With data, experience wins over qualifications

data experience
Image credit: Nestor Rizhniak | shutterstock.com

A recent survey (reported on here) overturns conventional wisdom on the job market, at least when it comes to data.

Some years ago you would have found it difficult to find a job in a corner shop without a very good degree. Now, in the world of data, if you have real life experience of working with it, manipulating it and using it, you are more valuable than the guy next to you with the loafers and a degree from a grand University.

To bear this out, data literate companies are worth more than ones that lag behind. According to the survey, carried out on behalf of the Data Literacy Project, large enterprises that are more data literate are worth between 3 and 5% more than those that are less so. This equates to around $400 million in increased value, just among the companies surveyed.

According to the summary:

Most businesses (63% globally and 57% in APAC) are actively looking for candidates in all parts of their organization that can demonstrate their ability to use, work with and analyze data – presenting a good opportunity for those who can demonstrate these valuable skills.

There is an anomaly however. Even though the majority of people and companies surveyed said that data experience was very important, only 50% of the companies surveyed said they provide data literacy programmes.

This means, if you really want to get ahead, you need to find ways of ‘upskilling’ yourself.

This trend, a swing away from the requirement for a degree to actual experience, makes complete sense in a world where data has suddenly become hugely valuable.

Even though we and many others report negatively about data – breaches and abuse of privacy – the fact is that data, used sensibly, will change many things.

Correlating medical data, for example, is producing some astonishing breakthroughs. A recent example is that patients who have been treated for bladder complaints with a particular drug basically do not get Parkinson’s disease and if they have Parkinson’s then symptoms begin to disappear. This approach is producing results far quicker than the historical trial and error approach.

A recent article examining the future of retail concludes that the only way that bricks and mortar organisations can survive and thrive against their digital first competitors is by using data more effectively.

It seems that the evidence that suggests that AI (and all that) is going to take away all our jobs actually means that, like industrial and technical revolutions before, we need to reskill in data manipulation and AI.

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