New UD certificate focuses on analyzing 'big data'
1:17 p.m., Jan. 11, 2013--Google executive Eric Schmidt once famously announced, “There were 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every two days.”
Schmidt’s arithmetic has since become a matter of debate but his illustration vividly captures the “big data” phenomenon, and experts agree that the volume, velocity and variety of the data generated every second in this information age will continue to grow exponentially.
Popcorn and probability
When harnessed by statistics and analytics, big data has the potential to revolutionize how people solve problems, predict demand and improve organizational efficiency. Businesses individualize their customer pitches based on past purchases and demographics; economists look for shifts in consumer confidence; security agencies aggregate travel and credit card information looking for terrorists; epidemiologists analyze Google search statistics to pinpoint flu outbreaks.
However, as pointed out in a recent issue of Harvard Business Review spotlighting big data, “The shortage of data scientists is becoming a serious constraint in some sectors.” Elaborating on the skills needed by those data scientists, the article went on to observe that “Statistics are important, but many of the key techniques for using big data are rarely taught in traditional statistics courses.”
The University of Delaware’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies has developed a new certificate program bringing together the computational, analytical and communication skills demanded by this field. The Certificate in Analytics: Optimizing Big Data introduces the tools and techniques needed to analyze large datasets, focusing on how to translate the results into informed business decisions and improved business performance.
“This program is designed to give participants the fundamental skills to deliver more value to their organizations or to transition into this growing field,” explained certificate program director and primary instructor Carmen Traxler, who has over 25 years’ experience in integrating process improvement methodologies with statistical tools.
Course topics include importing data into analytics software, performing graphical and data analysis, building analytics models using tools like multiple regression and decision trees, finding the best model to explain correlation among variables, and learning how to control and assess data variability to better meet customer requirements.
The program is directed at professionals in any field who deal with large amounts of data -- business, marketing, and operations managers; financial industry professionals; and other managers and business professionals who wish to learn the tools for creating data-supported solutions to business questions. The program will be taught at a baccalaureate level.
The class meets Wednesday evenings beginning Feb. 20, and will be held at UD’s Downtown Center at 8th and King streets, Wilmington. The certificate program can be completed in approximately three months.
The cost of the certificate program is $2,795. Through Jan. 17, a 10 percent discount is available for early registration. UD alumni, including graduates of UD certificate programs, are eligible for a 15 percent discount.
An information session featuring this new certificate program will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Doubletree Hotel, 700 N. King St., Wilmington. The information session is free, but reservations should be made by calling 302-831-7600 or visiting this website.
For more information about the Certificate in Analytics: Optimizing Big Data program, including a detailed curriculum description, visit this website.