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The Data Surrounding Higher Education and COVID-19

Just a few short weeks ago, it would have seemed impossible for some microscopic pathogen to upend our lives as we knew it, but the novel Coronavirus has proven us breathtakingly wrong.

It has suddenly and unexpectedly changed everything we had thought was most stable and predictable in our lives, from the ways that we work to the ways we interact with one another. It’s even changed the way we learn, as colleges and universities across the nation shutter their doors.

But what is the real impact of COVID-19 on higher education? How are college students really faring in the face of the pandemic, and what can we do to support them now and in the post-pandemic life to come?

The Scramble is On

Probably the most significant challenge that schools, educators, and students alike are facing is that no one really saw this coming, so now we’re trying to figure out how to protect students’ education while also protecting their physical health. We’re having to make decisions that impact millions of students and faculty and do that with no preparation whatsoever.

To make matters worse, faculties are having to convert their classes to a forum the majority have never even used before. Before the lockdown, more than 70% of faculty in higher education had zero experience with online teaching. Now they’re being asked to convert their entire semester’s course schedule from an in-class to an online format, and they’re having to do it in a matter of weeks if not days.

For students who’ve never taken a distance learning course before, these impromptu, online, cobbled-together courses are hardly the recipe for academic success. The challenge is even greater for lab-based courses, where content mastery depends on hands-on work and laboratory applications. To solve this problem, some of the newly-minted distance ed instructors are turning to online lab simulations to help students make do until the real thing is open to them again.

Making Do

It’s not just the schools and the faculty that have been caught off guard by the sudden need to learn while under lockdown. Students are also having to hustle to make sure they have the technology they need to move their college experience online. Unfortunately, for many students, that’s not always easy, and for some, it’s downright impossible.

Studies show that large swaths of the student population: first-generation college students, community college students, immigrants, and lower-income students, typically rely on on-campus facilities to access the technology they need to do their work. When physical campuses close and the community libraries and hotspots with them, so too does the chance for many students to take their learning online.

Students in urban environments face particular risks. Even if they are able to access the technology they need to engage in distance learning, they may find it impossible to socially isolate. The need to access a hotspot or wi-fi connection might put them in unsafe proximity to other students, not to mention the millions of workers now forced to telecommute.

The Good News

America’s millions of new online learners and teachers may have a tough row to hoe, but the news isn’t all bad. Online education is by no means a new thing. By 2017, nearly 7 million students were enrolled in at least one distance education course according to a recent survey by the National Center for Education Statistics.

It isn’t as though the technology to provide a secure, user-friendly learning experience doesn’t exist. The financial industry, for example, has played a leading role in developing private, responsive, and highly-customizable technology solutions to meet practically any need a client or stakeholder may have.

The solutions used for the financial sector can be built on and modified for the online learning experience to ensure the privacy of students, educators, and institutions while providing real-time access to learning tools and content to classmates and teachers.

A New Path?

As challenging as it may be, transitioning to online learning not only offers opportunities for the present, but it may well open up new paths for the future. While our world may finally be approaching the downward slope of the curve and while we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, until there’s a vaccine, we haven’t likely seen the last of COVID-19.

And even when we lay the COVID beast to rest, infectious disease, unfortunately, is a fact of human life. For students just starting to think about their career paths, this lockdown may well be the push they need to find a career that’s well-suited to this “new normal.”

For instance, careers in data science transition perfectly from onsite to at-home work, and as epidemiological superheroes like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx have shown, they are often involved in important, life-saving work. These are also careers that can be pursued largely, if not exclusively, online. Whether you’re a complete newbie or a veteran to the field, there is a large range of degree and certification programs available online to launch or advance your data science career.

It might be that your college-with-corona experience is pointing your life in a different direction, toward education rather than data science. With a doctorate in education, your future career path is virtually unlimited. You might find yourself teaching, researching, leading universities or developing education policy.

What matters most is that with an EdD, you can make a difference in the lives of students and teachers, just as your teachers and administrators are making a difference in your life. You can be the guiding and comforting force for students in a time of crisis and you can use your experiences today to pay it forward tomorrow.

Optimize AI Talent: Perception from Across the Globe

Despite the AI hype, the AI skill gap is turning into some pariah while businesses are accelerating to become demigods.

Reports from the “Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2020” cover multiple parameters both national and organizational to generate insight for further action. This report compiles 70 variables including 132 national economies across the globe – based on all groups of income and at every developmental level.

The sole purpose of the GTCI report is to narrow down the skill gap by delivering the right data inputs. The figures mentioned in the report could be of value to private and public organizations.

GTCI report covered multiple themes that need to be addressed: –

As the race to embrace AI spurs, it is evident to address the challenges faced due to AI and how best these problems can be solved.

The pace at which AI is developing is transforming the way we work, forcing a technology shift, change in the corporate structure, changing the innovation system for AI professionals in every possible way.

There’s more that is needed to be done as AI and automation continue to affect the way we work.

  • Reskilling in workplaces to eliminate dearth of talent

As the role in AI keeps evolving, organizations need a larger workforce, especially to play technology roles such as AI engineers and AI specialists. Looking closely at the statistics you may not fail to notice that the number of AI job roles is on the rise, but there’s scarce talent.

Employers must take on reskilling as a critical measure. Else how will the technology market keep up with changing trends? Reskilling in the form of training or AI certifications should be emphasized. Having an in-house AI talent is an added advantage to the company.

  • Skill gap between growing countries (low performing and high performing) are widening

Based on the GTCI report, it is seen there is a skill gap happening not only across industries but between nations. The report also highlights which country lacks basic digital skills, and this highly gets contributed toward a digital divide between nations.

  • High-level of cooperation needed to embrace AI benefits

As much as the world shows concern toward embracing AI, not much has been done to achieve these transformations. And AI has huge potential to transform society and make it a better place to live. However, to embrace these benefits, corporations must engage in AI regulation.

From a talent acquisition perspective, this simply means employers will need more training and reskilling opportunities.

  • AI to allow nations to skip generations

On a technological front, AI makes it possible to skip generations in developed nations. Although, not common due to structural obstruction.

  • Cities are now competing to become talent magnets and AI hubs

As AI continues to hit the market, organizations are aggressively coming up with newer policies to attract and retain AI professionals.

No doubt, cities are striving to attract the right kind of talent as competition keeps increasing. As such many cities are competing in becoming core AI engines in transforming energy grids, transportation, and many other multiple segments. Cities are now becoming the main test beds for AI-based tools i.e. self-driven vehicles, tele-surveillance, and facial recognition.

  • Sustainable AI comes when the society is equally up for it

With certain communities not adopting and accepting the advent of AI, it is difficult to say whether these communities will not try to distort AI narratives. As a result, it is crucial for multiple stakeholders to embrace AI and developed the AI workforce in parallel.

Not to forget, regulators and policy-makers have an equal role to play to ensure there’s a smooth transition in jobs. As AI-induced transformation skyrockets, educators and leaders need to move quickly as the new generations’ complete focus is entirely based on doing their bit to the society.

Two decades passed ever since McKinsey declared the war for talent – particularly for high-performing employees. As organizations are extensively looking to hire the right talent, it is imperative to retain and attract talent at large.

Despite the unprecedented growth in AI technologies, it is near to being unanimous regarding having hold of organizations to master in AI, forget about retaining talent. They’re not even getting better at it.

Even top tech companies such as Google and Amazon, the demand for top talent outstrips the supply. Although you may find thousands of candidates applying for the same job role, the competition just gets tougher since such employers are tough nuts and pleasing them is not an easy task.

If these tech giants are finding it difficult to hire the right talent, you could imagine the plight of other companies.

Given the optimistic view regarding the technology future, it is much more challenging to convince that the war for talent truly resembles the war on talent.

