Udacity creates online degree programme to fill need for more data scientists

Education startup Udacity has today launched a comprehensive degree programme in response to the growing shortage of big data experts.

The inexpensive course will allow anyone with a basic understanding of statistics or computer programming to get schooled in this ever-growing field.

Recently, there has been concern about the lack of data scientists at a time when big data is growing exponentially. In a recent interview with Federal Computer Week, the director of Advanced Analytics at North Coroline State University, Michael Rappa, said: "There is a shortage of big data experts. I don't see the gap narrowing. Universities aren't producing enough."

Co-founder and DEO of Udacity Sebastian Thrun, wrote in a blogpost on the company's website: "I am excited to launch our new Data Science and Big Data Track, the first Data Science and Big Data curriculum built directly with industry pioneers.

"Data is changing nearly every aspect of how companies function. Insights from data analysis is key for product design, customer acquisition and retention, logistics, you name it! In an era of declining employment opportunities in many traditional areas, we are empowering our students to acquire the necessary skills to excel in the high-growth tech industry."

The first class, 'Introduction to Hadoop and MapReduce', will be available immediately. Other courses, including 'Exploratory data analysis', 'Data wrangling with MongonDB' and 'Introduction to data science', will be coming soon.

Earlier this week, ITProPortal met with Robert Witoff, the first data scientist to be hired by NASA. He spoke of the growing importance of the field and how best to go about building a successful data science team.