Gaurang Torvekar, CEO and co-founder of Indorse, explains why data scientists will be crucial to living and working after Covid-19.
As the world adapts to what life looks like in the Covid-19 era, thoughts are increasingly turning to what comes next.
There is a sense that lockdowns are lifting and restrictions are being removed, in part to help stimulate economies. Despite these efforts and the support of governments globally, many are predicting a global downturn with recessions that could dwarf 2008’s financial crisis.
It is an uncertain time for both businesses and individuals. Whether on furlough or still working, people are watching as whole sectors are completely upended, and careers with them – years of working seemingly disappearing in the blink of an eye.
Yet while the outlook for those in the likes of hospitality and retail is understandably bleak, there are some roles that look set to be in high demand.
Preparing for a digital world
One aspect that Covid-19 has accelerated is digital transformation. Enterprises that were once reticent to fully commit to full digitalisation of their operations have had to move rapidly to remain operational during the pandemic. This meant that in the hours and days after lockdowns were introduced, they made do with what their resources could deliver.
As those days continue to turn into weeks and months, the decisions made in the early stages of the pandemic need to be solidified. Proper digital processes and new ways of working will need to be integrated effectively.
That requires investment, but simply throwing money at it will not deliver the sustainable change required. To be successful, it needs to be backed with the right talent and skills to implement technologies appropriately and effect true cultural change across the organisation.
The in-demand skills for a post-Covid world
Will enterprises have those skills to hand? In some instances, possibly. It is likely there will be significant demand for cybersecurity experts, as digitalised operations increase organisations’ surface area for potential attack.
There will also be further need for artificial intelligence and machine learning engineers. These technologies will help make full use of the data that digitalisation generates, creating and running programmes that can help speed up processes faster than any human worker.
However, there are other areas that may not have been on the radar of many organisations until now. For example, Go has become a popular language in recent times, being deployed by major e-commerce companies and other on-demand businesses that need to serve real-time requests. Incredibly easy to use, it is the perfect language for those who are new to coding and has a fast compilation speed.
This is critical for organisations that may not have previously been focused on e-commerce, such as hospitality brands, but are now adapting to be able to deploy new business models that incorporate social distancing and the potential spectre of future lockdowns.
It is equally applicable to those with established e-commerce operations that have seen a huge spike in customers and need to offer new experiences and services.
‘Digital transformation generates data. That demands employees with the ability to handle it appropriately’
However, across all organisations, there is likely to be one role that will continue to be hugely in demand: data scientists.
One UK study suggests that in five years, demand has tripled for data scientists and engineers. Why?
Digital transformation generates data and is still as viewed as gold by many enterprises. That demands employees with the ability to handle it appropriately, producing results and predictive models that help businesses make insightful decisions backed by data.
Building a talent pipeline
So, where will this talent come from? There is no one pool from which enterprises can draw the latest skills. They need to be investing in their teams, in their recruitment processes and in their cultures to attract the right talent to meet the demands of whatever ‘normal’ looks like post-pandemic.
They also need to be looking at existing talent and how it can be upskilled through tailored initiatives to meet both the needs of the business and the knowledge bases of employees.
For workers, there is an opportunity to develop skills uniquely suited to the roles needed by organisations going through transformations. Identifying how existing experiences can translate to new roles and being clear on how aptitude can support the development of new skills can help a generation of job hunters build new careers.
The economy is going to lose some job types. That has always been the case and, sadly, the pandemic may accelerate their demise. But what grows in their place is still going to demand talent, and therein lies the opportunity for both businesses and individuals to create meaningful careers.
There is still much that is uncertain. Nobody fully knows what the post-Covid world will look like. However, by assessing what enterprises have done to keep customers and staff safe while ensuring operational continuity, it is possible to predict what roles are going to be in demand.
With so many sectors in flux, ensuring a talent pipeline with the right skills is going to be vital for a post-Covid recovery.
Gaurang Torvekar is CEO and co-founder of Indorse, a decentralised professional network that is his second company in the blockchain space.