Skip main navigation

The data science revolution

What is the data science revolution?

As you learned from the video, data science encompasses mining unstructured data, modelling and analysing structured data, and transforming it into usable information to help organisations impact change. It enables organisations to reveal relationships and dependencies within data or predict future outcomes and behaviours of a system.

Data science was first recognised as an independent discipline in a 2001 paper by William S. Cleveland and, by 2012, Harvard Business Review had crowned data science ‘the sexiest job of the 21st century’. [1] In the last decade, data science has quickly grown to become one of the fastest-growing professional fields.

The factors contributing to the rapid growth of this field and increased demand for data scientists include the:

  • emergence and ongoing evolution of big data, AI, cloud computing, and internet of things (IoT)
  • increasing quantity of data, especially unstructured data
  • introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on data mining
  • explosion of sources
  • increased complexity.

The field of data science will continue to evolve and expand. New possibilities are on the horizon with the integration of even more sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine-learning processes. This background and context make the data science career pathway more aspirational.

Next, let’s learn about what it takes to be a data scientist.


  1. Davenport TH, Patil DJ. Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century [Article]. Harvard Business Review; 2012 Oct. Available from:
This article is from the free online

Introduction to Data Science for Business

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now