Partnering with technology giant IBM, Bluefield State College (BSC) is now offering training and certification in data science. BSC is among the first institutions of higher education in the world to provide students the opportunity to earn IBM badge certification, according to Dr. Bill Bennett, Computer Science Department Chair at Bluefield State.
“Through IBM’s involvement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, our students can access valuable resources, including free faculty training software, courseware, and guest lectures,” added Dr. Tamara Ferguson, Dean of the BSC School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences. “Our students can earn IBM training and badge certification in critically important fields like data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.”
“IBM gives us access to their cloud and their tools, including ‘Watson,’ the question-answering computer system that was featured on ‘Jeopardy,’ the popular television game show,” Bennett added.
Dr. Bennett taught initial IBM badge certification course at Bluefield State College. “Before I could teach the data science course, I had to take the course and pass an examination that measured my understanding of the curriculum,” he explained.
Bluefield State Digital Web Specialist Charles Harris was among the first students to complete the IBM training and receive certification. “The curriculum concentrated on data analysis—what the market is about. It dealt with how to analyze huge amounts of data, then how to manipulate, clean, process, and display the data and apply it for a specific purpose,” Harris said. “The principles of data science and data analytics are valuable in a wide range of applications.
The IBM badge certification program came to fruition because of strong support from Dr. Ted Lewis (BSC Provost), Tim McKenzie (BSC Director of Research and Sponsored Programs) and faculty members like Dr. Bennett and James Quesenberry, who have implemented the IBM training into their classes.