Roles for data scientists have risen in the UK by 32% in the first half of 2016, according to research.
A study by consultancy Procorre found the number of roles for data scientists in Europe also went up by 45% in the first half of the year.
Wiktor Podgorski, head of the relationship management team at Procorre, said the growing importance of sectors such as big data and an increase in data being collected by the internet of things (IoT) is making the data scientist role more important to fill.
Podgorski said: “The realisation of the power of data-driven strategies has spread from technology businesses to a much broader range of sectors. As a consequence, we have seen demand for consultants and contractors in key roles like data scientists sky-rocket, particularly in manufacturing and professional and financial services.”
The past few years have seen an increasing need for people with big data and other IT skills. The number of unfilled digital jobs in Europe is predicted to reach 756,000 by 2020.
However, industry has found that the number of people with the appropriate skills is not increasing in line with the growing demand for data experts.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) recently predicted that 182,000 new jobs in the UK in big data and the internet of things will be created by 2020, including roles such as data scientists, analysts, developers and engineers.
Currently the UK has more data scientists than other parts of Europe, but the rest of the continent is catching up. France saw a 59% increase in data science roles in the first six months of 2016.
Germany, Spain and the Netherlands also saw a rise, and Portugal topped the table with a 79% increase in the number of data scientists in the first half of 2016.
The number of industries collecting and using data to improve cost effectiveness, efficiency and customer service is increasing. However, busineses often struggle to know what to do with the large amounts of data involved.
Not only are companies aiming to recruit data scientists to solve this problem, but many are also training their current employees to spot and exploit data trends.
Data science and the curriculum
Although the new curriculum in the UK has been designed to introduce coding and computational thinking concepts, many believe that supercomputing and data analysis concepts should also be taught, addressing the need for data scientists sooner.
As companies collect and use more and more data, the government has had to take action to ensure the public’s data is being used safely. It plans to set up a council of data ethics to address the legal and ethical challenges of greater data usage.
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