National 19.8.2016 09:30 am

UWC offers Africa’s first data analytics postgrad diploma

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

Most modern workers know that big data is already the next big thing.

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) said on Friday it was responding to specific business needs by offering Africa’s first postgraduate diploma in data analytics and business intelligence as of January 2017.

Modern workers might not all understand the underlying principles well, but most of them will know that big data is already the next big thing. And, in the words of Christopher Ward, data analyst at the Nimble Group, which helped UWC develop the new course, “data analysis is the gateway to all new development worldwide”.

“Globally, businesses are wrestling with challenges and opportunities that call for the application of analytics … African businesses identify the lack of talent as one of the primary factors for not being able to pursue this avenue,” UWC said in a statement.

Professor Kobus Visser, dean of UWC’s faculty of economic and management sciences, added: “Since technological change is often accompanied by talent shortages, unemployment and growing inequality, it becomes imperative that we rethink the way we work so that future workers can fairly compete.”

The part-time course, which will be offered over an 18-month period, was designed in collaboration with industry partners Capitec Bank, Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPeSA), Pivotal Analytics, Data Prophet, Nimble Group and Compuscan.

Gareth Pritchard of BPeSA said: “The diploma is a unique example of academia collaborating with industry to produce a programme, which will hopefully become a platform for significant job creation not only in the Western Cape but in the whole of South Africa.”

An interdisciplinary curriculum incorporates the disciplines of business management, information systems, statistics and computer science to be followed by an internship during which candidates need to demonstrate their ability to solve complex problems.

To allow full-time employees to participate the course takes the form of blended learning, consistent online learning combined with six intensive one-week blocks on campus.

Jacobus Eksteen, data science team leader at Compuscan, said: “This is a wonderful initiative to address the shortage of skills and practical experience in analytics, as well as South Africa’s high unemployment rate.”

The UWC statement added: “Skilling, upskilling and reskilling is the name of the game – curious minds of all ages are invited to apply.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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