Understanding the important role data plays in decision making and the widespread knowledge gap was a critical reason DAU subject matter experts developed the Data Analytics for DoD Managers credential (CENG 002), which is in the final stages of development and undergoing a stakeholder pilot through the end of FY20.
"As currently designed, the credential consists six courses," Pearson said. "Five of the courses focusing on the fundamentals of data analytics and how to lead data teams and projects are provided from our training partner Coursera and are taught by Johns Hopkins University and IBM. The final course is a DAU-authored course that takes what the students learned and talks about how data analytics is applied in our unique DoD acquisition environment. There is also a required capstone exercise where the student identifies an acquisition problem they think data analytics can solve and then proposes a project to solve it."
This hands-on approach to applying knowledge to problem solving is a key component of the DAU credential program, which provides highly focused blocks of training on a variety of credential-relevant topics before requiring students to demonstrate mastery of the credential.
"Although the credentials being developed are different, what they have in common is that the training is robust, DoD-focused, and relies on performance-based outcomes," DAU Course Development Manager Noel Bryson said. "The credentials represent different disciplines so they are different in length, audience and structure. Overall, they are structured with a number of 'requirements' that must be met for successful completion. For example, CENG 002 is using Coursera Courses (for foundational, commercial-based training on Data Analytics), as well as DAU- and DoD-focused Data Analytics training and a capstone assessment."
This concept is a new one for the workforce, but will be a critical piece of DAU's continued efforts to provide relevant and fast training that encourages career-long learning for the specific on-the-job topics acquisition professionals know they need.
"Credentials are an exciting new product for DAU and the workforce," Pearson added. "Unlike our DAWIA certification programs, they allow students to pursue narrower topics of their choosing and go into them at much greater depth. Data analytics is just an example of that."
The first DAU Credential, released in late FY19, was a digital engineering credential - Digital Engineering for DoD Consumers (CENG 001) - that served as a proof of concept for the credential program.
"The Digital Engineering Credential was the 'Pilot for the credentialing program' and the first one issued," DAU Engineering Learning Director John Snoderly said. "We are planning to evaluate other public or private sector training sources as alternative providers for portions of DAU credentials. It is important to keep in mind that DAU is developing credentials to complement, not compete with, commercial or other public credentials. We want to offer tailored learning that provides the DoD domain knowledge and quickly builds skills and performance in areas unique to the DoD acquisition environment."
And there is an emphasis on making this mastery quick. Credential developers often reiterate that these blocks of instruction must be able to deliver the right training when the workforce needs it.
"The Digital Engineering Credential (CENG 001) consisting of the CLE 84 module 'Models, Simulations, and Digital engineering' and Coursera MBSE is advertised to take 12 hours to complete," Snoderly said. "These two courses must be completed in order to receive the Digital Engineering Credential."
Pearson also pointed out that while the Data Analytics credential is expected to take 62 hours to complete, "our early results are showing it is taking much less than that."
"The goal of the credential is to teach DoD acquisition managers how to lead data analytics projects to solve acquisition challenges," he added. "The program has some rigor but when they complete it, the student will be well-prepared to get started."
Acquisition program managers and acquisition professionals seeking to better understand data analytics and apply the principles of data-driven decisions to their programs can begin taking CENG 002 - Data Analytics for DoD Managers - at the beginning of FY21.
Visit the DAU credential landing page to find out more about other DAU credentials currently available, including Digital Engineering, Services Acquisition, Cybersecurity and Program Protection.
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