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Build and future-proof your skills with DataIQ Leaders

If data and technology are creating what has been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, then data and analytics functions (D&A) find themselves right at the heart of this transformation. This article maps the skills you need now and in 2020 against the DataIQ Leaders programme to help you find the resources to equip yourself.
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The pressure on skills

If data and technology are creating what has been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, then data and analytics functions (D&A) find themselves right at the heart of this transformation. Providing everything from the raw materials to the driving force for change in business, leaders and their teams are now a critical resource.

At the same time, they are as subject to the impacts of this ongoing change as any other part of the workforce. Skills sets which need to be recruited into D&A are in limited supply as a result of historical under-delivery from higher education.

According to the World Economic Forum study, “The Future of Jobs”, recruiting in the computer and mathematical jobs family between 2015 and 2020 was given the second most negative score at  -0.70 on a scale where -2.0 equals very hard and 2.0 is very easy.

The reason for this pressure on recruitment is simple – almost all forms of work are absorbing some aspects of data and analytics, meaning the demand for these skills is across every part of the economy. As Table 1 shows, the suite of skills demonstrating the strongest demand in the current five-year period is strongly represented among STEM candidates.

WEF Growing Demand for Skills 2015-2020

WEF Future of Jobs Skills Families

Soft skills rise to the fore

Yet at the same time, employees from non-STEM backgrounds are also under pressure to reskill and upskill accordingly. Even with humanities disciplines, for example, data and analytics play an increasing role, such as through the use of text mining or sentiment analysis, as well as data engineering for translation. 

If finding new employees for growing D&A functions is the first area of pressure on recruitment and the need for existing staff to keep their skills up to date is the second pressure on retention, then there is yet a third pressure for leaders, managers and teams – the need to possess and demonstrate soft skills alongside hard skills.

Table 1 shows the top ten skills required by employers in 2015 according to WEF. What is striking about this list is its basis in soft skills, from leadership to team work to creativity. At the heart of the decision to launch DataIQ Leaders in 2016 was a recognition that D&A practitioners typically are not taught these soft skills during their academic education, whether as under-graduates, Masters or post-doctoral students. Once into the workplace, many have to learn “on the job” how to engage with stakeholders, negotiate for budgets and support, manage expert practitioners and communicate complex concepts and insights. 

Table 1 – Top 10 skills in 2015

1

Complex problem solving

2

Co-ordinating with others

3

People management

4

Critical thinking

5

Negotiation

6

Quality control

7

Service orientation

8

Judgement and decision making

9

Active listening

10

Creativity

 

DataIQ Leaders programme of skills development

Our programme has been built around three dimensions – live events, development workshops, digital content – all aligned against the soft skills which leaders and teams need to develop. As Table 2 shows, our output across 2017 and 2018 maps closely to the top ten skills which employers are prioritising.

As a member of DataIQ Leaders, the full content library is available on demand and being constantly added-to. Places on workshops for team members are available on a credits basis within the package first bought and subsequently as required. Leaders and their alternates have an open invitation to every inspiration session, dinner and roundtable.

The subject matter across all three dimensions is developed by David Reed, knowledge and strategy director, in close consultation with members and the DataIQ Leaders advisory board.This ensures that it aligns to current needs and ongoing agenda items, as well as to core soft skills challenges.

Table 2 – Top 10 skills in 2015 v DataIQ Leaders programme in 2017/18

Skills set

Leaders event

Leaders workshop

CARBON library

Complex problem solving

Inspiration session: In the spotlight – Data’s big hitters

Roundtable: Finding the right place in your company for the data and analytics resource

Roundtable: Creating the ideal data organisation

Roundtable: I have a data asset, you have a database, they have data silos

A framework for transformation to a data-driven culture

CARBON guidance: Moving from data silos to data assets

Co-ordinating with others

Roundtable: Data-driven, customer-driven – how analytics supports the new customer experience

Roundtable: Decision science after GDPR

Business partnering

Better briefs

People management

Inspiration session: How to take the lead – and how to take the team with you

Roundtable: Analyst or scientist? The data practitioner face-off

Roundtable: Working with data scientists – how to create fewer myths and more magic

Roundtable: How to feed a curious mind

Roundtable: Technology, skills and the analyst of the future 

Stakeholder management

Data scientist or data analyst?

