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"The analytics industry will grow in exponential proportions."

2016 marks the introduction of the annual Watson Analytics Global Competition (WAGC), a worldwide inter-universities, skill-based contest, designed to encourage students to create innovative solutions that utilise IBM Watson Analytics.

Almost 400 students from universities around the globe are participating in the competition, including three teams from Deakin Business School. The grand final will be held in Las Vegas in October 2016, coinciding with the IBM Insight analytics conference.

Dr William Yeoh, Director of Teaching and Learning at Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics, and Co-chair of WAGC, says the contest encourages students to adopt user-friendly tools and expand their understanding of the analytics space.

‘As Watson Analytics is a cloud-based smart data discovery system and can be easily learned and used by students anytime and anywhere, the competition serves as a catalyst, encouraging the adoption of the tool amongst academia and students,’ Dr Yeoh says.  

The inaugural competition covers environmental issues and the main challenge for contestants is to apply Watson Analytics to develop innovative analytics solutions, visualisations and predictive models in relation to this topic.

Dr Yeoh says that the competition is an invaluable opportunity for Deakin’s business analytics students to showcase their contemporary analytics knowledge and hands-on skills.

‘Deakin’s business analytics programs have been developed in partnership with industry and have a strong practical focus. The IBM sponsorship for the competition implicitly recognises Deakin’s analytics curriculum and our academics’ contributions towards analytics education.

‘Our students are already well-renowned for possessing a competitive edge in the workforce,’ he says.

The demand for analytics skills and qualifications remains strong. Dr Yeoh says that analytics graduates have a wide range of career options, including positions in business intelligence, business analytics, data science, consumer analytics, marketing research, financial and credit risk management, stock market analysis, portfolio management and more.

‘With the proliferation of big data, analytics industry will grow in exponential proportions,’ he says.