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Liam Fox: UK needs to exploit big data

Liam Fox: UK needs to exploit big data

MP Liam Fox has stepped up to show support for big data initiatives, saying that exploiting the technology can create a huge opportunity for the economy.

Speaking at the SAS Careers Fair at Brunel University, Mr Fox told delegates including students and customers alike that the UK should be the first to profit from the growth of big data.

The event aimed to introduce SAS academy students from over a dozen universities to some of SAS's customers. These include Barclays, Accenture and British Airways.

Mr Fox explained that, sooner or later, someone will decide to exploit big data and when that happens he expects tens of thousands of data scientists will be needed. Therefore, there could be huge levels of job being created in the big data sector in the future.

He stated that the fast growth of technology over recent years, particularly with the explosion of the internet and then the resultant fast uptake of cloud, has been difficult for the government to keep up with.

Yet it is not enough to simply have the knowledge of the increase in data, Mr Fox explained. People should have an idea of how it can be implemented into decision making.

According to IT Pro Portal, Mr Fox told delegates: "Knowledge and understanding are not the same thing.

"And what you add to knowledge and information to give you understanding is context. Understanding the data in a wider sense will lead you to make better decisions."

SAS itself has previously noted the increasing demand for big data specialists that has been arising over recent years. By the year 2017, SAS predicts that the shortage of big data specialists is going to double to 69,000. Even so, it found that five of the largest companies in the UK are struggling to find people whose skills meet their requirements.

The software institute set up the fair at Brunel University to plug the skills gap, with some of its customers having vacancies to be advertised to students.

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