Want to be a Big Data scientist or analytics professional? A growing list of universities and colleges is eager to lend a hand. One timely example involves The New Jersey Big Data Alliance (NJBDA) -- which is working with local colleges to help prepare students for Big Data careers.

The alliance and several colleges will host a Big Data Conference at Montclair State University (MSU) on Dec. 2. Content will describe what employers are seeking from Big Data and analytics job candidates. Speakers include experts from Caserta Concepts; IMS Health; Fractal Analytics; and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Additional colleges involved in the alliance include Kean University, Princeton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Rutgers University, St. Peters University, Stevens Institute and Stockton College.

Once the conference ends, the Big Data education talk certainly won't conclude. MSU plans to launch a degree program in analytics in the fall of 2015.

Meanwhile, colleges and universities across the U.S. have been launching or expanding data science degree programs. Eight of the latest programs involve everyone from Indiana University to USC. Moreover, more than 20 U.S. schools and universities now offer master's programs in data science.

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