Big Data Summit: The skills opportunity

By Computing Staff
28 Jun 2012 View Comments
Big data concept

As Big Data strategies become a genuine game-changer for both public and private organisations, the associated skills challenges are proving to be a major headache for those organisations trying to recruit experts to make the most of their data.

Delegates at the Computing Big Data Summit 2012 in London were told that despite offering a huge potential boost to the UK economy, finding experts with the requisite skills would be one of the biggest challenges facing companies looking to tap into the commercial opportunities Big Data presents.

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But Professor Mark Whitehorn, chair of analytics at the University of Dundee, said finding the right people to work on Big Data projects wasn’t necessarily about finding "scientists in white coats".

“It’s almost a mindset; they have to be curious and communicative and reasonably good with numbers. You can find it in your organisation or hire the skills in,” Whitehorn said.

Christine Ashton, regional CIO at BG Group, said it was also essential to encourage data professionals to spend more of their time analysing data and less time massaging it.

“We also need to have trusted sources of data and let business people play with it,” she told delegates.

An Open Data White Paper published today outlines how public services will be made more transparent to boost efficiency, improve accountability and aid economic growth.

Cabinet Minister Francis Maude has pledged to open up more government data to the public as he looks to encourage a culture of “dynamic data sharing” to allow the public to hold government to account but also to create a platform for new, more efficient public services.

• An in-depth analysis of the event will appear in the forthcoming print issue of Computing. A range of video interviews with speakers and delegates at the event will be featured on this website next week.

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