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Friday, October 02, 2015

Big Data has a degree problem by Meris Stansbury

Follow on Twitter as @eSN_Meris
"NCES reveals that the growing data science field can pull from an incredible number of statistics majors, but it’s still not enough." reports

Photo: Campus News

Delving into newly released data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) “Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Completions Survey and NSF/NCSES: Survey of Earned Doctorates,” the information shows that bachelor’s degrees in statistics grew 17 percent from 2013 to 2014, marking 15 consecutive years the number of undergrads in statistics has risen.

For comparison, while the number of undergraduates earning statistics degrees has increased by more than 300 percent since the 1990s, the number of undergrads earning science and engineering degrees grew by 72 percent over the same period.

Copyright: ASA
Yet, notes the American Statistical Association (ASA), which analyzed the NCES data, the demand for statisticians, especially in the field of data science and management, is likely to outpace this growth.
According to ASA’s research within the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) data, total employment for statisticians has grown from 28,000 positions in 2010 to 85,000 in 2014. Also, BLS projects job growth for statisticians will increase 27 percent between 2012 and 2022, outpacing the projected 11 percent rate for all other occupations.

In an ASA press release, the organization states that while these figures may be conservative because they do not include the many jobs that require substantial expertise in statistics (data scientist, market research analyst, etc.), the number of graduates in statistics each year—approximately 2,000 bachelor’s degrees, 3,000 master’s degrees and 575 doctorate degrees—seems unlikely to match this demand.

“We’re entering an era of tremendous growth in the profession of statistics that is not unlike the growth of computing professionals in the 1960s and 1970s,” explained ASA President David R. Morganstein in a statement. “At that time, software engineers and programmers were still relatively rare, but grew quickly and steadily as computing became something every large company needed to remain competitive. We’re seeing a similar trajectory in statistics. Advances in computing, technology and Big Data continue to raise the demand for statisticians.”

In a 2011 report, notes the ASA, McKinsey Global Institute said a “significant constraint on realizing value from Big Data will be a shortage of talent, particularly of people with deep expertise in statistics and machine learning,” and predicted a potential shortage in the U.S. of 140,000 to 190,000 workers with deep analytical skills by the year 2018. It also warned of an additional shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts who can use the analytical output of Big Data for decision-making.

Source: eCampus News

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