Unless we resolve the data skills gap, the UK technology industry will fail
We are quickly reaching crisis point with regards to digital and data skills in the UK and around the world. EU research shows that 90% of jobs already require digital skills and it is estimated that there will be 500,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT professionals by 2020. The UK government is placing our tech leaders front and center but without the staff to fill those roles, we will struggle on the global stage.
Industry research continues to indicate that this is not limited to the UK as a recent LinkedIn Workforce Report reported an estimated shortage of 151.7K data science professionals in the U.S. alone. Gartner predicts that, “by 2019, citizen data scientists will surpass data scientists in terms of the amount of advanced analysis they produce.” Any organisation has the capability to complement data scientists with sophisticated analytical tasks, if empowered with the right training, technology and tools. And initiatives such as those founded by Alteryx, Kubrick Group and Udacity are helping companies to achieve that.
Kubrick, a data consultancy, disrupting the traditional consulting model, creates outstanding data engineers, analysts, scientists and governance specialists. The company’s mission is to create the next generation of data specialists, leveraging the Alteryx platform in their custom data labs to equip top junior professionals with the latest skills. On completion of the in-house training program, graduates are matched with leading companies and organisations that are in need of talent.
“The next generation of data scientists and analysts are millennials and we believe this digital generation is the solution to the data engineering shortage and rising IT and data compliance challenges,” said Simon Walker, managing partner at Kubrick Group. “Our junior professionals’ need strong STEM, problem-solving and communication skills so we can unlock both their individual potential and the business potential for the client they are placed with.”
e-learning platform, Udacity, is addressing the challenge by creating robust courses in data science and analytics, designed to empower motivated professionals to advance their data skills quickly. Together, Alteryx and Udacity offer a nanodegree program in Predictive Analytics for Business, creating an alternative and complementary outlet for professional development to traditional higher education. The program has enrolled more than 7,300 students since its inception with more than 500 graduates in 2018 alone. Alteryx Academy also offers an expansive inventory of free, interactive lessons via the Alteryx Community, which provide both new and experienced Alteryx users with the training they need to advance their careers.
Finally, Alteryx supports higher education institutions, such as University of California, Irvine; University of Oregon, University of Colorado Boulder and Utica via the Alteryx for Good university program, which enables professors and instructors to incorporate data science and analytics into curriculum and classroom projects. With Alteryx, educators can craft lesson plans that engage students in predictive, statistical and spatial analytics, preparing them to solve real-world business issues and giving them a competitive edge post-graduation.
“There is a market imperative to provide the necessary tools, training and support to develop the next generation of data workers and in doing this, we need to prioritize developing human talent in tandem with advanced technology systems,” said Dean Stoecker, CEO of Alteryx. “Industry and academia have a joint responsibility to prepare the future workforce to scale with the ever-expanding data challenges that arise with the advancement of technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.”