The universities increase their open data offer

Fecha de la noticia: 28-08-2018


Data is one of the main forces that move our economic and social environment. The data allow us to make better decisions at the right time and place, make predictions about how a market will change or know the impact of the last measures . Therefore, more and more companies and organizations seek to develop a strategy based on data, but they find a problem: they need professionals who know how to capture, integrate, analyze and extract value from different sources of information, both public and private.

The shortage of talent is one of the main challenges that organizations have to face when talking about data management and analysis. As the report Generation of Big Data talent in Spain, carried out by the Fundación Cotec para la Innovación,already indicated, there is a growing demand for professionals specialized in fields such as big data, data science or data architecture, among others. In addition, organizations need professionals who know open data environment. The main solution to this challenge lies in education.

The educational centers are aware of this situation. Universities and schools have increased the offer around data. Many of these courses, degrees and postgraduate have included subjects focused on open data, as a key source of knowledge that, just alone or integrated with private data, can help better explain and understand the environment, or be used as a basis to generate new value-added services and products. Here we have some examples:

  • The Technical University of Cataluña offers the continuous blended learning course Maps and Open Data: programming, organization and analysis of Geodata. This course, whose next edition begins on December 12, is part of the itinerary of the Master's Degree in Geographic Information Systems and the postgraduate GIS Technologies. During the course, students could learn about formats, visualization techniques and the treatment of geometries and geodata in web applications. The course is aimed at any professional who wants to work with data, from social areas such as economics, politics or journalism to scientific and technological fields.
  • On October 26 the Complutense University of Madrid starts its own Master´s degree in Big Data and Business Analytics. This master is focused on the design, management, analysis and exploitation of large volumes of data for its implementation within the business strategy and decision making. Among topics such as machine learning, Python, Hadoop or Spark, they include a module focused on open government trends, as well as data sources and open algorithms. Unlike the previous example, this master is aimed at a technical profile audience.
  • The University of Alcalá also dedicates a module of the Master´s degree in Business Intelligence and data science and of the Master´s degree in Data Science to the different models of databases and the obtaining of information from public sources. Aimed to technical students, both masters seek to create professionals who want to acquire knowledge of Big Data, Business Intelligence, Machine Learning, Business Analytics and data visualization as a competitive advantage.
  • For its part, the University of Salamanca has launched the Master's Degree in Big Data with a module called Introduction to Big Data. Storage and Open Data, where the importance of open data and their world of possibilities and applications are pointed out. It starts on October 15.
  • Open data has also leaked into online training. In addition to the well-known MOOCs, nowadays we can find national masters such as the Master´s degree in Business Intelligence and Big Data offered by Escuela de Organización industrial. This course address the reuse of public open data, the opening of business data, the use of APIs and the development of strategies based on open data.
  • Finally, training in specific vertical areas that use data, such as journalism, is also increasing. An example is the Master's degree in research, visualizations and data journalism, from  Internacional University of La Rioja or Master's degree in data journalism from University Center Villanueva. Its objective is learning how to transform data and information into visual stories by applying statistics, data mining, infographics, design and visualization.

All these courses show how universities are adapting their programs to the current technological changes, but the reform in education must go further. The experts also demand the increase of these subjects in the previous stages of education, both in primary and secondary education. In this way, it will help even more to boost the generation of the talent that the market demands.