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Universities of Africa are responsible for our future workforce

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, the skills of yesteryear are no longer enough to remain ahead of the pack. How are universities adapting to this new world? As dynamics and demand change, how is the academic domain ensuring that their graduates are ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
BusinessTech notes in its article, "The most popular fields of study in South Africa", that currently most students in South Africa (SA) are graduating with Education degrees followed by Business and Economic, Health and Engineering. Although close to 50% of graduates in the physical sciences and mathematics and statistics fields are in the age group 25-44, the low percentage of younger graduates in these fields of study is worrying, noted Stats SA.

Universities of Africa are responsible for our future workforce

It has been predicted that there will be steep shortage of Data Scientists in 2018. The industry is racing ahead where newer and better technology trends are concerned, but does it have sufficient manpower to grow and apply these technologies to real-world businesses problems? Are the current Data Scientists trained to handle "Intelligent Analytics"?

The onset of the cognitive era has resulted in most organisations requiring some if not all of the following subjects from University graduates:
  • Statistics
  • Computer science
  • Traditional software skill
  • Traditional research projects
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Machine learning
Understanding of these subjects will assist with the shortage of data science talent, something which is a problem within most organisations. After all, the ideal data scientists aren't just geniuses in advanced mathematics and statistics, they're creative, non-linear thinkers with excellent communication skills. Making someone with all of the above skills, what has now become known as, the elusive Data Scientist Unicorn.

Universities of Africa are responsible for our future workforce

According to CIO's "The 7 most in-demand tech jobs for 2018 - and how to hire for them" the most sought after talent is in the following fields:
  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Database developer
  • Help/support desk technician
  • Network administrator
  • Data security administrator
  • System administrator
As Universities in Africa start adapting to new age technologies and requirements they cannot ignore the need for graduates to have some understanding of Data Science.

In order for students to obtain advantage over other graduates emerging into the work place they need to be equipped with a general understanding of statistics. This is where IBM SPSS Statistics Software has its advantages. It doesn't create a high barrier for beginners, while still offering a range of advanced statistics for the more skilled user. For the beginner the software offers quick and easy deployment without the need for programming knowledge, allowing them to focus on the statistics resulting from the built-in functions.

Universities of Africa are responsible for our future workforce

OLSPS Analytics has also included the following value-added functionality into the IBM SPSS Statistics Software in order to assist students and organisations alike:
  • R Integrations, Med-Couple Mean: Implements the R Med-Couple Mean into the SPSS Statistics interface. The extension is provided as a custom dialog and requires the R integration plugin.
  • R Integrations, Hodrick-Prescott filtering for Econometrics: Implements the Hodrick-Prescott filtering for use on a linear regression, by applying the Hodrick-Prescott filter to the linear regression coefficients of time series data. The result is a "smoothed" set of regression coefficients which can be used to improve time series projections. The extension is provided as a custom dialog and requires the R integration plugin.
  • SPSS Statistics Data Library: A standalone Java application which creates and maintains a list of SPSS Statistics data files and their contents. It provides analysts with the facility to create virtual "project" folders which list the location, rights and code books for a group of SPSS Statistics data files. Also, it enables the storage and execution of simple and complex SQL queries. Communication with SPSS Statistics is facilitated via the IBM SPSS Python integration plugin.
  • The Statistical Interpreter: The function of the Statistical Interpreter is to provide analysis of procedures run in SPSS Statistics, where results are not only defined but also their significance interpreted.
While the understanding of IBM SPSS Statistics is advantageous, OLSPS Analytics also offers more than 20 data analysis training courses in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa which include: modelling, amos, artificial intelligence and machine learning, fisheries quantitative science, operational management procedures and more. As the legacy provider of IBM SPSS Software, OLSPS Analytics has a highly skilled team of data scientists who can share the latest trends in the field of data science by providing exceptional Data Science Training.

Budgetary constraints may put Universities off the idea of acquiring such a powerful tool. However OLSPS Analytics has put together an Academic Special for Universities which not only substantially reduces the cost for academic institutions but also includes training. Students and lecturers alike can obtain full insight into the incredible tool that is IBM SPSS Statistics, which brings added value to the acquisition of this traditional software.

This is an opportunity for Universities across Africa to skill their students in such a way that they will not only succeed internationally but boost the African economy and shows that the information revolution can be locally driven to develop the modern groundwork that Africa needs.

19 Apr 2018 14:56

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