With big data being driven by millions of clicks and queries at any given time, Montclair State University is among the state’s leaders mapping a digital future for New Jersey, especially in such critical business sectors as health care, transportation and cybersecurity.
As a founding member of the New Jersey Big Data Alliance, an unprecedented partnership of advanced computing innovation and education, Montclair State is helping develop analytical programs and providing access to technologies to the state’s corporate community and government sectors.
The University is also a statewide leader in building a talent pipeline capable of translating huge amounts of data that measure everything from our online buying habits to GPS signals, in effect making businesses smarter in their decision-making and performance.
“All of us in New Jersey are trying to address what kind of workforce we need to prepare for the big data economy,” says Rashmi Jain, chair and professor in the Department of Information Management and Business Analytics at the Feliciano School of Business.
“At the same time, we have to look proactively and creatively at what kinds of technologies we need in the future to be able to use information for improving the community, improving the health system, improving education systems and improving the transportation systems,” she says.
At Montclair State, Jain led the design of the degree program and certificate in business analytics to help students acquire those skills. The University is one of only two New Jersey institutions offering a bachelor’s-level concentration – the certificate program and the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) is available at the graduate level.
Jain is a regular featured speaker on the topic of big data. For instance, on March 8, she will have her finger on the pulse of health care analytics as moderator of an industry panel on how data is being implemented and analyzed in medical technology, emergency medical records, diagnostics, claims and drug safety.
The presentation will be part of New Jersey Big Data Alliance’s annual symposium for industry, government and academic experts, this year focusing on “Transforming Tomorrow’s Workplace.” The gathering will look at trends, research, industry needs, strategies and mechanisms to spark new ideas, and for the first time, includes a data sciences/computing career expo.
“It’s important that we in our universities stay current with the developments in the industry because our students are going to be finding jobs and looking for careers in the next generation of careers in the big data economy,” Jain says.
“The velocity, veracity, variety and volume” of big data are opening doors on new approaches to understanding the world and making business decisions, she says. It’s not just numbers and charts and graphs. Everything we do on our phones, texts and the photos, videos and audio posted on social media are creating and contributing nearly 90 percent of all big data. Analytics are embedded in our medical devices, cars, even laundry machines.
“A lot of companies are planning to use this opportunity to leverage the technologies and analyze the data so they can make smarter decisions, be more effective, cost effective and efficient. That’s what business is all about,” Jain says.