Kazakhstan: Big Data skills for big ambitions

“What we have learned here, you will not find on the internet – such courses quite simply do not exist online,” says Big Data School student Aisha Amrekulova. Aisha, an analyst at Deloitte, says that her experience at the school – in particular the practical exercises – have given her budding big data career aspirations a tremendous boost. 

In fact, tech-savvy young professionals like Aisha have an important role to play in Kazakhstan’s economy. Because while on the one hand the country hopes to tap into the digital economy as part of its development strategy, on the other, educational and vocational institutions lack the resources and expertise needed to fulfil those aspirations.

What we have learned here, you will not find on the internet – such courses quite simply do not exist online.

Aisha Amrekulova,
Big Data School student

Launched by VEON operating company Beeline Kazakhstan, Big Data School fills that gap. Available each year to 200 students from reputable universities or with appropriate work experience, the school offers courses, taught by Beeline Kazakhstan staff, in programs such as Apache Spark, Hadoop, Scala, NiFi and NoSQL. It also enables students to work with real (anonymized) data from Beeline Kazakhstan’s own business. The most promising students enjoy free tuition, while three of the most successful graduates are awarded work placement opportunities at sister operating company Beeline Russia.

In this way, students gain highly sought-after vocational experience, while Beeline Kazakhstan secures access to potential new employees with skills that are still lacking in the market. This multi-dimensional approach means the programme supports three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: 4 (Quality Education); 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth); and 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).

Beeline Kazakhstan’s Big Data School Founder Ekaterina Linkevich describes it as a win-win situation. “There is a lack of resources in Kazakhstan, especially in the field of big data. As a company working in this sphere, we had difficulty staffing our teams. We decided that in order to develop the market and fill our own vacancies, we needed to train people ourselves.”

Meanwhile, for Aisha, and others like her, it is the springboard they need to both realise their ambitions, and play a leading role in their country’s future progress.