DUBAI – Data science is one of the fastest-growing interdisciplinary fields of work globally, with governments and organizations increasingly recognizing the benefits of analytical data and data science results for their development, growth, and ability to innovate to meet the needs of their clients and internal resources.
The soaring interest in analytics has resulted in a global skills gap, with McKinsey Inc. predicting a current field-wide shortfall of between 40-60%. The US data science industry alone will require an additional 190,000 people by 2018.
A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forecasts that nearly 2.7 million data science and analytics jobs will be created in the next three years by data-driven organizations eager to gain operational insights from analytics that support them in making strategic business decisions quickly and more effectively.
SAS – the leader in analytics software and services – is striving to address the shortfall through a range of initiatives. In an effort to deliver world-class data science and advanced analytics skills, SAS currently engages more than 4,000 worldwide universities through its SAS Global Academic Programs.
The latest collaboration with the American University of Science & Technology (AUST) in Beirut, a pioneer in the adoption and use of technology to enable quality education in Lebanon. AUST is the first in Lebanon to launch a Business Analytics and a Data Science academic programs, both at the undergraduate BS level, as well as at the graduate level. Additionally, AUST through its Center for Learning & Development and in collaboration with Matrix TRC, also established a joint post–graduate professional diploma in Data Science with SAS. Moreover, AUST is currently working on opportunities with the Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics at North-West University in South Africa, to deliver industry-relevant, advanced analytical tertiary education in Lebanon through a post-graduate program ‘Analytics in Banking’.
“At AUST, we believe that Business Analytics & Data Science are not just passing fads, but long-lasting and valuable disciplines which are sought after by local, regional, and International companies. Analytics are the skills, technologies, and practices that drive decision-making, and are vital for deriving maximum business value from organizational investments” said Riad Sakr, Vice President at AUST.
“Since its launching last year, our program was intended to breed the best future data scientists in the market. Our 10 courses program cover all what the market needs from the data analytical and technological aspects with more than 4,500 state-of-the-art educational slides written and edited by best professors and men-of-experience. Now with our partnership with SAS, we will be adding complete industry-specific solutions, which I am pretty sure will motivate us to make our program a worldwide reference, if not a paragon by itself.” added Walid Semaan,CEO of Matrix TRC.
“The demand for data scientists within organizations who can collect, organize and analyze data using advanced techniques such as Data Mining and Machine Learning to help decision makers arrive at sound business solutions is growing rapidly. With the ongoing digital revolution, the possibilities offered by Data Science are immense. Understanding the need and requirements of businesses, SAS aims to achieve the goal of closing the data science and analytics skills gap through our initiatives,” said Yigit Karabag, Information Management & Analytics Practice Manager at SAS.
In line with the initiative, the partners are hosting a special session entitled ‘Shaping the future of Analytics in Banking’ for AUST students and banking executives on June 19. The session will be followed by detailed SAS Technical Workshops, which will include topics such as Data Management, Advanced Analytics, Data Mining and Credit Scoring.
The keynote address will be delivered by Prof. Riaan de Jongh, SAS Thought Leader and Director of the Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics at North-West University in South Africa. With more than 40 years’ experience in analytics consulting, including 20 years’ in the banking sector, de Jongh will provide crucial insights on how companies must leapfrog into the new data world, ensuring successful projects and business value by using practical examples to highlight ways of driving customer acquisition and sales, enhancing customer experience, reducing risk and driving efficiency.
“The increasing application of data science and analytics to business processes across the banking sector continues to have a positive impact on operational efficiency. Insights provided through data analytics, educational institutions play a vital role in providing opportunities that will make a significant contribution to closing the global skills gap, the collaboration between AUST and SAS is an important step towards empowering the next generation with relevant skills in our technology dominated world,” said Prof. Riaan de Jongh.
“This collaboration shows the great potential that can be achieved when industry and universities work together. The ultimate winners are the students and learners who participate in the program,” added Dr. Jerry Oglesby, Senior Director of Global Academic Programs at SAS.
Murray de Villiers, Senior Manager, Global Academic Programs at SAS, said: “In an effort to address the globalized, technology-driven business landscape, universities need to differentiate through course offerings and the application of technology, which will ensure that they attract the best partners, high-level students and funding. This means that academia and industry must work together to develop courses that adequately prepare students for ‘real-world work’. This includes diversified, industry-directed academic short courses and academic mentorship to graduates. In a rapid-paced world, universities can also develop academic programs faster through inter-university collaboration, leveraging the best of each other.” — SG