Data scientists are going to highly sought after in the job market in coming years. The ability to work with data is increasingly important if South Africa is indeed going to meet its 4IR plans, and the Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) is looking to do its part in ensuring the necessary skills are available in the market.

To that end the institution has announced an ambitious plan to train 5 000 data scientists by 2025, along with crucially getting them placed in the job market.

According to the EDSA, that number is based on the Academy’s current trajectory, which has trained and placed close to 500 young data scientists in just two years since the launch of its 12-month data science learnership programme in January 2018.

Said programme targets those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with it noting that high demand jobs in this field command annual salaries in the region of R360 000.

“South Africa’s youth unemployment as well as its stretched and outdated education system, call for a radically innovative solution to address the shortage of relevant skills we need to compete globally,” says Shaun Dippnall, EDSA co-founder.

“Beyond our curriculum is our conviction is that in order to have a functioning society able to compete globally, we need to build a Next-Gen institution that is world-class.  We encourage learners to reach their potential, to live their best lives and to become something more than their circumstances,” he adds.

The co-founder also believes the 5 000 data scientist target is very much achievable, particularly as local firms look to drive growth and enhance their competitive edge by hiring newly qualified talent.

“There is a massive local supply-demand gap in the area of data science and our universities and colleges are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth and changing nature of specific digital skills demanded by companies,” he explains.

Alongside the learnership programme, the EDSA has several new six-month full time public courses in data science, data engineering and data analytics as well as machine learning (R60 000 each). Each course comes with the EDSA Money Back Promise, which guarantees candidates a job placement within six months of graduation at a minimum annual starting salary of R240 000, or their money back.

“With tens of thousands of young people eager to grasp work opportunities, plus an increasing demand for data scientists in the workplace, there now exists ‘a perfect storm of opportunity’ to train young people with guaranteed employment,” Dippnall concludes.

Registrations for the 2021 intake of the 12-month learnership programme open in July this year, with more information available here.

[Image – Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash]