Universities and colleges are launching Big Data graduate programs for business analysts. But would graduate students be wiser to pursue Big Data certifications from Silicon Valley companies?

The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business began its Master of Business Analytics program this fall with 30 students, according to The Wall Street Journal. About 50 to 60 students are expected to enroll in the $47,000 program next year, the Journal added.

More than 20 U.S. schools and universities already offer master's programs in data science -- and many of those programs offer courses in Big Data. While data-related jobs are plentiful, some pundits have openly wondered whether Big Data college degrees are a fad.

Meanwhile, a growing number of technology companies now offer Big Data-related certifications. Five options, as tracked by Tom's IT Pro, include:

  • HP Vertica Certifications: Designed for database analysts, application developers and systems administrators.
  • Cloudera, the Apache Hadoop advocate, offers a Cloudera Certified Professional: Data Scientist (CCP:DS) certification, plus certifications for developers, admins and IT specialists.
  • EMC Data Science Associate: This certification is designed for aspiring or established data scientists.
  • The Oracle Business Intelligence Program: This includes offerings for architects, analysts, developers and administrators. 
  • Finally SAS Institute offers a range of certifications in the BI and Big Data area.

Bottom line: Careers in Big Data remain abundant. Colleges, Universities and vendors want to educate aspiring Big Data experts. 

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