• Ton Bongers

Upskilling 2021, Trend 3

by Shelley Osborne, Author of The Upskilling Imperative

Data literacy is the new computer literacy

“Good with numbers? Fascinated by data? The sound you hear is opportunity knocking.” That was the promise of a 2012 New York Times Sunday Review article based on research published by McKinsey a year earlier.

Eight years later the hype of “big data” has faded. Businesses are inundated with even more proprietary data and very few know how to unlock its potential. But increased consumption of data analysis, data manipulation, and data visualization skills tells us that data science isn't just for data scientists anymore.

Business intelligence and data analysis

Let's make one thing clear: Product managers and customer experience managers aren't mastering inferential statistics or building regression models. Instead, they're using basic programming and familiar tools to mine data insights.

Data visualization software skills

Data literacy has become important for almost everyone. But those who can interpret data, draw insights, and also communicate those insights to stakeholders will be invaluable to their organization. Consumption of data visualization skills demonstrates that people are learning to leverage advanced data visualization platforms — or use tools readily available to them, like Excel.

What does this mean for your organization?

“Clear understanding of dashboards, visualizations, and analysis will soon become a default skill set required of any office worker,” says Pierian Data Head of Data Science and Udemy data science instructor Jose Portilla, who compares the trend to the moment when basic computer skills became a necessity for workers of past generations.

This trend is also beneficial to data science teams. Workforces with strong data skills across all departments in an organization are more “data self-sufficient” and therefore spend less time distracting data scientists from complex projects.

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