A total of 22 JKUAT students were on Tuesday, 2nd August 2016 certified as IBM Big Data Specialists following a three week training at the University’s ICT Research Consultancy and Training Department (RCT) in the ICT Directorate. The training, which focused on Big Data Analytics, ended on Tuesday with a MEA University certification exam that was conducted by IBM. According to Mr. John Matogo, the University Relations Leader for IBM Corporation in the East African region, all the students who sat the certification examination passed.
The Big Data training was the first one of its kind conducted in a Kenyan University and this was made possible by the ICT Research Consultancy and Training Department through the support of the IBM Corporation. During the three week duration, the students were subjected to intensive training on matters relating to Big Data Analytics, and were exposed to the latest analytics softwares, point in case the IBM Big Insights which delivers a rich set of advanced analytics capabilities that allows enterprises to analyze massive volumes of both structured and unstructured data in its native format. The software combines open source Apache Hadoop with IBM innovations including sophisticated text analytics, IBM Big Sheets for data exploration, IBM Big SQL for SQL access to data in Hadoop, security and administrative features and a range of performances. The result is a cost-effective and user-friendly solution for complex, Big Data Analytics.
The training was conducted by one Ms. Jane Mugi, Technician,IT Department, Mr. Michael Waititu, the University’s ICT-Innovations and Industry liaison Lead, and Mr. Kipkorir Sang, Head of Department, Information Systems. According to the lead instructor, Jane Mugi, Big Data analytics is moving beyond the realm of intellectual curiosity and is beginning to tangibly affect business operations. She further opined on the environment the training was conducted, asserting that “The cloud environment gave the students an opportunity to get practical access to the Big Data technology using lab works.” The IBM CLOUD based service in the University network has created a dynamic and flexible IT environment that is built on the latest IBM technologies.
Speaking after the certification examination, IBM representative, John Matogo, intimated that the students who had just graduated from the program were now uniquely qualified to fit into the job market. He added that individuals with insight on big data analytics are currently in very high demand in several industries. He also didn’t fall short of mentioning that IBM still has more in store for students, “We have plans in the near future through our partnership with JKUAT, to run more trainings on business intelligence, predictive analytics, cloud application development and many others.”
One of the ICT Research, Consultancy and Training Department’s core objective is to improve the ICT literacy levels for students, staff and community as a whole. This has seen the RCT Department secure symbiotic partnerships and MoUs with organizations’ such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Safaricom among others. In the past one year, through either free or cost-standardized professional short courses, it has trained in excess of 1000 participants in tech areas such as Google applications, mobile Android applications programming, fiber optics networking, cloud and virtualization training and the just concluded training on IBM Big Data and Analytics.
According to the RCT Chairman, Mr. Albert Kibe, the Department aims to take a front seat in providing industry based trainings in order to ensure that students have necessary hands-on skills and are all-rounded. This, he adds, not only guarantees employment but also ensures these students can create their own employment and become self-reliant. “This is why we make every reasonable effort to ensure the information sent about our courses is accurate and complete. Apart from that, our training instructors are industry experts in their fields and have a desire to share their know-how,” he adds.
Among the upcoming courses to be offered by the RCT Department include; SPSS statistics tool training targeting postgraduate students, Industrial data analysis, Industrial data analysis, ICT governance, policy and Management training targeting all management stakeholders in the counties, ministries and National Government to enhance better service delivery through policy.
Some of the trainees who underwent the IBM Big data analytics training had this to say;
Pascal Nzeki, JKUAT Alumnus; “I joined this training to learn more about this coming trend of Big Data and how to analyze it and how to get more from a business perspective and a developer perspective. I can say the impact from the training has been major, and I want to thank IBM for subsidizing the training cost and JKUAT for facilitating this. The trainers were top-notch, and the class was interactive and fun.”
Alex Mulwa, IT Major, 3rd Year; “Being a programmer, this training has helped me understand more on how data can be processed and analyzed fast and effectively. It has also been a good experience, I’ve learnt a lot, met new people and I believe I’ll be better equipped to fit into the industry.”
Valentine Chepchirchir, 5th Year, Telecommunication and Information Engineering; “Big data is currently a big aspect of businesses and there’s very much untapped potential in data and I want to be part of the team that helps companies to improve on what they want. My experience was very good, challenging and our instructor was very good. She would follow up on us, ensuring we were in class and learnt something. This training has especially been helpful to me since being a person in Engineering and IT at the same time, I have to be dynamic, and taking Big Data has made me understand what companies need. It has taken me out of class into the real world.”