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Rackspace is giving 85 postdoc students training in and exposure to big data technology platforms as used in businesses today

Rackspace is giving 85 postdoc students training in and exposure to big data technology platforms as used in businesses today

Hosting and cloud services provider Rackspace announced the launch of Science to Data Science (S2DS), a summer school for PhD students aimed at training them for jobs using big data technologies. The programme is being sponsored by companies like KPMG, Hortonworks, Royal Mail, Importio, and a number of other firms and vendors working with big data technologies.

The rapid rise in big data adoption means data scientists are simultaneously in high demand and short supply, and Rackspace said the programme will add value by exposing students with diverse academic backgrounds (astronomy, physics, mathematics, computer science and chemistry) to data science as practiced in companies today.

The programme will run for five weeks, and of the hundreds of PhD students that applied 85 of the most talented from 24 different countries include including Italy, Germany, USA, France and Holland will take part.

“Right now, anyone with an analytics background and a PhD has a golden future as a data scientist,” said Nigel Beighton, vice president of technology at Rackspace. “We have first-hand experience of the struggle to find these skills – from our own search for this talent and from what our customers are telling us – and the 1000 per cent increase being reported shows that we are not alone.”

“This five-week course has the right mix of theory and real practice, and we are very confident that the graduating students will be equipped with skills the industry is looking for,” he said.

Matthew Eric Bassett, director of data science at NBC Universal and one of the teachers involved with the course said the programme “presents a great opportunity to combine the theoretical knowledge with real world situations for students to make the transition to data science.”

Rackspace said following the completion of the course the company will help facilitate introductions between participating PhD students and UK firms seeking out data scientists.

The move to offer practical training in big data analytics is yet another sign of growing corporate demand for big data skills at a time when top talent is tough to come by, a gap UK businesses and academic institutions are working to bridge. For instance KPMG and Imperial College London recently pledge to jointly set up the ‘KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics’, with the help of a £20m investment from KPMG.

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