When word first got out that Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, was planning to build two degree programs specializing in big data analytics, vice provost of undergraduate education Donald Feke's in-box filled up with inquiries from students clamoring to get in—long before the programs were ready.
No wonder. McKinsey Global Institute predicts a shortage in the U.S. of up to almost 200,000 workers with deep analytical skills, and a deficit of 1.5 million managers capable of using big data analytics for actionable insights in their decision-making. Programs in data analytics and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, including cybersecurity, simply aren't keeping up with the demand.
That's why corporations are increasingly partnering with colleges and universities at an undergraduate level to help develop the 21st-century skills businesses and the economy will need. For students concerned with finding employment after college, big data analytics provides a huge edge at a time of diminishing high-wage-income opportunities.
"Instead of just learning about theories, we'll have the actual hands-on skills to use in whatever job we take. It will make us much more marketable," said Jessica Pease, 21, who'll continue her studies in cybersecurity as a senior next year at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo.