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Study: World's Colleges Lack Bi, Analytics Concentration

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Barbara Wixom

Barbara Wixom

Photo courtesy of University of Virginia

Just a few colleges and universities worldwide offer dedicated degree programs for business intelligence (BI), despite the quickly growing popularity of analytics technology among businesses, according to a recent report. However, BI courses are being taught in several disciplines, including computer science, statistics, and accounting, according to University of Virginia professor Barbara Wixom and Xavier University professor Thilini Ariyachandra.

The disjointed nature of BI course work means that students are not getting a well-rounded understanding of BI from both the business and technical viewpoints, according to the researchers. Out of 129 schools surveyed, the report found that undergraduate BI degrees are offered at just three schools, and just 12 schools offer graduate-level BI programs.

The researchers also surveyed 339 BI students, and found that about 150 claimed to be taking BI courses because they were required, while 90 said they planned to make a career out of BI. The survey also found that schools are having difficulty providing students with practical, hands-on training. "All large BI vendors and service providers are struggling with finding and retaining BI talent," says Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson.

From IDG News Service
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Mahmoud Youssef

I agree that specialization in BI is well needed in the market but developing undergraduate programs of that type are challenging mainly due to the multidisciplinary nature of the topic. Students need to have good understanding of advanced business topics such as Strategic Management and Enterprise Performance Management as well as advanced computing topics such as data warehousing and data mining. These topics require good deal of background. Another challenge is to provide students with hands-on skills in BI.
It is my opinion that for such specialization to work, it has to ignore much theory that are usually packed in business and computing programs and focus on providing skill needed for the market.

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