III to work with Microsoft in fostering local data science talents

The Institute for Information Industry, a state-backed research organization based in Taipei City, announced May 3 that it is working with Microsoft Corp. to launch the U.S. tech giant's Professional Program for Data Science in Taiwan.

Comprising 250 hours of online courses, the free program provides entry-level training in data science skills such as analysis, machine learning and programming. Participants are required to apply their knowledge in solving practical industry-related problems prior to earning a completion certificate.

III is working to develop a Chinese-language version of the program. The institute has already opened online enrollment and plans to promote the course by organizing campaigns and lectures at universities across the nation.

Taiwan is a worldwide leader in open data, as demonstrated by its first place ranking in the 2016 Global Open Data Index conducted by U.K.-headquartered nonprofit organization Open Knowledge International. The country faces a shortage of qualified data scientists who could apply the large data sets produced by government agencies in developing solutions to business and social challenges, according to the institute.

Lee Jinn-bao, head of the Digital Education Institute under III, said the training initiative can play an important role in boosting industrial upgrades and innovative growth in Taiwan through cultivating talents in related fields.

Graham Williams, director of Data Science for Asia Pacific at Microsoft, also emphasized the significance of data scientists in strengthening and accelerating industry decision-making processes. His company's program provides participants with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, such as business modeling and data visualization, necessary to succeed in this sector, he said.

Launched in 2016, the Professional Program for Data Science comprises three components: fundamentals, core data science and applied data science. Students must complete nine of 15 available courses as well as solve a final practical challenge.

Fundamentals provide trainees with basic skills such as data query algorithms and visualization, while core data science offers introductions to statistics as well as relevant programming languages. Principles of machine learning, a computer science discipline used for data mining and prediction, are also explored during the second component of the program.

In applied data science, participants utilize the programming skills they have acquired. They also have the option to expanding their knowledge in a number of areas like data analysis or machine learning.

Founded in 1979, III is tasked with boosting the competitiveness of Taiwan's information and communication technology industry and fostering the digital economy through such measures as promoting pioneering tech research, training industry talents and building the nation's ICT infrastructure.

Source: Taiwan Today