The good news is organizations that look forward to adopting new technology and reskill their employees will most likely thrive in the competitive edge.

Top 7 MBA Programs to Target for Business Analytics 

Business Analytics refers to the science of collecting, analysing, sorting, processing and compiling various available data pertaining to different areas and facets of business. It also includes studying and scrutinising the information for useful and deep insights into the functioning of a business which can be used smartly for making important business-related decisions and changes to the existing system of operations. This is especially helpful in identifying all loopholes and correcting them.

The job of a business analyst is spread across every domain and industry. It is one of the highest paying jobs in the present world due to the sheer shortage of people with great analytical minds and abilities. According to a report published by Ernst & Young in 2019, there is a 50% rise in how firms and enterprises use analytics to drive decision making at a broad level. Another reason behind the high demand is the fact that nowadays a huge amount of data is generated by all companies, large or small and it usually requires a big team of analysts to reach any successful conclusion. Also, the nature and high importance of the role compels every organisation and firm to look for highly qualified and educated professionals whose prestigious degrees usually speak for them.

An MBA in Business Analytics, which happens to be a branch of Business Intelligence, also prepares one for a successful career as a management, data or market research analyst among many others. Below, we list the top 7 graduate school programs in Business Analytics in the world that would make any candidate ideal for this high paying job.

1 New York University – Stern School of Business

Location: New York City, United States

Tuition Fees: $74,184 per year

Duration:  2 years (full time)

With a graduate acceptance rate of 23%, the NYU Stern School makes it to this list due to the diversity of the course structure that it offers in its MBA program in Business Analytics. One can specialise and learn the science behind econometrics, data mining, forecasting, risk management and trading strategies by being a part of this program. The School prepares its students and offers employability in fields of investment banking, marketing, consulting, public finance and strategic planning. Along with opportunities to study abroad for small durations, the school also offers its students ample chances to network with industry leaders by means of summer internships and career workshops. It is a STEM designated two-year, full time degree program.

2 University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School Business 

Location: Philadelphia, United States

Tuition fees: $81,378 per year

Duration: 20 months (full time, including internship)

The only Ivy-League school in the list with one of the best Business Analytics MBA programs in the world, Wharton has an acceptance rate of 19% only. The tough competition here is also characterised by the high range of GMAT scores that most successful applicants have – it lies between 540 and 790, averaging at a very high threshold of 732. Most of Wharton’s graduating class finds employment in a wide range of sectors including consulting, financial services, technology, real estate and health care among many others. The long list of Wharton’s alumni includes some of the biggest business entities in the world, them being – Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Sundar Pichai, Ronald Perelman and John Scully.

The best part about Wharton’s program structure is its focus on building leadership and a strong sense of teamwork in every student.

3 Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business

Location: Pittsburgh, United States

Tuition Fees: $67,575

Duration: 18 months (online)

The Tepper School of Business in Carnegie Mellon University is the only graduate school in the list that offers an online Master of Science program in Business Analytics. The primary objectives of the program is to equip students with creative problem solving expertise and deep analytic skills. The highlights of the program include machine learning, programming in Python and R, corporate communication and the knowledge of various business domains like marketing, finance, accounting and operations.

The various sub courses offered within the program include statistics, data management, data analytics in finance, data exploration and optimization for prescriptive analytics. There are several special topics offered too, like Ethics in Artificial Intelligence and People Analytics among many others.

4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management

Location: Cambridge, United States

Tuition Fees: $136,480

Duration: 12 months

The Master of Business Analytics program at MIT Sloan is a relatively new program but has made it to this list due to MIT’s promise and commitment of academic and all-rounder excellence. The program is offered in association with MIT’s Operations Research Centre and is customised for students who wish to pursue a career in the industry of data sciences. The program is easily comprehensible for students from any educational background. It is a STEM designated program and the curriculum includes several modules like machine learning, usage of analytics software tools like Python, R, SQL and Julia. It also includes courses on ethics, data privacy and a capstone project.

