Big data -- it's everywhere

We are now living in what is known as the Zettabyte era. What this means is the world’s collective data use is now so large it has to be measured in Zettabytes (a.k.a. trillions of gigabytes). More simply put, the amount of data being exchanged globally is too large to grasp, and moreover, its rate of growth is exponential.

 In practical terms, this means today’s businesses are flooded with vast amounts of data, known as “big data,” on a daily basis. In order to structure, interpret, and create actionable insights from this big data, businesses require highly trained big data analysts, big data scientists, and data savvy business executives. In fact, demand for big data professionals is one of the fastest growing job markets in both Pennsylvania and the United States.

A statistics and data science degree from PennWest California offers the comprehensive, hands-on training and software skills needed for a successful career as a big data scientists, big data analysts, and other big data roles

Furthermore, PennWest California’s degree program has the added advantage of a partnership with SAS, which is one of the world’s leading providers of data software and services. Upon completing one of PennWest California’s SAS certificate programs, or our data science bachelor’s degree program, you’ll be eligible to pursue the credential of SAS Certified Big Data Professional.

What is big data?

Before you read about the many reasons to pursue a data scientist degree let’s stop for a moment to answer the burning question: What is big data, really?

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, big data is “an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools.”

Big data comes from a variety of places. According to IBM, here is the 2012 breakdown of where chief information officers (CIOs) at business are sourcing data;

Internal company big data:

  • 88% of CIOs use big data consisting of information about transactions.
  • 73% of CIOs use big data that is log data(the record of events in an operating system or other software). 
  • 57% of CIOs use big data that consists of emails.


External company big data:

  • 43% of CIOs use big data sourced from social media.
  • 38% of CIOs use big data that consists of audio recordings.
  • 34% of CIOs use big data that is made up of photos and videos.


A big component adding to these sources of big data is metadata, which is data that describes or gives information about other data. Metadata is one of the biggest areas of data science, and is usually broken down into the following categories:

  • Descriptive metadata: This is metadata that describes something to allow for easy data retrieval and identification. Descriptive metadata includes things like title, author, keywords, and abstracts..
  • Structural metadata:This type of metadata describes how pieces of information fit together, like the order of pages in a book.
  • Administrative metadata:This type of metadata consists of the details needed to manage information, such as creation dates, file types, permissions, ownership, and other archival information.

Read on to learn more about big data and PennWest California’s data science and statistics degree.

How is big data used?

Big data is used in almost every industry today. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, big data “is a business priority, given its ability to profoundly affect commerce in the globally integrated economy.”  Some examples of big data use include: 

  • Identifying and predicting trends. 
  • Monitoring social media and customer feedback.
  • Targeting potential customers.
  • Improving efficiency.
  • Screening and hiring job candidates.
  • Optimizing machinery.
  • Calculating risks.


When you pursue a data science degree or a statistics degree—or a combined statistics and data science degree, like the one offered at PennWest California—you’re career options will span nearly every imaginable sector of the economy.

Some of the top jobs for data scientists and data analysts today can be found in:

  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • Corporate
  • Consulting
  • Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals
  • Financial Services
  • Government

What big data skills will I learn at PennWest California?

As a data science and statistics major at PennWest California, you will gain hands on practice with the very software and concepts that are being used by top data scientists and data analysts today. What’s more, you’ll learn how to think like a data scientist.

Software and computer skills taught in PennWest California’s data science bachelor’s degree program includes:

  • Base SAS.
  • SAS Visual Analytics.
  • SAS with 
  • R software.
  • Python programming language.
  • Tableau

Big data analyst and big data science concept you’ll learn include:

  • Big Data Analytics
  • Big Data Tools
  • Database Application Development
  • Data Preparation and Cleaning
  • Data Visualization
  • Business Statistics

Learn more about PennWest California’s bachelor degree program in big data.

Are you ready to harness big data for your future career? Apply to PennWest California’s statistics and data science degree program today. 

Data Science students work in a classroom.

Data Science Advantages

Why PennWest California?

PennWest California’s data science programs partner with SAS to bring you the latest data science software skills and more.

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Data science degree can lead to solve future problems.

Data Science Defined

Statistics and data science degree program

What will you learn in PennWest California’s data science degree program? Learn about program details, software skills and more.

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Data science abstract.

Online SAS Certificate

Undergraduate SAS certificate program

Explore PennWest California’s certificate program that prepares you to become a SAS Certified Big Data Professional.

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Careers in Data Science

Job titles and salaries for data science majors

Learn about the wide-array of careers you can pursue with a degree or certificate in statistics and data science.

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