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Dynamics of data science skills

In May 2019, the Royal Society released an report on data science skills in the UK. This article reviews the report’s findings and provides you with pointers to uncover more detail from the report.

There is significant expertise in the UK data science sector, involving academia, industry and government. However, there is urgent need for people with data science skills to join the workforce.

The report argues that data science training should begin with school age learners. There should be broad coverage of data science across the curriculum, spanning maths, science, arts and humanities.

The current challenge for the UK is to reinforce and enhance its national leadership in data science, using education to grow the skills base.

Chapter three of the report is entitled ‘Developing foundational knowledge and skills’. It highlights that everyone should be learning basic data skills at school, which will require extensive support, training and resource development for teachers. The report outlines various mechanisms to achieve this widening access to data science education. These mechanisms include:

  • integrating data skills into the existing curriculum
  • apprenticeships to develop practical data skills
  • outreach programmes for young people

Please check out the Royal Society report for yourself; in particular read pages 47-53 (Chapter 3) and the Executive Summary (pages 6-7). What do you think of the proposed mechanisms for improving data science education? Are they likely to be effective? Have you seen any of them in practice yet?

If you live outside the UK, is data science currently taught in schools in your country? Please share your experience in the comments section.

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This article is from the free online course:

Getting Started with Teaching Data Science in Schools

The University of Glasgow