Globally, businesses are wrestling with challenges and opportunities that call for the application of analytics – but African businesses identify the lack of talent as one of the primary factors for not being able to pursue this avenue.
That’s why the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is offering Africa’s very first Postgraduate Diploma in Data Analytics and Business Intelligence from January 2017 – a part-time course offered over an 18-month period.
“Since technological change is often accompanied by talent shortages, unemployment and growing inequality, it becomes imperative that we rethink the way we work so that future workers can fairly compete,” says Prof Kobus Visser, Dean of UWC’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.
The programme was designed in collaboration with industry partners Capitec Bank, Business Process Enabling South Africa, Pivotal Analytics, Data Prophet, Nimble Group and Compuscan.
The course content and approach thus responds to industry needs and bridges the gap between academic training and business application. The programme is aimed at growing local talent to respond to the increasing business need for skills in data analytics.
Gareth Pritchard, CEO of BPeSA (Western Cape), states: “The business process outsourcing industry is proud to be associated with the University of the Western Cape’s new postgraduate diploma in analytics initiative. The diploma is a unique example of academia collaborating with industry to produce a programme which will hopefully become a platform for significant job creation – not only in the Western Cape, but in the whole of South Africa.”
An interdisciplinary curriculum of analytical and qualitative studies incorporates the disciplines of business management, information systems, statistics and computer science to be followed by an internship during which candidates need to demonstrate their ability to solve complex problems.
To allow full-time employees the opportunity to participate in the programme, the course takes the form of blended learning – consistent online learning combined with six intensive one-week blocks on campus.
“Data analysis is the gateway to all new development – worldwide,” affirms Christopher Ward, data analyst at the Nimble Group, who supports the development of the course and its potential impact for future graduates.
“This is a wonderful initiative to address the shortage of skills and practical experience in analytics, as well as South Africa’s high unemployment rate,”adds Jacobus Eksteen, Data Science Team Leader at Compuscan.
“The diploma provides a unique blend of business, data and analytically-related subjects,” notes Capitec’s Carel du Toit, ” which will prepare students excellently for a career in business intelligence and data analytics.”
Admission requirements for the degree include a B-degree with an average of 55% for exit modules in Information Systems, Business Management, Computer Science or Statistics – or a B-degree (or equivalent) with two years relevant working experience.