Courtesy of V3
The 2012 EMC World conference signalled the emergence of a
profession which will will be entirely unfamiliar to many in the IT
space: data science.
Just like cloud computing dominated
the 2010 EMC World and big data the 2011 event, this year, the hot
topic for this year's conference was the emerging field of
large-scale data analysis and modelling. Many predict that the
field will soon become an invaluable part of the business
The field of data science is being
painted as the logical next step to big data. It uses
the computing power and vast data holdings of large-scale database
systems and puts them to use. Combining fields such as advanced
statistics with cloud computing platforms, a data scientist would
be able to spot long-term trends and model scenarios for major
EMC, VMware and a number of other
companies believe that the field of data science will bring a new
class of professional into the workspace. Individuals who are
trained in both the advanced statistics and analysis as well as the
development and operations of big data platforms could soon become
invaluable to large enterprises and service developers.
Executives have made lofty predictions
for the field. EMC chief Joe Tucci told reporters that a data
science degree could soon become more valuable in the workplace
than a computer science degree.
Getting those professionals into the
market, however, remains a primary concern for both vendors and
enterprises interested in advancing the field. By EMC's own
estimate just 800 or so universities even offer data science skills
as part of their curriculum, and EMC's own training programme has
yet to certify its first crop of students.
Thus far, the company has also found
that the field is not proving to be attractive for unemployed IT
professionals hoping to get back into the workplace.
Greenplum senior vice president Scott
Yara predicted that the data scientist will become an essential
part of the management team. EMC's Howard Elias said that while
training programmes are still new, interested candidates thus far
have primarily been younger adults from finance and analysis
backgrounds rather than IT professionals looking for new
As the field remains in its infancy,
however, data science could still hold promise to those in the IT
space who are looking to expand their career horizons. The growth
in the platform could also help to stimulate growth in other areas
Yara sees traditional IT staff in
demand as well. "We are seeing data science as a team
sport," Yara explained. "There has been a lot of talk about
the scientist in particular, but you need a lot of people to take
charge of different roles."
Yara noted that the rise in data
science will also add to the workload for other IT operations. Such
heavy-duty platforms would require careful maintenance and
management to function on a daily basis.
EMC and its subsidiary companies have
good reason to push big data and data science. Over the course of
EMC World the company introduced some 42 new products aimed at
areas such as private cloud storage and data migration.
As it stands, EMC and the companies it
owns claim to be able to singlehandedly build, configure, deploy,
secure and manage the big data platforms needed for data science
platforms. Aside from its own storage and security branches, the
company has ties ties to VMware and the recently-acquired Greenplum
specialises in management of big data platforms.
When a company specialises in the
production, maintenance and training needs for a certain field, the
marketing message must be taken into account. EMC has tremendous
motivation for selling firms on the need for data science
Those concerns aside, the need for
data science seems to be very real and rapidly emerging.
Large-scale web services and social networking platforms in
particular will create a demand for individuals who can put massive
amounts of customer data and feedback in the proper perspective and
help make sense of the data generated through their cloud
The transition to the larger
enterprise space appears to be just a matter of time. Firms will be
eager to gain the long-term strategic edge promised by the ability
to evaluate and predict outcomes from unstructured data.
With a new class of students just
months away from kicking off their university educations and a
healthy crowd of trained professionals still eager to re-enter the
market, data science may indeed be a career path worthy of