How to become an expert in big data

DAAD Sigrid Gombert

Data is generated – or processed – in virtually every area of our lives on a daily basis: we write e-mails, make phone calls or transfer money. The result is an increasing volume of data. Most of it is simply raw data at first, however. Weather stations continuously transmit up-to-date readings around the globe, but forecasting services can only really use the data once it has been analysed in detail. The analysis of large quantities of data is known as “big data”. As yet, only few experts know exactly how to turn this information into “smart data” – that is to say material that can be used to predict the weather, for example.

Wanted: big data experts

Talented data experts are therefore urgently needed in Germany, especially in areas like mechanical and automotive engineering in which Germany is a world leader. Big data is the way forward not only in business, however, but also in research. In many areas, such as nuclear physics or genetics, huge volumes of information are generated which need to be processed intelligently – ideally by specially trained experts.

How does one become an expert in big data?

So how does one become a big data specialist? Normally, by doing a degree in IT. In Germany, two centres of excellence set up by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) would be a good choice:

  • the Berlin Big Data Center (BBDC) at Technische Universität (TU) Berlin and
  • the Competence Center for Scalable Data Services and Solutions (ScaDS) at the universities of Dresden and Leipzig

Berlin Big Data Center

The Berlin Big Data Center (BBDC) at Technische Universität Berlin offers three English-language Master’s programmes in computer science with a specialist focus on big data, two of them in cooperation with universities in other European countries (“EIT ICT Labs Master School” and “Information Technologies for Business Intelligence”). Students choosing the “Data Analytics Track” concentrate on open-source technologies, that is to say software that is freely available.

Competence Center for Scalable Data Services and Solutions

The application of big data in business is the focus of the Competence Center for Scalable Data Services and Solutions (ScaDS) at the universities of Dresden and Leipzig. At TU Dresden, for example, Master’s students in physics, material science and biology are trained to become applied big data specialists in a module named “Computational Simulation Modelling”, while the computer science degree course features a separate module in “big data”. Furthermore, the ScaDS is equipped with a supercomputer that was specially designed for big data.

More information

Berlin Big Data Center (BBDC) at Technische Universität Berlin:

www.bbdc.berlin

Competence Center for Scalable Data Services and Solutions:

www.scads.de (only in German)