EMC World 2012: EMC hails the rise of the data scientist

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Storage giant EMC has launched a set of education programmes to help customers and partners get to grips with the technical challenges around big data and cloud.

Speaking at the EMC World event in Las Vegas, Howard Elias, chief operating officer of the storage vendor's information infrastructure and cloud services division, said the firm is working with universities around the world to develop the next generation of IT workers.

There is a gap that needs to be filled between the business and the art of the possible between the technology.

"We have begun developing new accreditations around cloud architects, datacentre architects and even data scientists, to train and provide knowledge transfer to our customers and to help them take advantage of the paradigms around cloud, trust and big data," said Elias.

"We've developed an academic academy programme. We have 800 colleges and universities around the world that we give our curriculum to teach courses to their students...[around] new storage technologies, cloud and big data."

At the moment, the firm is putting the finishing touches to its Data Scientist course. This is being offered to customers and partners through the vendor's education services division.

Elias revealed that around 1,000 people have signed up to take part in the course and said he expects the first tranche of graduates to start trickling through later this year.

"What we've found from talking to our customers is that there is a gap that needs to be filled between the business and the art of the possible between the technology," he explained.

"The data scientist is designed to close that gap, [by being] someone who equally understands the business and the technology [sides of the equation]."

At the moment, the bulk of people signing up to be data scientists come from a business, maths and statistics background, he added.

The importance of having a data scientist in the IT department was touched on during a media session with Joe Tucci, EMC's chief executive, who said they would have a crucial role to play in helping businesses derive value from their big data.

"We're passionate about data scientists, we helped popularise the term," said Tucci. "We're working with universities around the world [because], in this information-centric world, data scientists will become very important."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.