THE FACULTY of Engineering will introduce a new specialization track for data analysts in 2015 to address growing demand from businesses.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and IBM Corp. (IBM) are collaborating to draw up a list of subjects for “business analytics,” which is being eyed as a new profession for high school graduates.

CHEd Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said analytics could be a new “game changer,” and an opportunity for Filipinos to prosper in the field of handling and processing data.

“This cooperation will enable us to leverage IBM’s best practice in this area to prepare our students to participate in the emerging global market opportunity for analytics,” Licuanan said in a chance interview with the Varsitarian at the sidelines of the awarding ceremonies of centers of development and excellence for humanities, social sciences and communication programs in Quezon City last June 4.

Business analytics, estimated to become a $160-billion industry in 2015, deals with extensive use and analysis of data, explanatory and predictive modelling, and fact-based management for decision-making to study market uncertainty and revenue growth.

Six additional courses with a total of 21 units will be added to the curriculum of Information Technology students: Fundamentals of Business Analytics, Fundamentals of Enterprise and Data Management, Fundamentals of Analytics Modeling, Analytics Techniques and Tools, Analytics Application, and Analytics Internship.

CHEd Commissioner Cynthia Rose Bautista said that since analytics is “evolving,” it could even be applied to programs other than IT and business administration.

“Right now it is [for] IT and business [administration] but eventually, it can be a minor for humanities and social sciences,” Bautista said in a chance interview of the Varsitarian at the CHEd Auditorium.

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IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation that started Philippine operations in 1937.

According to Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, president and country general manager of IBM-Philippines, the country will be the first in the world to introduce business analytics as a profession.

“Data is quickly becoming the most important natural resource in the world and companies who have talent with the best skills to help them take advantage of big data will have a more promising future,” Winhoffer said at the launch of the new business analytics specialization track in Pasig City.

“We have lots of IT students graduating every year and we have the facilities here,” she said. “With the right academic development and professional training, the Philippines has the potential to be a leading incubator for advanced business analytics talent globally.”

Licuanan said she expected a boost in business analytics once industry giants like IBM start hiring in big numbers.

Information and Computer Studies (ICS) Department Chair Alex Santos said the business analytics specialization track would be a technical-professional elective.

The specialization track will match industry demands with the kind of graduates the University will produce, he said.

“The graduates become more relevant because the skill that they acquire from the University will really be the skill needed by the industry,” he added.

According to CHEd Memorandum Orders no. 11 and 12 on policies, standards and guidelines for the specialization track on business analytics, any higher education institution with a permit to offer business administration and IT programs can offer the new analytics track, but must still inform CHEd.

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CHEd has accredited the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University and UST to offer the business analytics specialization track, among other universities that had expressed interest.

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