The Data Lab has launched its CPD (continuing professional development) and Training Programme for 2017, offering courses ranging from data visualisation to statistics. The course will aim to support local industry and ensure that staff have the relevant skills to apply data science in their workplace. According to the Data Lab, many of the new data science and ‘big data’ technologies are less than five years old, and most companies are unaware of the latest trends and developments. The programme will seek to address this by delivering courses on a spectrum of data skills ranging from statistical communications to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. It will feature masterclasses delivered by representatives from organisations including Silicon Valley Data Science, Amazon Web Services, and Laughlin Consultancy.
Brian Hills, Head of Data at the Data Lab, told DIGIT: “Skills Development Scotland estimate that there are over 90,000 people working in digital in Scotland, and to be successful in digital you really need to have an understanding of data. Data ranges on a spectrum, from how you communicate basic numbers all the way through to complex mathematics.
“Really what we what to try and do is increase the data literacy across the board for people working in digital.”
In addition to more technical courses, the Data Lab will also be running sessions on leadership and soft skills. Paul Laughlin, founder and MD of Laughlin Consultancy will deliver a workshop teaching delegates how to undertake analytics, with skills that create real value in businesses.
“There’s definitely a need for the hardcore skills, and being able to use and analyse data within an organisation, across industries and in the public sector. But there’s also a need to communicate that,” Hills said. “What we find is that a lot of people have technical skills, but don’t then have the skills to communicate the findings.
“Therefore, the investment in that skill set gets lost towards the management side – there’s no translation. Part of it is actually educating people working in data on how you communicate that to your sponsors, and to the management, etc.”
Whilst the programme will focus on new talent entering Scotland’s digital sector, it will also target current members of the workforce who are at risk of being left behind by the continuously developing digital industry.
“There is a massive workforce out there working in technical areas that quickly become obsolete. The professional development programme is specifically targeting people who are already in employment, if they want to gain the skills that they need in the data economy.”
Andy Kirk from Visualising Data will also be in Edinburgh in November to deliver a one day course on data visualisation. Commenting on the programme, he said: “With such a vibrant and growing talent pool in Scotland, this is a great opportunity to work in collaboration with The Data Lab and the Scottish data community they have fostered.”