In the movie Money Ball, Billy Dean, played by Brad Pitt, scouts Peter who majors in Economics at Harvard University in order to save his baseball team from dishonor. Peter analyzed the information of baseball players and selected new teammates. In the end, his analysis led the team to victory. Peter employed the ‘Money Ball Theory,’ a game that uses player statistics to place them in correct positions in order to win the game. It may seem impossible for us to carry out such analysis, but nowadays, university students are very interested in analyzing data, especially the idea called ‘Big Data.’
21st Century : a Flood of Data
According to Wikipedia, Big Data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. The term often refers to the use of predictive analytics or other advanced methods to extract value from data, and turn it into a usable data set size. The world is now focusing on Big Data. In 2012, the World Economic Forum selected ‘Big Data’ as one of 10 biggest rising technologies of the era. Also, the Korean Ministry and Ministry of Science’s ICT and Future Planning named ‘Big Data’ one of the top 10 main technologies in the ICT world. Because so many people are interested in Big Data, school authorities, students, and companies have created workshops to learn about Big Data.
For instance, Sookmyung initiated a special Analyzing Big Data program in 2013. The program aims at helping people understand the meaning of Big Data and to teach how to collect, analyze, judge, recommend, and utilize the data. Also, the number of Sookmyungians enrolling in the course Introduction to Statistics has increased. In fact, 6 classes were opened this spring semester, and every class was almost at its maximum enrollment limit and two classes accepted students over the limit. It's comparable to fall semester of 2014, when there were also 6 classes but none of the classes enrollment exceeded the limit. Off-campus, there is a multi-club named BOAZ that learns about Big Data. The club not only learns about Big Data, it also hosts conferences that present findings and research discoveries. Lee Sunghoon, President of BOAZ said, “The work is a great experience that enhances the potential strength of visualizing data."1 Moreover, companies such as Shinhan card together with Seoul National University held a program called SAM 2014 to teach undergraduate students about Big Data.
Data is Everywhere
Why have so many university students become interested in Big Data? The top reason is its diversity. Although many may see Big Data as only useful in economics or business, it is also used in politics and even the medical field. For instance, Google’s translation system and weather forecast program both make use of Big Data. Won Yoohyung, Vice-president of Pro Hands Korea said, “Students who have studied Big Data professionally can easily attain jobs in the fields of ICT, Customer Relationship Management, statistics consulting, medical statistics analyzing, and more.”2 Since there are many fields that use Big Data, knowledge of it benefits students seeking jobs.
Previous generations are not well informed about Big Data. Since the importance of Big Data is increasing rapidly, many people are placing their faith in university students. Today, many university students face extreme competition attaining a job. Many applicants wanting a “good” job, so they face harsh competition, which is expect to only continue. From a company’s point of view, since Big Data is gaining importance nowadays, they are forming special committees that specialize in Big Data, and students are trying to acquire one of those positions. To increase their qualifications, students are increasingly attending conferences and competitions regarding Big Data. Lee Junghyun, Representative of Korea Database Agency said, "In past, when IT companies offered lectures, students rarely participated; however, from this year, the lectures are always full of students." Year after year the number of students participating in the lectures has increased; students clearly demonstrate their passion. Also, they are increasing from a range of diverse majors.3
Key to the Future, Guide to the World
The Big Data interest phenomenon has enabled students to become more qualified for careers in the field of Big Data. There is no denying that the world today survives on use of Big Data. It is also clear that the importance of Big Data will increase in future. To be ready for the future, we need to learn how to use Big Data. For the future, as aforementioned, many IT related companies are hosting conferences and competitions related to Big Data. SKT recently held an orientation camp before its competition and taught applicants how to sort through data. One SKT representative said, “I hope the company’s program for students helps them become more competent users of Big Data.”4 The Big Data interest phenomenon has also sparked students’ interest in various fields.
When students learn about Big Data, they learn background information from a variety of areas. Lee Soyeon, Department of Mathematics ’14 who attends a special program called ‘Analyzing Big Data’ said, “I once tried to analyze data related to economics. During the analysis, I learnt a lot about economics. In the end, I learned not only how to analyze data but also extended my knowledge of economics.”
Big Data: the Fortune Cookie of our Future
Big Data is like a fortune teller. Data analysis can lead to predictions about the future, so companies need Big Data experts that can help them plan adverts and marketing strategies. Currently, companies are educating their employees about Big Data. To follow the trend, many adults are persuading their children to study about Big Data. Also, by learning about Big Data, students can open their eyes to the world wider and find a path leading to a future job. Studying Big Data can be worthy for students and society.
1 Kim Shinwoo, “Visualizing Public Data, the First Button that can Solve Social Problems,” The Korea Economic Daily, May 23, 2014
2 Seok Jihun, “University Students are Learning Big Data to Boost their CVs,” Daily UNN, April 8, 2015
3 Seo Chandong, “Universities are Interested in Big Data,” MK News, November 18, 2014
4 Kim Yoona, “Deep Interest in Processing Big Data; Analyzing Big Data is Like People on the Move in Gangnam,” Kookmin Ilbo, February 9, 2015