5 University of Chicago – Graham School

Location: Chicago, United States

Tuition Fees: $4,640 per course

Duration: 12 months (full time) or 4 years (part time)

The Graham School in the University of Chicago is mainly interested in candidates who show love and passion for analytics. An incoming class at Graham usually consists of graduates in science or social science, professionals in an early career who wish to climb higher in the job ladder and mid-career professionals who wish to better their analytical skills and enhance their decision-making prowess.

The curriculum at Graham includes introduction to statistics, basic levels of programming in analytics, linear and matrix algebra, machine learning, time series analysis and a compulsory core course in leadership skills. The acceptance rate of the program is relatively higher than the previous listed universities at 34%.

6 University of Warwick – Warwick Business School

Location: Coventry, United Kingdom

Tuition Fees: $34,500

Duration: 12 months (full time)

The only school to make it to this list from the United Kingdom and the only one outside of the United States, the Warwick Business School is ranked 7th in the world by the QS World Rankings for their Master of Science degree in Business Analytics. The course aims to build strong and impeccable quantitative consultancy skills in its candidates. One can also look forward to improving their business acumen, communication skills and commercial research experience after graduating out of this program.

The school has links with big corporates like British Airways, IBM, Proctor and Gamble, Tesco, Virgin Media and Capgemini among others where it offers employment for its students.

7 Columbia University – School of Professional Studies

Location: New York City, United States 

Tuition Fees: $2,182 per point

Duration: 1.5 years full time (three terms)

The Master of Sciences program in Applied Analytics at Columbia University is aimed for all decision makers and also favours candidates with strong critical thinking and logical reasoning abilities. The curriculum is not very heavy on pure stats and data sciences but it allows students to learn from extremely practical and real-life experiences and examples. The program is a blend of several online and on-campus classes with several week-long courses also. A large number of industry experts and guest lectures take regular classes, conduct workshops and seminars for exposing the students to the real-world scenario of Business Analytics. This also gives the students a solid platform to network and broaden their perspective.

Several interesting courses within the paradigm of the program includes storytelling with data, research design, data management and a capstone project.

The admission to every school listed above is extremely competitive and with very limited intake. However, as it is rightly said, hard work is the key to success, one can rest guaranteed that their career will never be the same if they make it into any of these programs.

Data Science Certifications to Excel in Your Career: A Holistic Approach

Personal and professional growth for an individual depends on the investment one puts in continued education. Continued education is necessary for leadership positions and industries such as human resources, manufacturing, marketing, operations, information technology, etc. Staying updated with the relevant profession is essential to move up the career ladder, and in certain cases, it is essential to save the job. 

It showcases your knowledge, education, and relevant skills necessary to perform the job for the current and future employers. ‘Career growth’ is not defined by the higher salaries but the effort made to earn those ‘higher salaries.’ Higher salaries do not mean the appreciable yearly increment in a well-established firm but earning the competent salaries by staying with the trend. We will discuss the learning opportunities for the most in-demand data science professionals here. 

 

Data Science certifications for the Newbies

When you understand the basic principles of data science, it would help you use the tools productively. If you are looking to develop data analytic skills, then you can opt for certain free online courses. It helps you learn the basics of data science at your own pace and get acquainted with the field knowledge.  

Most of the data science certification program or courses mentioned below are available free online. Though, a few may charge for gaining the certification once you finish the course. Whatever the case may be, you get destined to gain knowledge in the field which would be a good kick start for your career. 

To mention a few, they are:

  • Coursera – Data Science Specialization
  • Edx – Data Science Essentials
  • Udacity – Introduction to Machine Learning
  • IBM – Data Science Fundamentals
  • Data Quest – Become a Data Scientist
  • Kdnuggets – Data Mining Course

Most of these courses are available free online and are self-paced. You can get the basic hold of the subject and afterward, you may go for premium courses to advance learning or earn certifications.  

 

Data Science Certifications for Professionals

To stay competitive in the industry, you should get certified from industry-renowned global certification bodies. Mention not to say, there is a lot of difference between courses and certifications. Though a course gives you the relevant subject knowledge or skill, a certification program is vendor-neutral and increases your employability factor. It equips you with the latest tools and techniques and assures your prospective recruiter that you are their shot to hire. 

To mention a few of the best data science certifications, they are:

  • SAS Academy for Data Science – SAS Certified Data Scientist
  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) – Senior Data Scientist 
  • Google- Google Certified Professional Data Engineer
  • Dell EMC Education ServicesData Science Associate v2 (DCS-DS) certification and the Data Science Specialist (DCS-DS) certification

These certifications equip you with the latest tools and techniques and assure your prospective recruiter that you are their shot to hire. 

 

Industry-specific Certifications

Industry-specific certifications, as the name itself indicates, these are specific to the industries. These certifications provide you specific training with use cases in the industry you are interested in or working. It helps you solve industrial problems at a faster rate with deep insight.  

To mention a few:

  • Agriculture Industry- Certificate in Agricultural Data Science
  • Fintech industry- Certification course for financial professions
  • Business Analytics – Harvard Business School’s Certification Program 

The data collected by an education department is entirely different from the e-commerce industry. These certifications give you a clear-cut idea about data mining and deriving insights by using the right and specific tools as required.

 

Cross-functional Certifications

A data science job is an end-to-end job. Data insights are used to improve business productivity, marketing strategy, and business value. So, it is good to know other fields also like business analytics, marketing, manufacturing. Though these certifications do not directly deal with the subject, it structures your knowledge base in the industry. It gives a holistic approach to your work and widens your organizational value. 

To mention a few, they are:

  • Project Management Institute- Project Management Professional Certification
  • Springboard – Certified UX Designer
  • Business Analyst Professional Program – Institute of Business Analyst Training

These certifications give you complete knowledge of the system and help you derive data with a holistic approach and gain business benefits. 

 

Wrapping Up:

In addition to certifications, it is necessary to complete a few independent projects to showcase your skills. It increases practical knowledge and provides hand-on-experience in technology. Ultimately, the knowledge we impart for the organization that can increase value matters. 

So, rather than choosing certifications or learnings merely for job or salary purposes, it is recommended to choose for learning purposes. When you develop interest and dedication for the subject, it helps you go a long way in the career path. 

Be strategic in your learnings and increase the knowledge base.

 

 

Accelerate your AI Skills Today: A Million Dollar Job!

The skyrocketing salaries ($1m per year) of AI engineers is not a hype. It is the fact of current corporate world, where you will witness a shift that is inevitable.

We’ve already set our feet at the edge of the technological revolution. A revolution that is at the verge of altering the way we live and work. As the fact suggests, humanity has fundamentally developed human production in three revolutions, and we’re now entering the fourth revolution. In its scope, the fourth revolution projects a transformation that is unlike anything we humans have ever experienced.

  • The first revolution had the world transformed from rural to urban
  • the emergence of mass production in the second revolution
  • third introduced the digital revolution
  • The fourth industrial revolution is anxious to integrate technologies into our lives.

And all thanks to artificial intelligence (AI). An advanced technology that surrounds us, from virtual assistants to software that translates to self-driving cars.

The rise of AI at an exponential rate has disrupted almost every industry. So much so that AI is being rated as one-million-dollar profession.

Did this grab your attention? It did?

Now, what if we were to tell you that the salary compensation for AI experts has grown dramatically. AI and machine learning are fields that have a mountain of demand in the tech industry today but has sparse supply.

AI field is growing at a quicker pace and salaries are skyrocketing! Read it for yourself to know what AI experts, AI researchers and any other AI talent are commanding today.

