Tech Jobs – Analytics is a potential jobs growth driver

1 Jun 2011

Ireland could be a future draw for analytical market leaders, creating thousands of jobs, but first we must address our skill gaps in the area, says the Analytics Institute.

There are at least 400 jobs available now in data management and mining in Ireland among the membership of the Analytics Institute, but the right candidates are not available to fill the roles due to a shortage of skills. To address this problem, the institute started a series of seminars on 9 May.

“There’s potential for thousands of jobs in Ireland if we can provide enough of the key ingredient – skills. Ireland needs to become a data-friendly location, attracting the analytical market leaders to base here. Creating high-calibre, well-trained analytics graduates and a vibrant analytics community is instrumental in achieving this,” said Kevin Magee, CEO of the Analytics Institute, which was set up around a year ago and now has 10 organisational members.

“Education has to take place on a variety of fronts. But the problem is, third-level education is medium to long term, so the immediate needs won’t be met for at least two years. We need to step in and take action and that is what we are doing by introducing the first in a series of seminars and workshops tackling the immediate refinement of existing professional skills.”

The skills shortage is not unique to Ireland but Magee said Ireland has an opportunity to harness analytics both within its business landscape and as a national agenda item.

“Analytics is really about getting insights from data. As the surge of data threatens to overwhelm companies, it can help glean valuable information to make ‘evidence-based decision-making’ – this removes the ‘gut feeling’ about decisions, making the decision process clearer.

“Whether you want to know the best place to locate a hospital, how to make your organisation more sustainable, identify areas of high risk, reduce error or highlight fraud, analytics will help you do that.”

Working with the universities to improve the output from third level, the Analytics Institute last year introduced an intern programme between University College Dublin and public and private sector organisations, which proved so valuable it was extended this year, according to Magee.

“The students gain real experience on real projects, and the organisations benefit from being able to later hire somewhat more experienced graduates, familiar with the tools and technologies.”

Later this year, the Analytics Institute will be introducing a continuing professional development and accreditation programme. It says this is important because it means that in an increasingly transient world where workers move, their skills will have international recognition.

It also makes it easier for employers to identify the right skills to fit their industry and helps cement a defined career path for young professionals who are deciding what path to take, says the institute.

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