The Bright Initiative X Manchester Metropolitan University – Kicking Off The Web Data Course

Bright Data’s The Bright Initiative kicked off its workshop with Manchester Metropolitan University’s RISE Programme on November 24, teaching the first of six classes that delve into different aspects of data as part of an established course for university credit.

This marks the first time the Initiative has taken an active part of a university course programme for credit; Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the UK’s largest universities, with 34K enrolled students.

Throughout the course, Bright Data experts will explore three specific topics that cover the rise of web data, bots and data, and the UK National Data Strategy. Each topic will be discussed in depth over two one-hour class sessions, the first providing an overview and assignment while the second reviews the assignment and holds a discussion.

The First Class  

The workshop’s first class, titled, ‘The unprecedented rise of web data and the many opportunities it presents’, was taught by Ariel Shulman, Senior Vice President at Bright Data. He provided an overview of the current major shifts and challenges in today’s data industry. Students gained insight based on the latest data into how these shifts are here to stay and the questions they raise.

He discussed with students the following questions:

  • What’s the hype with ‘big data’?
  • How big is ‘big data’?
  • Where does this data come from?
  • What is it used for?
  • What are the challenges in collecting it?
  • How does Bright Data fit in?

Shulman’s class focused on how living in a real-time economy requires mass amounts of real-time data. He cited a Burning Glass Technologies analysis commissioned by the Royal Society, which finds that Britain is currently facing ‘explosive demand’ for data science skills. The overall demand for data-driven professionals has tripled over the past five years, rising 231%.

Shulman also addressed the fact that when it comes to collecting data at mammoth scale, there are multiple benefits and challenges to consider. No matter the organisation, business, academic institute, or company, web-based data can provide a comprehensive up-to-the-minute or near-live view of any field with the utmost accuracy. He stressed that real-time, near-live data sets are essential. However, accessing them and ensuring that they are reliable can be a challenge, which Shulman raised with the students.

What’s Next?

Part 2 of this class session is scheduled for Nov 30. In December, the next four class sessions will look at the following two topics: ‘Bots & data – how do you define legitimate bot traffic? and then ‘The UK National Data Strategy (NDS) – challenges and groundbreaking ideas – where do we stand today?’

This workshop with Manchester Metropolitan University’s RISE Programme is part of The Bright Initiative’s effort to help meet the increasing need and demand for public web data – and for professionals with the data science skills to take advantage of this resource.

The Bright Initiative, a separate organization from Bright Data that uses web data to make a positive impact on the world, works with over 300 organisations – among them are 8 out of the 10 leading universities in the world and over 100 universities globally.