The STEM Talent Shortage: Big data

HIGHLIGHTS

In our STEM Talent Shortage series, we examine four industries impacted by a lack of available workers in STEM fields.

Data is big, and it’s getting bigger. According to CyberCoders, the digital universe will amass 45 trillion gigabytes of data by the end of the decade, which is a 50-fold growth since 2010. As the field of data science expands in significance and output, mathematicians who are relied upon to generate algorithms injected into software programs, mobile apps and other tech-enabled systems are markedly scarce. And that’s a problem, as organizations also increasingly rely on insights culled from big data to steer business decisions.

No shortage of data
Crowd Flower’s 2016 Data Science Report revealed that 83 percent of respondents said there weren’t enough data scientists to go around. That’s a four-point increase from the previous year.

“I think we have a short-term misalignment of what academia can provide to the marketplace and what the marketplace is demanding,” Jennifer Priestley, a Kennesaw State University professor, told Datanami in March.

Education is trying to catch up
There are about a dozen of Ph.D.-level data science programs offered at universities across the country, many created after the need of data scientists was publicized in a 2012 Harvard Business Review article, Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.

While the U.S. education system tries to meets its economic demands, foreign governments are investing in STEM education and are producing large quantities of graduates in those fields. It follows that U.S. organizations focused on gaining or keeping their edge must look abroad to remain competitive today.

One route, that’s proven successful for employers of all sizes is incorporating foreign workers into talent acquisition strategies. Learn more about how global workers help companies overcome talent shortages in the white paper, Skills Gap to Skills Surge: How foreign workers fuel talent pipelines.