Tuesday, February 11, 2014

University Students Armed with Bigger Bytes for 2014

SAS and Sunway University Partner to Meet Rising Demand for Data Scientists in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, February 11, 2014 – A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SAS Centre of Analytics and Sunway University was signed to embed an analytics focused program from SAS for students undertaking a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems. The MoU will include a hosting of large scale datasets and analytical models where Sunway University will provide the infrastructure and facilities to proliferate Business Intelligence & Analytics (BIA) skills across students, faculty, and industry professionals. Such capabilities will support academic research in the development of new concepts, methods, systems or applications for BIA skills.

Andrew Tan, Managing Director for SAS Malaysia is confident that the partnership between SAS Malaysia and Sunway University would bring great benefit to not just the students but also Malaysian businesses and organisations. He said, “We can certainly see a strong demand for Big Data technology and analytics in Malaysia over the last few years. Many businesses are starting to realise that they need advanced analytics solutions to stay ahead of the game.” He went on to add, “This of course means that the need for big data experts with data mining skills is only going to increase.”

(From L-R) 
Lee Munloong, Head of Academic, SAS Malaysia
Andrew Tan, Managing Director, SAS Malaysia
Lee Weng Ken, Chief Executive Officer of Education and Healthcare Division, Sunway Group 
Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Vice Chancellor, Sunway University
Professor Poh Chit Laa, Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology, Sunway University.

According to studies by the International Data Corporation (IDC), emerging markets, which includes Malaysia, only accounted for just 23% of Big Data generated worldwide in 2010. In 2014, IDC predicts that this amount will grow to 40%and exceed 60% by the year 2020. The study also reports that businesses will direct significantly larger amounts of resources towards Big Data analytic tools and solutions, with worldwide spending in 2014 likely to grow by 30% and pass the USD 14 billion mark.

The discussions for the partnership first started in 2008 and culminated in an official agreement signed in 2010. Over the last few years, the collaboration gradually deepened as SAS and Sunway both continued to work together to provide their respective expertise in helping to produce world-class analytics talent in line with the rapidly-growing market demand.

The latest partnership is a two-prong strategy aimed at helping Sunway University to take the next step in fully integrating its students, teaching staff and faculty members with the latest in Business Intelligence and Analytics (BIA) knowledge and skills. This partnership will firstly include training courses for Sunway University’s teaching staff who will upon completion, acquire the SAS Global Certification Program to provide formal credentials for them to demonstrate good working knowledge of SAS. Sunway University’s faculty will also be supported by SAS in the development of curriculum planning, teaching and research activities in connection with the SAS software.

Chief Executive Officer, Education and Healthcare Division of Sunway Group, Mr. Lee Weng Keng highlighted the importance of having strong partnerships with industry leaders such as SAS in order to provide university students with relevant skills and knowledge. He said, “We have always emphasised on the need to not only uphold but also to continue to uplift the quality of programmes offered here at Sunway University. We are truly committed to ensuring that our students have access to quality tertiary education and upon graduation, which are industry-relevant and also internationally-recognised.”

Further to that, students would also have an unprecedented opportunity to gain practical industry training and experience by enrolling in SAS’ Graduate Development Programme. The industry training programme is a pioneering effort and will be focused on helping fresh graduates to develop a well-rounded overview of the various industries in which BIA play a critical role. Tan pointed out that having business experience is vital to becoming a competent data scientist. He said, “Malaysian businesses need data scientists who have strong BIA skillsets tempered with real-world working experience. The Graduate Development Programme was created with the objective to create a skilled talent pool of capable, experienced and confident data scientists for Malaysian businesses.”

Professor GraemeWilkinson, Vice Chancellor of Sunway University echoed the same sentiment and added that “To further provide skilled talents in demand by the industry and the nation in the analytics domain, Sunway University will also be launching a new degree programme – BSc (Hons) Business Analytics in the near future. This will also serve to further strengthen the relationship between SAS and Sunway University.”

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