Blogs Filling the Void in Big Data Skills

Senior Big Data and Cloud Program Manager, IM Cloud Computing, IBM

As business users start to explore big data and implement big data projects, they are quickly realizing that the technical issue of managing big data is not the only problem they need to be concerned about: Finding skilled professionals who can work with big data is an equivalent challenge.

The need for skilled individuals in this emerging area was recognized early by a group of individuals passionate about big data technologies. With support from IBM and other partners such as Amazon, Jaspersoft, Rightscale, SciSpike, and more, Big Data University ( was started as a community project in mid 2011. From its humble beginnings of just a few hundred users, Big Data University now boasts (as of the time of writing) 32,700 registered users – an exponential growth in just a year of operation!

Rapid growth of registered users of the site validates the interest around big data. It is also a measure of success of the site’s approach to delivering education in a flexible way: Learn @yourpace, @yourplace, @yourtime.

Courses in Big Data University are free and developed mainly by volunteers. They include hands-on exercises that can be performed locally on your own system, using VMWare images, or using the Cloud (the most popular method). Cloud computing is certainly enabling many big data applications. Anyone today can easily build a Hadoop cluster on the Cloud, and Big Data University has courses showing exactly how to do that.

Each course in Big Data University includes a test that validates the skills you have gained. When you pass the test, the system enables you to print a certificate of course completion.

At the time of writing, there are 13 courses available in Big Data University. The most popular course is Hadoop Fundamentals I with 9421 participants enrolled. For a list of available courses, and the suggested path to follow, read the article Starting your education in big data.

Happy learning!