It’s not breaking news that data has the potential to help universities make better business decisions. However, some universities are making headlines for their programs that teach students how to work in the world of data analytics.
“Over the past decade, the importance of self-service data analysis has increased dramatically. In response to these changes in the industry, the UO SOJC found a way to offer its students experiential learning in these new, highly sought-after skills,” reads the article.
The students in UO’s lab analyze live TV ratings and derive valuable advertising insights. Students in the class tell UO SOJC’s website that they are learning valuable skills that are in line with today’s jobs. Some students, like recent graduate Madeleine McNally, credit the class with starting their careers.
“The class gives students unique access to industry leaders, robust data sets and hands-on experience with analytics software,” McNally tells SOJC's website. “It equipped me with the skills and knowledge to accept a media analytics position, where I am expected to work with large data sets — cleansing, transforming and pulling insights for clients.”
Universities Create Innovative Programs to Fill Demand
Journalism students aren’t the only ones at UO getting hands-on data experience. Part of UO’s business school recently rebranded with an analytics concentration that has courses on big data and how analytics fuels management decisions.
Other schools are also stepping up when it comes to analytics-themed programs. Denison University, a liberal arts college in Ohio with 2,000 students, launched an analytics major in fall 2016, Inside Higher Ed reports.
Denison’s program allows students to pick an interdisciplinary path and apply their data work to economics, political science, biology and other fields.
“I hope a lot of programs take [that] into account [so] that we’re not just pushing out … applied mathematicians who don’t understand the importance of the context,” Jessen Havill, the director of Denison’s program, tells Inside Higher Ed.
Ohio State University launched one of the first data analytics programs a few years ago, and its graduates are poised for high-caliber jobs and internships, Inside Higher Ed reports. The program’s founders predict more data analytics majors will pop up in the next few years to meet industry demand.
“Industries would like to take the next step and glean the insights [from the huge amount of data out there] so they can move ahead in their respective fields,” the program’s co-director, Srinivasan Parthasarathy, says in the article.