More than 350 in Singapore sign up for “massive” online course on data analytics

August 7th, 2014 | by Alfred Siew
More than 350 in Singapore sign up for “massive” online course on data analytics
Enterprise
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An ambitious online course aimed at developing know-how in data sciences has attracted more than 350 participants in Singapore, underlining the popularity of one of the infocomm industry’s hottest – and most hyped up – areas today.

Dubbed a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), it is the first organised by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), which sees a need for more expertise in the area as part of its ambitious plans to hook up the nation with smart sensors.

The course includes both online lessons as well as weekly meetups with instructors. Completing the required 10 modules over 10 months gets participants a certificate of achievement from Johns Hopkins University.

They are expected to specialise in data science, a segment of the industry seeking professionals to make sense of all the data to be collected by sensors and smart devices in the years ahead (read our commentary on Big Data).

IDA said yesterday that its course has attracted professionals from a wide base of industry, including those from non-IT sectors such as healthcare, finance and education. They make up about 40 per cent of the cohort.

Of course, signing up for a course doesn’t mean you’ll complete it. It remains to be seen how many of those rushing to latch on to the next big thing will actually be deeply involved in the end.

Still, it is hard to fault the government for nudging industry professionals towards an area that is said to need 140,000 to 190,000 hires by 2018 in the United States.

The IDA even quoted a human resource report that predicted such professionals could earn S$80,000 to S$180,000 a year – a significant sum compared to less exciting IT functions like server administration.

What seasoned professionals will know, though, is the fast pace at which the industry changes. What’s hot one day can become cold the next.

Just look at the dearth of security professionals here, a result of a lack of deep infocomm expertise as Singapore pushed towards seemingly more lucrative jobs like project management in the past.

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