The celebration was held at Barras Art and Design (BAaD) in Glasgow’s iconic Barrowlands with industry experts, academics and graduates from more than 11 Universities in attendance.
It was organised around the graduate placement scheme run by MBN Solutions and The Data Lab, which places MSc students from Scottish Universities into Scottish Companies. This year the programme placed 70 students within 40 companies.
The overarching theme of this year’s celebratory event was “what is the next step for the future generation of data scientists?” It focused on how value can be gained for both the individuals and organisations through placements, which often lead to offers of full-time employment.
Other key themes included how best to promote growth, nurturing and long-term sustainability within Data Science and Engineering teams. The need to encourage more women into the tech sector and how to retain their talent was an issue highlighted by speakers as a staggering 73% of females leave the industry after only a few years.
Graduates were given advice on how to create a personal brand and how to diversify their portfolio to ensure they are standout candidates. What quickly became clear as each speaker ascended the stage was that Data Scientists are in high demand.
Enterprises across different industries are desperate to recruit and retain the top digital talent as businesses become increasingly aware of the immense value of data. Furthermore, many employers are looking for more than just a data rock star. They are also seeking individuals with transferable soft skills such as communication and the ability to manage stakeholders.
Graduates Must Diversify Their Portfolio
The recent graduates had the opportunity to speak to potential future employers, to seek career advice and gain insights on employability within today’s work environment from industry experts. Speakers included Brian Hills, Head of Data at The Data Lab; MSP Jamie Hepburn Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills; Matt Grest, Diector of Platform at the BBC; and Fraser Ingram, Director of Innovation and Change at CYBG.
The speakers were followed by a panel discussion chaired by Paul Forrest of MBN Solutions on fostering a positive work environment in data science and engineering teams. The panellists included Chief Executive at Fintech Scotland, Stephen Ingledew; Senior Policy Analysis Officer at the Scottish Funding council, Cathy Mitchell; Senior Data Scientist at Merkle Aquila, Marta Portugal; and Senior Manager for Decisioning, Analytics and AI at CYBG, Martin Thorn, with closing remarks by Gillian Docherty CEO of The Data Lab.