How Your Organisation Can Prepare for the Shortage of Data Science Professionals

May 17, 2019 | Reskill Your Workforce | 3 min read
How Your Organisation Can Prepare for the Dearth of Data Science Professionals

“Australia’s capacity to remain competitive in the digital economy is contingent upon its ability to harness the value of data. “ - Angus Taylor, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation

According to a recent Australian government report, by 2020, the volume of data in existence will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes. In other words, soon, we will have access to prodigious quantities of data, data that is becoming increasingly valuable and significant for businesses, the economy and government.

Aware that this colossal pool of information will need people equipped with the necessary skills and expertise to understand and analyse this invaluable resource, the Australian government is adopting a proactive strategy. It designed the Australian Public Services (APS) Data Skills and Capability Framework to improve government investment in technology and cultivate a workforce that possesses the data skills and capabilities necessary.

It’s a strategy that makes a lot of sense given that Deloitte forecasts a 2.4% annual growth in demand for data science professionals for the next few years. In actual figures, this means organisations will need to fill an additional almost 40,000 roles, a number that is not in line with the 1.5% overall annual growth for the Australian labour force over the same period. Furthermore, 76% of businesses say they are planning on increasing investment in analytics capabilities over the next two years. All of which means that talent with the required skills will be in high demand.

It is not just the government though that is taking steps to prepare for this skills shortage. Already several organisations recognise that one way to combat the skills shortages is to develop its employees. It’s the way forward. My colleague, Mike Hendrickson recently blogged about the shared urgent need that the rise of data’s role in business is creating and asked: “When faced with a skills gap in their teams and stiff competition in recruiting, how can organizations effectively build a data science team?”

Skillsoft’s Aspire Learning Journeys

As Mike explained in his blog, Skillsoft is delivering a solution to the problem of developing talent in an ever-changing skills market. As the World Economic Forum report on Skills Stability noted: “On average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.”

How are we doing this? Skillsoft used its Technology & Developer training content to develop a sequenced path of instruction that moves a learner towards an aspiration goal. For example, take the role of a data analyst and how someone can go from such a position to that of a data scientist.

The chart below shows how.

Data Analyst to Data Scientist Journey

The courses cover topics such as Python, R, architecture, and statistics so that by the end of the 90+ hour journey, the learner will have worked up to visualization, APIs, machine learning and deep learning algorithms. Along the way, there are plenty of assessments (more than 100 per track, and each journey has four tracks) and hands-on practice labs (done virtually on real equipment/applications) so each learner can demonstrate their knowledge and applicability of the material covered. At the end, users must pass a rigorous final exam and complete a capstone project to earn their credential.

Here’s a course sample:

The beauty of Skillsoft Aspire learning journeys is that they take the heavy lifting off the L&D team and the CTO, people tasked with addressing their organisation’s skills needs. The solution offers a comprehensive and holistic framework that slots easily into a company’s L&D efforts.

Rosie Cairnes is the Regional Director for Skillsoft Australia & New Zealand.