Solving the Data Scientist Dilemma

In the big data era, smart universities expand their offerings to meet the future.

GUEST COLUMN | by Simon Arkell

CREDIT Predixion SoftwareIn this era of Big Data, companies recognize the use of predictive analytics as the next defining tech wave that will fundamentally change the way businesses predict outcomes and provide services to customers. The demand is so great that even if every college were to graduate nothing but data scientists over the next few years, there would still be a shortage of professionals with analytic skills.

Consider these stats: 90% of all the data in the world has been created over the last two years and 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day by all of us, and even machines are constantly producing and releasing data – social media posts, digital pictures and videos, servers, sensors, web feeds, our phone GPS, even converting old analog files from past eras into digital data.

By 2018 the U.S. will experience a shortage of some 190,000 skilled data scientists and 1.5 million managers and analysts.

The list is endless as is the demand for data scientists. According to a recent report from McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), by 2018 the U.S. will experience a shortage of some 190,000 skilled data scientists and 1.5 million managers and analysts capable of understanding and implementing actionable decision-making based on Big Data insights.

But big data does not necessarily mean a “Big Deal” unless it is captured, analyzed and actually used.  And by use, it must be transformed into insightful connections or discoveries that are not possible for the average brain alone. It is the use of predictive analytics that provides the door to enable data insights with technology that will directly impact real-world decision making across an entire organization and across all market sectors – healthcare, business, government, education – and ultimately, all of our lives.

It is because of this known and projected shortage that colleges and universities are adding and expanding their offerings in data science and even experimenting with new approaches. The field of data science is emerging and attracting individuals across a variety of academic disciplines including statistics, business, and social science.

The government has also recognized this as a critical need for the U.S. economy and late last year announced a $37.8 million dollar project to help academia develop educational programs to catch up with the demand.

While these types of creative and new tactics are needed, they still won’t be enough to fill the projected shortage in data scientists and analysts. Still, what is needed is innovation in technology that allows a larger pool of business users to engage in data-science activities previously limited to a highly educated few.

To help colleges provide a real-life experience to students, Predixion Software has established Predixion in the Classroom or the PIC program to provide universities and colleges with unlimited and free access to predictive analytics software, training materials, labs, and other courseware for educational purposes.

Predixion in the Classroom allows students to build predictive models and extract valuable insights from large data sets. Students and instructors are invited to use the software to explore their data and experiment with various models to gain data driven insight into specific questions or challenges in an academic environment.

Institutions such as the University of Washington, University of Western Michigan, St. Joseph University and the University of Maryland University College are already taking advantage of the program to prepare their students for a career in data analytics.

The program offers major benefits for both students who require practical expertise in predictive analysis, and for businesses that will be desperately seeking out the next generation of data scientists in the coming years.

Simon Arkell is the CEO of Predixion Software. The PIC program is open to any academic institution that offers courses in the data sciences including predictive analytics, data mining, decision management, statistics and related subject areas.  Getting started is quick and easy. Anyone interested should contact Jennifer Dodos at 949-373-4913 or

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  1. Great post, thanks for sharing. Data science is also impacting another area: education. Data-driven decision making is making a serious impact on the future of student achievement, especially with SLDS/P-20 initiatives. Data science can be applied to many domains of knowledge; in education, the ability to identify problem areas and link important data sets in order to make better decisions for the future of our students and teachers will be important.

    Linda Boudreau
    Data Ladder

    • One more thought: a unified comprehensive education data standard that ensures usability is key to the success of these programs. States need to take advantage of the data analysis that is being made available, turning education data into actionable information that can make an important difference in student achievement.

      Linda Boudreau

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