Now that that song is stuck in your head, let’s understand why analytics careers are so HOT. First, a few years ago you may recall the Harvard Business Review article by Thomas Davenport, Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century. Then there was a recent McKinsey study that predicts by 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions. So, it no wonder that in LinkedIn’s recent article The 25 Hottest Skills That Got People Hired in 2014, statistical analysis and data mining was #1 on the list.
So, it is a great time for statisticians and data scientists who have that deep analytical knowledge to analyze big data. As these skills are HOT, organizations that need analytical talent are paying to get that talent pool. Looking at Glassdoor, average salaries for statisticians are $75K and data scientists are $118K. Now the bigger question, how to find this analytical talent and in particular data scientists? A fellow SAS blogger, Polly Mitchell-Guthrie, shares 10 tips on doing just that in her blogs, Missing unicorns - 10 tips on finding data scientists.
Universities have started to fill the need by creating masters programs to fill the skills gap and SAS has helped. Let me tell you about a few. In 2002, University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce became one of the first business schools to offer an analytics specialization. Recently, they have set up a new Business Analytics Lab. In the Lab, they are tackling real-world business challenges and students are gaining highly marketable analytical skills using the latest SAS® data visualization technologies. In the fall of 2013, LSU graduated its first class in its new Master of Science in Analytics degree with nearly all of the 16 students receiving job offers before graduation and averaging two job offers per student. Another such program is North Carolina State University with their Master of Science in Analytics program. According to their infographic on the program, students have had 90 percent job placement by graduation for seven consecutive years since 2007.
As the leader in the advanced analytics market, at SAS we are also doing our part. Last year we announced SAS Analytics U, a comprehensive global program that offers professors, students, academic researchers and independent learners access to free SAS software; helpful resources to install, learn and use SAS; free online classes; and an interactive, online SAS Analytics U Community.
SAS hopes to equip students and learners of all ages with the analytic skills highly sought by today’s employers. By making SAS software and resources available for free globally, we hope to seed the market with analytical talent. We want to make SAS readily available to professors, instructors, students and researchers in an academic setting so students can attain the skills needed to graduate and have a career in an analytical field. We also want to help independent learners who are not in an academic setting but who want to learn SAS to attain skills for their current job or to find new employment. Lastly, we want to assist our own customers in defining their organization’s talent management strategy for finding and hiring analytical talent.
So, whether you are a student, professor, independent leaner, or organization there are lots of options and opportunities for getting involved in analytics. What pathway will you take?