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Malaysia's Sunway University announces move to produce skilled data scientists

AvantiKumar | Feb. 13, 2014
Under an agreement signed with SAS Malaysia, an analytics focused program will be embedded for students taking a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems.

SAS 01 modified 

Photo - (From left) 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; and Professor Poh Chit Laa, Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology, Sunway University.


Malaysian private educational institute Sunway University's partnership with analytics firm SAS Malaysia will help produce graduates with strong business and analytics skill sets coupled with industry experience, it said.

Under the new memorandum of agreement (MoU) signed recently between Sunway University and SAS Centre of Analytics, an analytics focused program will be embedded for students taking a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems coupled with the opportunity to gain practical industry training and experience by enrolling in SAS' Graduate Development Programme.

In addition, Sunway University's vice chancellor, Professor Graeme Wilkinson, said, "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."

The partnership comprises a two-prong plan to enhance the business intelligence and analytics [BIA] skills of Sunway University students, teaching staff and faculty members. The first step includes SAS Global Certification Program training courses for university's teaching staff with support from SAS software to develop curriculum planning, teaching and research activities.

Sunway Group chief executive officer, education and healthcare division, Lee Weng Keng said industry partnerships would help students to develop relevant skills and knowledge.

"We have always emphasised the need to not only uphold but also to continue to uplift the quality of programmes offered here at Sunway University," said Lee. 

Discussions for the partnership first started in 2008 and culminated in an official agreement signed in 2010.

Increasing demand for analytics in Malaysia

 "We can certainly see a strong demand for Big Data technology and analytics in Malaysia over the last few years," said SAS Malaysia managing director, Andrew Tan. "Many businesses are starting to realise that they need advanced analytics solutions to stay ahead of the game."

"This of course means that the need for big data experts with data mining skills is only going to increase," said Tan, adding that the partnership with Sunway University would benefit both the students and Malaysian organisations.

He cited studies by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) showed that emerging markets, including Malaysia, only accounted for just 23 percent of Big Data generated worldwide in 2010. In 2014, IDC expects that this amount will grow to 40 percent and exceed 60 percent 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 percent and pass the US$14 billion mark, said Tan.

"Malaysian businesses need data scientists who have strong BIA skill sets tempered with real-world working experience," he said. "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."


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