Modeling to Millennials

Modeling to Millennials

I recently taught a data modeling basics course to a group of college seniors getting ready to enter the workforce.  I was super excited to have the opportunity to explain the value of data models and data modeling concepts to this group, untainted by any project experience. However, with few exceptions, during the entire time I taught no one paid attention to me! While I was talking (about pretty exciting stuff too like normalization and abstraction!), attendees browsed the Internet, chatted with FaceBook friends, and checked personal email.  I am not sure how much modeling this group actually learned during the class. I did some research trying to determine what caused the lack of interest, and one idea that occurred to me is that the latest group to enter the workforce may question the value of data management. Sure there is big data, data science, and other cool areas that deal with data, but maybe there is the belief that new technologies allow us to skip the data management step. Do I really need to know the rules between Customer and Account if I am throwing everything into a MongoDB collection?, for example.

I learned from our most recently published book, Business unIntelligence, by Dr. Barry Devlin, that the Millennials are the most technologically advanced generation. They know the technologies, but as a gross generalization, do they value (and even more importantly understand) the data? I know many Millennials do value data management, but what about those recent college graduates just entering the workforce?

How do we teach the newest group to enter our workforce the value of data management and data modeling in particular? Any ideas?

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