ICON’s Big Data Challenge


On July 19th, the Big Data Challenge kicked off. This is the result of a partnership between ICON, a leading Maltese technology firm, and the University of Malta’s Faculty of Mathematics. This challenge gives students the opportunity to experience of analysing multi-structured data and transform complex data into helpful business insights.

Participating students will be supervised by ICON’s team, who will guide them along the way. Students will be provided with 8 years of anonymised sales data, which adds up to a staggering 15 million records. Using this wealth of resources, the intrepid challengers must then change this data into valuable information that would be useful to entrepreneurship, while also taking note of key trends such as seasonality, demographic changes, the impact of international news headlines on sales and much more.

This exciting opportunity allows students to experience the real-world process of analysing data and working with an enterprise closely, offering valuable experience of working in the digital industry. It’s also a very sweet addition to any CV.

Not only that, but the challenge is very teamwork focused. Students will be working in groups, developing their collaboration skills and making friends. They will be helped by data analysts and technology mentors from ICON.

The choice of Big Data as a theme of this challenge couldn’t be more relevant. One of the big problems facing many companies is that they are inundated with unconverted data, and it is often spread too far across different units of the company to yield any cohesive insights. Changing data into understandable information helps a company to see ahead and be agile.

Dr. George Gatt, the director of ICON, says “I firmly believe that today’s complex, fast-changing business challenges require an interdisciplinary approach and ICON is more than glad to bring on young computer scientists, mathematicians and statistical researchers from the University of Malta to look into real-world business problems.

“This approach allows us to offer exciting opportunities to students as well as place emphasis on innovation and the role that out-of-the-box thinking has to play in reshaping existing problems. We strive to attract the best and strongest students to our company to create a vibrant intellectual environment in which our team can flourish and our customers may benefit from foresight and thinking skills which have a positive impact on business results. We are delighted to be collaborating once again with the University of Malta on this project.”