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Free data course at UCD to train thousands for the digital economy

20 Apr 2021

The SAS STEP programme, which will be delivered in partnership with UCD’s Professional Academy, aims to help professionals prepare for a job in the data industry.

A new programme launching today (20 April) promises to give thousands of people the in-demand data skills required for jobs in Ireland’s digital economy.

The Professional Academy at University College Dublin (UCD) is partnering with global analytics company SAS to provide the SAS STEP programme free of charge.

The programme will target jobseekers affected by the pandemic, in particular. UCD and SAS said it will offer them routes into employment while adding a “new source of data-fluent recruits to bridge industry skills gaps”. It also plans to partner with other organisations to secure employment opportunities for the programme’s graduates.

The course will take place online with a mixture of self-paced learning and live classes from lecturers at the Professional Academy, which has trained more than 5,500 students in the past year. It will have four learning pathways: foundational digital literacy and data analysis, which are both launching today, and data engineering and advanced data science, which will launch further down the line.

Each pathway will provide hands-on training through a tailored software portal, allowing users to practice data and analytical skills. There will also be resources available including coding challenges, guided case studies and mentoring.

“A key aspect of the programme is providing important skills that are in high demand, making candidates more employable,” said Roderick Crawford, SAS VP and country manager for Ireland and the UK.

“For some it may even offer a pathway to a lucrative and enduring career, as data analytics and AI are increasingly shaping the major decisions being taken in the world today. It is therefore our intention to place candidates into employment in as many cases as possible, both internally and across our extensive network of customers in search of these skills.”

SAS software is used at more than 83,000 business, government and university sites around the world.

Director of UCD’S Professional Academy, Aaron McKenna, said that retraining people for the new era of work is “easily said and often difficult to get to grips with”. The STEP programme, he added, is “practical and actionable” in light of the country’s current economic challenges but will also be essential to plugging the skills gap in data analytics in the years ahead.

Learn more about the SAS STEP programme here.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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