meaningful experiences (26%); and, Access to contemporary enterprise software (26%). 
  • Across undergraduate, graduate, continuing education and executive education programs, 41 percent of professors reported an increase in the size of their business intelligence or analytics course portfolio compared with 2010, the last time the survey was conducted, while fewer than seven percent reported a reduction in their business intelligence/business analytics courses over the past two years.
  • Students who have already taken one or more business intelligence or analytics courses report having done so because they found the material interesting and wanted to learn more about these trends in industry; They felt it was important for their future career aspirations; and, They indicated that the course was a required part of the curriculum.
  • At 76 percent, IT and MIS predominate as the academic disciplines where business intelligence and business analytics coursework reside. Rounding out the top five within science or math-based disciplines are statistics at 28 percent, decision sciences at 23 percent, operations research at 19 percent and computer science at 17 percent. Among business-related disciplines, the coursework most often resides in marketing at 19 percent, accounting, 10 percent, and finance, nine percent.
  • The survey was conducted by Barbara Wixom, associate professor of commerce at University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce and a research affiliate at the Center for Information Systems Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, Thilini Ariyachandra, an associate professor of MIS in the Williams College of Business at Xavier University, and John Mooney, an associate professor of IS and Technology Management at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, Pepperdine University and a research affiliate at the Center for Information Systems Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. Results were first delivered by the Special Interest Group for Decision Support Systems and the Teradata University Network to the Business Intelligence Congress 3 in December. 
  • Teradata University Network currently includes more than 3,400 faculty, more than 1,600 universities in 95 countries, and thousands of student users. A key to the success of Teradata University Network is that it is an academic-driven site, not a corporate-led one. It is collaboration between academia and industry to prepare graduates for today’s world of big data analytics.

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