Wharton and WorkingNation Discuss Closing the Data Analytics Gap
What’s the next step for employers and educators who want to move the data analytics field forward? That’s the question that top industry leaders and educators discussed during a Wharton School town hall titled, “The Future is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap.”
Put together by the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) and nonprofit WorkingNation, the event kicked off with a keynote address by LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue. He spoke about why it’s so important to fill the analytics skills gap before handing off the talk to further panelists from Comcast, PwC, the Gates Foundation, Penn Health, Morgan Stanley, and more. In the end, they all came to the same conclusion; data analytics job opportunities will continue to grow, so the need for data analytics skills will increase in proportion.
However, opening up data analytics positions to a broader range of backgrounds is only the first step. There’s also a need to close the gender gap and to enrich data analytics education, which means building it into core curricula as early as possible. Melanie Harris, the Chief Information Officer of the Philadelphia School District, spoke about the K-8 digital literacy program, and how it’s introducing the gamification of coding by the second grade.
But what needs to be at the forefront of all this change is employers hiring people based on skills over pedigree. According to Jake Schwartz, the Co-Founder and CEO of General Assembly, “I think in the future, we’re going to find really creative ways of putting together talent needs with potential alternative pools of talent, and figuring out how to use education as a bridge to get people [where] they want to be and where the companies really need them.”