Cloud hosting provider Rackspace is among a group of big data companies sponsoring Science to Data Science, a five-week workshop in London that teaches PhD students skills needed to work in data science roles.
Science to Data Science (S2DS) kicked off on Monday with its first cohort of 85 analytical PhDs. The workshop includes lectures and exercises where participants work in small teams on commercial projects in collaboration with partner companies and mentors, according to the website.
Aside from Rackspace, sponsors include KPMG, cartrwaler, Hortonworks, pivigo, reevoo and Royal Mail. Sponsors supply a data science project for students to work on, as well as financial support and participation in the one-day job fair at the end of the course.
As the amount of data is exploding, data scientists will play a critical role across industries, including healthcare, finance, and of course, cloud computing and the Internet of Things. A report by IBM recently noted how marketers will need to come up with strategies for making the most of big data, and this includes working with data scientists.
While the demand for data scientists is certainly there, a report by McKinsey said that despite this, the US alone is expected to face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 data scientists by 2018. Programs like S2DS seek to close that gap by offering training and education as well as job opportunities.
Rackspace has been investing in big data technologies to meet demand from enterprise clients. Last year, Rackspace launched managed support around its big data solutions and introduced Hortonworks Data Platform powered by Apache Hadoop in its managed hosting environment.
The S2DS program includes 85 participants that represent 24 nationalities including British, Italian, German, Spanish, American, French, and Dutch.
Half of the participants come from physics and astrophysics backgrounds, while the remainder come from mathematics, computer science, chemistry, economics, biology, engineering, neuroscience and more.
In terms of gender, 35 percent of the program’s participants are women, a fact that S2DS said it is “particularly proud of.”
As rumors of a Rackspace acquisition or possible privatization lose steam, it seems that Rackspace is looking for alternate ways to build out its team and strengthen its big data offering.