SAS And HSBC Masters Course Aims To Plug Data Science Skills Gap

Data management and analytics firm SAS has partnered with HSBC and The Data Lab to create a Masters course in Data Science for Business at the University of Stirling in an effort to plug a growing skills gap.

Organisations are currently struggling to fill their data analytics needs due to a shortage of graduates with data science and Hadoop skills, a serious concern which this full-time course aims to solve.

It will provide students with an understanding of advanced analytics and its applications in business and will seek to develop students with a blend of data science, business acumen and management skills.

Data master

“Analytics is becoming more relevant to our everyday lives and there is high demand for data science skills across all sectors. We recognised that there are a lot of courses available that have a strong, technical IT component”, said Dr Kepa Mendibil, course leader, MSc in Data Science at the University of Stirling’s School of Management.

“However, there is a shortage of graduates emerging with the skills to apply the technical aspects of data science and use analytics to make sound business decisions. Through this course, we have focused on the practical challenges that organisations are experiencing by merging disciplines to develop a teaching programme that makes the link between business, management and data analytics.”

The course will cover fundamental areas such as statistical modelling, statistics and predictive analytics, with students given access to SAS educational material and the same licensed software used by businesses worldwide.

As well as the technical side, there will also be compulsory modules in strategic management and business consultancy and a consultancy project with an external organisation where they will tackle a critical business challenge.

“From 2013 to 2020, the big data workforce is expected to grow by around 346,000 according to our research with The Tech Partnership, with demand for these jobs rising by 160 per cent over the same period.

“A widening skills gap is set to continue into 2026 unless we provide significant investment in skills,” explained Laurie Miles, director of analytics for SAS UK & Ireland.

Skills gap

The big data and analytics skills gap has been a much-talked about issue within the industry. The growing demand for roles has continued to outpace the number of skilled people entering the workforce as more businesses have turned to analytics to drive strategic decision making.

Dropbox CTO Aditya Agarwal believes school education and a more vocational approach to training will be key to plugging such a gap, which is also plaguing other areas of technology such as cloud deployments.

And it’s something the government is actively addressing. It recently launched a Digital Skills Partnership where it will work with businesses and charities to develop tech skills and significant investment was included in last month’s Spring Budget.

Quiz: The world of big data analytics

Sam Pudwell

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

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