Data is important to the success of organizations and businesses, and they need skilled IT employees to maintain and analyze it. Instructors and the dean of Bates’ Information Technology programs are taking initial steps to explore the possibility of offering a two-year degree to help supply IT professionals qualified to work in this field.

The group recently hosted six industry professionals to help the college explore developing a Data Analytics Associate in Applied Science degree. Representatives included Mary Kay Larson, senior application developer, City of Tacoma;data1 Jack Kelanic, information technology director, City of Tacoma; Evan Zhao, software developer, MultiCare Health System; Joseph Williams, director of economic development, Washington’s Department of Commerce; Michael Gray, assistant division manager-information management, Tacoma Public Utilities-Water Division; and Don Doman, Training Media.

During the all-day retreat facilitated by Dave Cunningham at the Advanced Technology Building at Central/Mohler Campus, the group explored the development of knowledge, skills, and aptitudes of a successful graduate of this program in a specifically-designed process called a DACUM, which stands for ‘Developing a Curriculum,’ created by Ohio State University.

“While the findings of a DACUM may be very pertinent in the short term, they should be updated frequently to ensure that instruction stays relevant,” said Cunningham. “Given the pace of change and technology development, it is not uncommon for professional-technical programs to become decoupled from the regional labor market and its opportunities,” he said.

data2The industry of business analytics is booming. A recent keyword search on yielded 22 jobs in the Tacoma area, with more than 1,600 jobs in a 30-mile radius. A data analytics job title yielded 42 results within our area, with Amazon posting more than 787 jobs alone.

Williams noted, “Data analytics is driving job growth statewide as traditional companies embrace big data as a means to unlock new business opportunities.”

[pullquote style=”left”]Data analytics is driving job growth statewide as traditional companies embrace big data as a means to unlock new business opportunities.[/pullquote]

According to Dean of Instruction at Central/Mohler Campus Josh Clearman, the outcome of this degree is for a graduate to walk off the stage and step confidently into a career.

“We are grateful that these high-powered professionals could spend the day with us and volunteer their expertise and passion for the field,” said Clearman.