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Data Scientists Required for Malaysian Development

The data scientists would be able to analyze the data and help meet the needs of the global community in various fields

Source : OnIslam & News Agencies / 08 Nov 2013

Malaysia has to produce many data scientists to drive its effort to become a data management centre so as to pioneer new economic opportunities on a global scale, Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said.

He said it was the desire of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to see Malaysia not only as a consumer in the information technology sector but also as a major player in IT development.

"Education must also be geared towards that direction. Hitherto, we have sent our children to become engineers, chemists and aeronautical engineers.

"There has been no plan on a large scale as yet to send our students to become data scientists. We have to do that," he said in an interview with Bernama here.

Ahmad Shabery said the major players in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, in the United States require about 200,000 data scientists and Malaysia also had to seriously produce many data scientists in order to become a global data management centre.

Ahmad Shabery said data science was a new field but with collaboration between the education and other relevant ministries, the effort to produce data scientists would bear fruit.

He said data management was a new prospect that had to be given serious attention in the global industry of today. Malaysia had great potential to become a data management center as the country had the unique advantage of space, infrastructure and incentives from the government, he said.

Ahmad Shabery said certain countries faced restraints in data storage and management, but Malaysia's existing capabilities were conducive for it to become a data management centre.

"The space for data storage is usually as large as five soccer fields. Singapore, for example, does not have such space. In Japan, much of their stored data is destroyed by earthquakes and huge floods.

So, they are looking for space to store data, and Malaysia is seen as the choice for a data management centre," he said.

Ahmad Shabery said that during the recent visit to the Silicon Valley in San Francisco and when chairing the meeting of the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC), Najib emphasized the importance of continuous efforts to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by enhancing its capabilities in science and innovation.

He said the work culture in the Silicon Valley encompassed not only 'hardware' but also 'software', that is the cultural aspect of how things can be combined as well as establishing interpersonal relationships with the IT community, investors and the scientific community in America.

"All data that we use on Internet, Google, YouTube, GPS, WhatsApp and so on are stored, analyzed and have a value of their own," he said, adding that it was this data, known as the 'big data', that was analyzed to create new economic opportunities.

"I was made to understand that they spend between US$200 billion and US$300 billion on the 'big data' program; it is similar in the United Kingdom, Australia and other developed countries.

"If Malaysia wants to lead and be a major player, then we must prepare this 'big data'," he said.

Ahmad Shabery said the data scientists would be able to analyze the data and help meet the needs of the global community in various fields, encompassing education, medicine, social and so on.

He said that while accompanying Najib on the Silicon Valley visit, he learned that the success of many entrepreneurs there resulted from their being able to analyze data and apply it in global products and services.

"Young people in their 20s have become billionaires, such as the founders of Facebook and Twitter for example, and daily they come up with new ideas from the available data," he said.

Malaysia, he said, should see the importance of data scientists in the effort to transform the country in the present era of global development.


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