Ateneo is offering a Master’s in big data by 2018 and we got all the deets here

Cover art Samantha Gonzales

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Digital Reporter

The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) has partnered with Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) to create master’s programs in data science or big data, as well as media and arts technology.

“In this digital age we will need programs like big data for digital innovation and we will need renewed competency to navigate such strange new world,” ADMU President Jose Ramon Villarin said during the launch of the partnership last Nov. 20 at the university in Quezon City.

According to Villarin, ADMU is already finalizing “internal arrangements” to begin offering the programs by September next year or 2019.

“The digital economy will run on many engines. In such an economy the most important engine will be creativity and innovation,” Villarin said.

The university will choose 10 scholars for the first batch for the programs, which will run for 18 months. Selected students will study in ADMU for 12 months, and then stay in QMUL for six months.

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The launch of such programs marks the preparation of the country’s education sector for a digital economy, which according to Villarin is “data‑intense, algorithm‑driven, efficient, fast, hyper‑connected, and personalized.”

“[What will be] more crucial to the economy of the future will be intelligent and creative contents and the new connections that these kinds of content can make among people from all over,” he said.

“For instance the Internet of Things is all about software connecting devices, people, and services. Disruption and obsolescence are happening not because of brick‑and‑mortar structures but because of much softer things like creative software and the creative integration of systems,” Villarin added.

‘Huge’ demand for data scientists

Citing a report by U.S.‑based research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc., Francis del Val, founder and President of Cobena Business Analytics & Strategy, Inc., said the global business intelligence and analytics software market is set to grow to $22.8 billion by the end of 2020. By the same period there will also be a demand for 1.7 million data scientists in the world.

According to Del Val, the Philippines has a “huge potential” to be a source of the world’s best data scientists. In five to 10 years, he said, the country could have an industry of “hundreds of thousands or maybe even half a million” data scientists.

“Here in the Philippines it is already happening. You can see that a lot of more modern organizations can now find better, more efficient way of moving around because they get to transport data, but equally what we are seeing right now is that companies who adapt big data are able to make smarter decisions,” he told SparkUp during the event.

However, the integration of such technology in the country is “just at the tip of the iceberg” as many companies remain “very reluctant to share their data and the government still has a lot to do in terms of releasing data to the public.”

“It’s very difficult to come up with a figure right now, but what we do know, though, is that the future is immense because we have a lot of consumers and consumers, of course, generate a lot of data,” he said.

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