MDEC Supports Public and Private Universities to Bridge Talent Gap in Data Analytics Industry

21 Apr 2015

Specialised data science programmes aim to address talent gap and rising demand for data professionals in Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 April, 2015 – Multimedia Development Corporation (MDEC), lead agency in driving the National Big Data Analytics (BDA) Initiative, today announced support from seven public and private institutes of higher learning in Malaysia to offer data science courses to university students, graduates and working professionals for careers in data analytics.

To support and facilitate the demands of the local Data Analytics industry, these universities will be offering undergraduate and post-graduate data science and computer science courses with data and business analytics specialisations, starting July 2015 onwards. The institutes of higher learning are Asia Pacific University (APU), Malaysia Multimedia University (MMU), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Sunway University, Monash University, University Institute Technology Mara (UiTM) and University Teknologi Petronas (UTP).

“There are currently 80 data scientists in our local data analytics industry. To meet our target of 1,500 data scientists by 2020, we need more support from IHLs in Malaysia to offer courses that will encourage young people in the country to explore a highly demanded career as this. We need to ensure consistent and sustainable supply of skilled workforce to drive the adoption of BDA technologies, cultivate a culture of innovation and essentially, build a BDA ecosystem that will impact all sectors of the Malaysian economy,” said Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, MDEC.

MDEC also introduced a Data Science specialisation using Massive Online Blended Learning Approach (MOOC), an online course using content from Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Coursera, leader in providing universal access to education. This data analytics course is an extension to MDEC's existing MyProcert, a government-subsidised professional certification.

Participating in Big Data Week this year is local data scientist and Harvard University graduate, Jenna Yang Wan Jun, who applies and develops machine learning techniques in solving manufacturing problems.

“Data science is a highly sought-after profession in the world. I’m glad to see that universities here are stepping up to provide relevant courses for our students to pursue them locally. This is a golden opportunity for young Malaysians, especially for those in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to explore a career in the Data Science field, ” said Jenna.

MDEC has awarded product development and commercialisation funds (PCF) to five local businesses to encourage development and commercialisation of BDA solutions: Fusionex, Datamicron, MDT Innovations, Verve and N2N Connect that have recently seen successes in the development of their BDA solutions.

Local IT software company, Fusionex, will be showcasing its award winning solution, Fusionex Insight, a home-grown BDA solution that processes data integration from multiple sources. This solution features high performance, speed and agility with user-friendly visualisation analytics for retail & FMCG, financial services, telcos, travel and hospitality, and manufacturing customers to help them drive revenue and lower down production costs. "Big Data is one of those technologies whose contribution is more than the sum of its parts. Whilst companies often associate Big Data with the amount of data they acquire, the different sources of data and speed at which data is coming at you, the true business value is from the insight that you can derive from the analysis of the data, and the competitive advantage it brings through differentiation," said Ivan Teh, Managing Director of Fusionex. Also on display at the launch was the School ITrac solution developed by MDT Innovations, one of the first local companies to produce Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in the country. School ITrac uses the latest wireless sensor technologies to accurately detect children’s movement at schools and provide notifications to teachers and parents in real-time for safety purposes.

Another Big Data solution that made a debut at the event was from Datamicron, a local business intelligence solutions provider that earned RM5.28 million sales from their latest BDA solution early this year. The product features machine learning capabilities which captures sentiment analysis for social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

“More companies are now excited about big data but would still require support and motivation. This year, we have around 40 BDA and related solutions from universities, local businesses and international tech companies showcased at Big Data Week. This excitement leads us to draw upon our competencies in the national BDA thought-leadership to enable entrepreneurs and businesses to start exploring the power of their data without having to invest in expensive consultancy or training,” said Dato’ Yasmin.

Big Data Week 2015 @ Kuala Lumpur is an initiative that brings together a global community of big data practitioners, in line with the country’s journey of becoming a data hub in the ASEAN region. Malaysia is the sole big data week city partner in ASEAN. It is part of the largest global big data festival participated by 25 cities across regions that interconnects community events for expert knowledge-sharing on how businesses can use BDA insights and trends to explore commercial opportunities.

It brought together Big Data gurus including renowned global data scientists from organisations and companies such as Experfy, Lazada, Open Data Institute, Gartner, Accenture and World Bank.

The event featured meet and greet sessions with Chief Data Scientist Jothi Periasamy from Experfy based in Harvard Innovation Lab, local and international data scientists, big data influencers and innovators, talks by internationals speakers, panel sessions with local and global data hub players, debates and live demonstrations of innovative BDA applications by local technology players.

The event also hosted a closed-door panel session between the BDA Advisory panel and MDEC to share knowledge on best practices and expertise on BDA in further developing the National Big Data Analytics framework and blueprint. The advisory panel, made of BDA professional and experts joined MDEC to discuss four key areas: talent development, Chief Data Scientist, BDA ecosystem development, Open Data and open innovation.