Data science has penetrated every sphere of the industry. No matter where you see – at airports, where it is used for route planning; warehouses, where it is used to optimize efficiency and productivity of workers; and manufacturing plants, where it is used to predict maintenance time for machines, data science is spreading like wildfire across the industry.
No doubt, the data science industry has seen phenomenal growth over the last decade. Data science is making a decision –making it easier and effective for organizations. What was once left to experimentation, is now left to number-led decision making. This safeguards organization against losses, or at least minimize losses during experimentation.
Indeed, data science has come as a boon for the industry. However, a shortage of data science talent is a conundrum the industry is still trying to solve. Data science talent development hasn’t kept up with the rate at which data science has grown. According to a Gramener report, the demand-supply gap between data science talent and jobs is so much that it can never be filled.
Bridging the demand-supply gap
To bridge the data science talent demand-supply gap, universities and colleges are now starting to offer bachelor’s and master’s program in data science and related fields like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing. Purdue University offers an MS in Business Analytics and Information Management.
The course equips students with SQL, Python, Minitab, and SAS. Similarly, New York University offers MS in data science with a concentration in machine learning, natural language processing, and more. These programs are offered by data science schools, which have been newly introduced by universities. Data science schools aim to meet the industry demand for data science professionals.
Further, governments like the U.S federal government offers subsidies for students to promote higher education studies among students that propagate data science studies.
Then there are data science initiatives like the World Data Science Initiative (WDSI) that work with universities and educational institutions to facilitate data science education. WDSI has committed over $300 million in the form of university grants to create a pool of abled data science talent. The initiative aims to work with universities worldwide to facilitate data science education.
As part of the initiative, WDSI offers:
1.Support to universities to set up Center of Excellence and promote data science research at universities
2.Assistance in setting up cloud-based virtual labs to offer start-of-the-art learning for data science learners. The lab offers learning resources for machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other related domains.
3. Educational institutions get the opportunity to get accreditation from global data science standards body, DASCA (Data Science Council of America )
4. The initiative covers 40-60% of the cost of knowledge, content, and accreditation, required to make institutions providers of global standard data science education, needed to build a pool of world-class data science professionals.
Global technology organizations such as Dell EMC, Cloudera, Microsoft, SAS, and more are involved in imparting data science education with online certifications. Similarly, Coursera, Edx, and Simplilearn are a few companies that offer vendor-neutral data science courses and certifications. The former ones offer platform-dependent courses. In the wake of the democratizing data science industry, vendor-neutral and platform-agnostic data science courses and certifications are better to build the next generation of data science professionals.
Data science is evolving fast. The shortage of talent is a major concern in the industry. To meet the demand-supply gap of data science talent, specialized education is necessary. Industry- academia partnerships will be instrumental in bridging the demand-supply gap of data science talent steadily, but we would initiatives like WDSI to meet demands as large as the current one.