New Challenge: Bringing IBM's Big Data University to Android

Contributing to IBM's Goal of Educating 1 million Data Scientists

Posted by Larry Boateng Asante on March 4, 2016


In Summer 2015, I joined Software Engineering Intern under the Analytics Platform team. We worked on data-centric software as solutions to related problems in emerging markets. I got the chance to go to an all-hands Big Data conference at IBM's Silicon Valley conference where I got to learn about big data - what it is and its role in the future of tech. Thankfully, I was also invited as one of the 50 participants (yay!) and a representative of IBM to the UN Millennial event at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Throughout these events and experiences, I got to learn more about IBM's goal with Big Data University and the company's dive into big data analytics.

What is Big Data University ?

Big Data University is an IBM initiative to educate and train the masses in data science and literacy. IBM partnered with the United Nations to help them achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that were adapted by all of the member states.The company's commitment to this partnership is to educate one million people on the Sustainable Development Goals and help UN achieve these goal by leveraging data analytics. This initiative is open to all and it is free! You should sign up! Throughout my internship, we were constantly reminded of the company's focus on Big Data and Analytics and the company's goal of educating 1 million data scientists through their initiative.

The Challenge

Big Data University has grown to serve about 350,000+ but it currently exists just on the Web platform. To reach a larger audience, it has to be available on the major mobile platforms. Considering that Android holds about 82% of the global smartphone OS (Source: International Data Corporation) , it was a no-brainer to implement the Android version of Big Data University. I am happy to say that I will be working on the initial version of the application! While I am grateful to be contributing to a mission I believe in - making an education a right, not a privilege - I am thrilled at the challenge of building the initial version of an Android application that will serve over 350,000 people. As a programmer, I think this will be a great opportunity to polish my skills, learn more about the Android platform and focus on building an application that will serve a large scale. Granted, there will be some obvious roadblocks but I am much more excited to see how I will solve these problems. I think I'm ready to brace the challenge!