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Cloudera and MDEC join up for big data skills push

On April 13, 2016, Cloudera, a global provider of data management and analytics platform built on Apache Hadoop, launched its BASE (Big Analytics Skills Enablement) initiative in Kuala Lumpur.

The objective is to pull industry players and academic institutions together to train up a steady stream of people with necessary skills in the areas of big data and analytics to fulfil the current skilled data professionals gap in Malaysia.

Everybody is collecting data, but what sense do we make of it?

According to the Malaysia National ICT Association (PIKOM), the number of IT graduates produced each year, which numbers about 30,000, is insufficient to cater to the growth of the industry.

Malaysia produces twice as much data as Australia, although our population is not much higher. How this tidal wave of data is put to good use requires data professionals from data hygienists to data scientists. Data hygienists ensure that data coming in is “clean and accurate” enabling data integrity. Data scientists create sophisticated analytics models that can help predict customer behaviour and allow advanced customer segmentation and pricing optimisation. There are endless more roles in between where data professionals play pivotal roles in their organisations.

The BASE Initiative

Doug Cutting, Chief Architect at Cloudera and co-creator of Apache Hadoop, who was in Kuala Lumpur to launch BASE, shared that the initiative aims for a collaboration, pertinently among academic institutions, recruiters, business and hardware partners, and the government.

Cutting elaborates that, “At Cloudera, we see a clear shortage of skilled data professionals across industries. We see an opportunity for us to play a catalyst role to bring various bodies into a collaborative effort, much like the open source community did when we were creating Hadoop. This collaborative innovation will help us bring new data-enabled talent into the market through skilled professionals who can leverage the tools and actualise data for business and the community.”

The BASE Initiative partners in Malaysia

The nine companies that have committed to this collaboration that were introduced at the launch were Intel, Dell, Red Hat, Microsoft, SAS Malaysia, Fusionex, OpenGov Asia, Talend and Iverson Associates.

Two academic institutions, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) and Multimedia University (MMU), will be among the first academic institutions to collaborate. Cloudera has also garnered support from SEEK Asia and Ambition Asia to match data professionals who have completed their training to the right job vacancies. IDC Asia Pacific further lent its support at the launch. The BASE launch is a validation of Cloudera’s initiative as IDC’s recent survey (sponsored by Cloudera) showed that 46-percent of Asia Pacific organisations plan to hire additional Hadoop specialists in the next two years.

UTAR and MMU hope to benefit from the BASE initiative through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP) programme. Through CAP, Cloudera provides partner institutions with a complete, industry-standard Hadoop curriculum at no charge that can be incorporated into computer science and business analytics courses.

Teaching staff and students of affiliated institutions also get access to software and discounted training to help accelerate the adoption of the Hadoop platform. UTAR President, Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik commented, ”Cloudera has taken this initiative to bridge the talent gap for data professionals and our undergraduates in the Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science have commenced their training as part of the degree curriculum.”

Ambition’s managing director, Sam Baxendale articulates, “We have seen a very strong increase in demand for technology professionals in big data and analytics across industries in Malaysia, even up to the most senior level, but the current local talent pool is simply not able to support the growing demand.

“So employers have a choice to make: they hire graduates or more experienced professionals with a view to developing their skills or they look abroad. Whilst hiring highly capable expats may bridge the gap, the long term interests of Malaysia, in this respect, will be far better served through developing its own talent pool.

“The capability and the aspiration are there, but they just need nurturing, and this is where Cloudera’s BASE initiative comes in. The entire ecosystem of us from the public and private sector, from schools to governments and the industry, will need to work together to develop the talent pool in Malaysia, for Malaysia.”


-To Be Continued with Part Two-


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