Data analytics software firm SAS has lauched the free SAS University Edition, which it says will help the higher education sector generate statistical skills needed to fill the big data skills gap.
SAS said the free software will hep make students more attractive to employers and power the research of higher education staff. The software supports those teaching and learning statistics and quantitative methods. It also provides the statistical software needed for research and courses like economics, social sciences, business, health and engineering.
According to a SAS and e-skills UK report published in November 2013, the number of larger organisations that implement big data analytics will more than double by 2017, with a 243 percent rise in demand for big data specialists over the same period. But there is an emerging skills gap, as around three in five businesses admitted having difficulty finding people with the required skills and experience.
"The analytics skills gap spans all major industries, which means tremendous opportunity for anyone with expertise in this area," said Laurie Miles, head of analytics at SAS UK & Ireland.
"With this free, simple download, SAS University Edition paves the way to better learning and understanding of analytics, so students and those already in employment can take advantage of the rising demand for these skills."
The package includes access to the SAS Analytics U community, where users interact with each other, share ideas, ask questions and find more SAS resources.
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