Critical thinking

Inspiration session: Valuing the benefits of GDPR for consumers and businesses

Negotiation

Roundtable: Data and analytics as value-drivers – has the case been won?

Getting executive buy-in

Quality control

Roundtable: Performance is key – but what are the right KPIs?

CARBON guidance: Improving BI data quality 

CARBON guidance: Optimising KPI development and delivery

Service orientation

Roundtable: Building trust in your data and becoming the trusted advisor 

Roundtable: How do we stop reporting and start innovating?

Prioritising projects

CARBON guidance: Building a data lab

CARBON guidance: Improving soft skills in the data and analytics function

Judgement and decision making

Dinner: Meet the new academics

Roundtable: Power without presence – do data teams really need a figurehead?

Facilitating action

Active listening

Roundtable: Knowledge transfer – How to find, adopt and absorb best practice

Inspiration session: In the spotlight – Data’s big hitters 

Inspiration session: In the spotlight – Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

Creativity

Data story-telling 

Data visualisation

 

The changing skills landscape

Fire HandlingAs a consequence of the ongoing transformation being wrought by data and technology, the skills needed in the future are themselves undergoing change. What was critical to organisations five years earlier will not always be appropriate to the workplace of 2020.

Table 2 shows this shift as identified by WEF. What is striking is that, despite the forecast saturation of data and technology across all forms of employment, soft skills not only continue to dominate, but the requirement is for them to be “softer” if anything. 

Emotional intelligence is probably the most striking example of this, rising to sixth in the list. Historically considered to be an innate quality, EI has increasingly been recognised as something that can be developed and trained with the right support. Similarly, cognitive flexibility, which enters the list at number ten, is not always a quality associated with D&A practitioners, for whom the hard proof to be found in numbers can over-ride other considerations. 

Table 2 – Top 10 skills in 2020 v 2015

Top 10 skills in 2020

(Rank in 2015)

1

(1)

Complex problem solving

2

(4)

Critical thinking

3

(10)

Creativity

4

(3)

People management

5

(2)

Co-ordinating with others 

6

(-)

Emotional intelligence

7

(8)

Judgement and decision making

8

(7)

Service orientation

9

(5)

Negotiation

10

(-)

Cognitive flexibility

 

Future-proofing skills with DataIQ Leaders

As the landscape of employability evolves, so we are constantly developing the content of our programme. Mapping against WEF’s forecast of the top ten skills needed in 2020, we will expand the range of our output appropriately to ensure that members have the right resources available to them as they develop their careers from practitioners to team managers to leaders as shown in Table 3.

Several new deliverables are already in the early phases of development – these include CARBON™ 360, an expansion of the existing CARBON™ assessment toolkit which is intended to assess the outside-in view of the D&A function, and also Leaders Academy, a packaged exposure to the Leaders programme which will be delivered either in-house or as a multi-tenant event in multiple geographies.

The existing programme of events and workshops will continue with several strategic additions, while the CARBON library of content will expand. Online self-assessment of certain skills sets and knowledge currently has a horizon line of 2020.

Table 3 – Top 10 skills in 2020 v DataIQ Leaders planned programme 2019-20

Skills set

Leaders event

Leaders workshop

CARBON asset

Complex problem solving

Knowledge building and commercial application (planned)

Critical thinking

Creativity

Data story-telling

Data visualisation

People management

Leaders Academy (planned)

Stakeholder management

Co-ordinating with others 

Business partnering

Better briefs

CARBON 360 (planned)

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (planned)

Judgement and decision making

Executive coaching (planned)

Consult and advise – two-day course (planned)

 Facilitating action

Service orientation

Trusted advisor – two-day course (planned)

Prioritising projects

CARBON 360 (planned)

Negotiation

Cognitive flexibility

 

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