Data science job opportunities in the digital economy in 2020


The year 2019 was a big one for data science enthusiasts. The global data science market touched USD 189 billion in 2019, and is expected to grow further to USD 274 billion by 2022, representing a very healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1%. And a further, strong push also comes from Industry 4.0 and the accompanying transformation where data is gathered and analyzed across machines, with a goal of faster, more flexible, and more efficient production of higher-quality goods at lower costs.

What this represents is:

  • Numerous job opportunities: in the form of high-potential and rewarding jobs for roles such as data scientists, Big Data developers, analytics specialists, insights analysts, and business intelligence developers
  • Opportunities for businesses: by reducing costs, improving operational efficiencies, recognizing new market opportunities and increasing competitive advantage

Download the DASCA Factsheet “Data Science Job Opportunities in the Digital Economy – Review 2019 and Forecast 2020” for a highlight of past trends, emerging data science jobs, key findings, interpretations, challenges and conclusions for the Big Data and analytics job market.

What is the current state of jobs in data science?

Data is ubiquitous! Our world puts out 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and 91% of organizations upped their investment in data science in 2019.

The statistics on the data science job market make for interesting reading:

  • By 2025, 5.2 zettabytes of data will need analysis
  • Businesses who utilize data gain markedly on following fronts against their non-data-oriented peers:
  • USD 1.8 trillion in profits from insights
  • 23 times more customer acquisition
  • A significant drop in operational expenses

Are we placed well to meet the job requirements?

Globally, according to IBM, around 28% of the total jobs in 2020 will be data science jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says data science jobs are expected to grow by at least 19% by 2026, pointing to a bright future for data science in the digital economy.

However, the current skill development rate for data science professionals stands at a slackened 14%. As of now, on an average, a data science job remains vacant for 45 days due to a talent crunch. With the ever-widening demand and supply gap, this period is more than likely to extend much further. Already, in a 2019 survey of 3,000 technology leaders, KPMG found that the “Data Analytics Expert” role was the hardest to fill. ‘The Quant Crunch’ report from IBM adds that “Machine learning, Big Data, and data science skills are the most challenging to recruit for, and can potentially create the greatest disruption if not filled.”

According to LinkedIn, the total number of Big Data professionals is 2,186,308 worldwide. Against it, approximately 660,528 job postings were made in 2019.

What has driven this growth in data science?

In 2019, as per the DASCA Factsheet, four prominent trends reshaped the Big Data business:

  • Automation frameworks for big data workflows made big data use case production simpler.
  • Fewer entrants were funded but the ones that received funding were also the ones delivering greater innovation and value.
  • Data companies evolved from feature addition acquisitions to core products.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning made sizeable strides.

Big data means big bucks! The data scientist profession gained tremendous popularity and the number of professionals hired grew exponentially. The DASCA Factsheet reports a figure of 400,000 new jobs over the 2018–2019 period. New opportunities and vacancies were posted for data analysts, data engineers, data architects, and data administrator profiles. A significant increase was noticed in almost all data-related roles in the digital economy. Corresponding to the rise in the number of vacancies, salaries for Big Data and analytics grew by 28%.

What trends can we expect in 2020?

The demand for data and analytics’ skill sets is on the rise. Hiring trends will extend from 2019 and a few deviations are likely to crop up. According to the DASCA Factsheet, the largest hiring slice is expected to be devoured by the information technology and services sector, which will grow its share from 36% in 2019 to 44% in 2020. Computer software, staffing and recruiting, financial services, and the Internet will take a smaller yet substantial share of the job pie this year.

The following opportunities are expected:

  • Merging of IoT with data analytics
  • Automation of data analysis
  • In-memory computing/NLP and conversational analytics
  • Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platforms
  • Augmented analytics
  • Plug-and-play, ready-to-deploy algorithms
  • Edge analytics
  • Ethical AI
  • Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud data lakes
  • Explainable and democratized AI

As against these, the following challenges must be tackled:

  • Procuring actionable data: this will need to extirpating the weeds to improve data quality
  • Talent shortage: could be mitigated by automation
  • Accelerating the iterative data science process to produce faster and more predictable results
  • Making Machine Learning models easier to explain to business users so they can trust and use them
  • Ensuring functionality, timely review and upgrade of models

What is the way ahead?

For the first time post the Industrial Revolution, employers have waged such a rigorous hunt for employees. Download this factsheet to know why this is a matchless opportunity to upgrade your skills and climb several rungs up your career ladder.

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