The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cloud Computing for Big Data is an innovative and highly prestigious programme, offering around 11 students per year the opportunity to study for a PhD in an exciting, new area in which there is an acute skills shortage. Cloud computing offers the ability to acquire vast, scalable computing resources on-demand. It is revolutionising the way in which data is stored and analysed. The dynamic, scalable approach to analysis offered by cloud computing has become important due to the growth of “big data”: the very large, often complex, datasets now being created in almost all fields of activity, from healthcare to e-commerce. Unfortunately, due to a lack of expertise, the full potential of cloud computing for extracting knowledge from big data has rarely been achieved outside a few large companies; as a result, many organisations fail to realize their potential to be transformed through extracting more value from the data available to them. UK industry faces a huge skills gap in this area as the demand for big data staff has risen exponentially over the past five years from 400 advertised vacancies in 2007 to almost 4,000 in 2012. In addition, the demand for big data skills will continue to outpace the demand for standard IT skills, with big data vacancies forecast to increase by around 18% per annum in comparison with 2.5% for IT. Over the next five years this equates to a 92% rise in the demand for big data skills with around 132K new jobs being created in the UK (e-skills UK, Jan 2013).
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