  • A top-class AI research laboratory, OpenAI says that techies in the AI field are projected to earn a salary compensation ranging between $300 to $500k for fresh graduates. However, expert professionals could earn anywhere up to $1m.
  • Whopping salary package of above 100 million yen that amounts to $1m is being offered to AI geniuses by a Japanese firm, Start Today. A firm that operates a fashion shopping website named Zozotown.

Does this leave you with a question – Is this a right opportunity for you to jump in the field and make hay while the sun is shining? 

And the answer to this question is – yes, it is the right opportunity for any developer seeking a role in the AI industry. It can be your chance to bridge the skill shortage in the AI field either by upskilling or reskilling yourself in the field of AI.

There are a wide varieties of roles available for an AI enthusiast like you. And certain areas are like AI Engineers and AI Researchers are high in demand, as there are not many professionals who have robust AI knowledge.

According to a job report, “The Future of Jobs 2018,” a prediction was made suggesting that machines and algorithms will create around 133 million new job roles by 2022.

AI and machine learning will dominate the tech world. The World Economic Forum says that several sectors have started embracing AI and machine learning to tackle challenges in certain fields such as advertising, supply chain, manufacturing, smart cities, drones, and cybersecurity.

Unraveling the AI realm

From chatbots to financial planners, AI is impacting the way businesses function on a day-today basis. AI makes the work simpler, as it provides variables, which makes the work more streamlined.

Alright! You know that

  • the demand for AI professionals is rising exponentially and that there is just a trickle of supply
  • the AI professionals are demanding skyrocketing salaries

However, beyond that how much more do you know about AI?

Considering the fact that our lives have already been touched by AI (think Alexa, and Siri), it is just a matter of time when AI will become an indispensable part of our lives.

As Gartner predicts that 2020 will be an important year for business growth in AI. Thus, it is possible to witness significant sparks for employment growth. Though AI predicts to diminish 1.8 million jobs, it is also said to replace it with 2.3 million jobs that will be created. As we look forward to stepping into 2020, AI-related job roles are set to make positive progress of achieving 2 million net-new employments by 2025.

With AI promising to score fat paychecks that would reach millions, AI experts are struggling to find new ways to pick up nouveau skills. However, one of the biggest impacts that affect the job market today is the scarcity of talent in this field.

The best way to stay relevant and employable in AI is probably by “reskilling,” and “upskilling.” And  AI certifications is considered ideal for those in the current workforce.

Looking to upskill yourself – here’s how you can become an AI engineer today.

Top three ways to enhance your artificial intelligence career:

  1. Acquire skills in Statistics and Machine Learning: If you’re getting into the field of machine learning, it is crucial that you have in-depth knowledge of statistics. Statistics is considered a prerequisite to the ML field. Both the fields are tightly related. Machine learning models are created to make accurate predictions while statistical models do the job of interpreting the relationship between variables. Many ML techniques heavily rely on the theory obtained through statistics. Thus, having extensive knowledge in statistics help initiate the first step towards an AI career.
  2. Online certification programs in AI skills: Opting for AI certifications will boost your credibility amongst potential employers. Certifications will also enhance your earning potential and increase your marketability. If you’re looking for a change and to be a part of something impactful; join the AI bandwagon. The IT industry is growing at breakneck speed; it is now that businesses are realizing how important it is to hire professionals with certain skillsets. Specifically, those who are certified in AI are becoming sought after in the job market.
  3. Hands-on experience: There’s a vast difference in theory and practical knowledge. One needs to familiarize themselves with the latest tools and technologies used by the industry. This is possible only if the individual is willing to work on projects and build things from scratch.

Despite all the promises, AI does prove to be a threat to job holders, if they don’t upskill or reskill themselves. The upcoming AI revolution will definitely disrupt the way we work, however, it will leave room for humans to perform more creative jobs in the future corporate world.

So a word of advice is to be prepared and stay future ready.

The Data Scientist Job and the Future

A dramatic upswing of data science jobs facilitating the rise of data science professionals to encounter the supply-demand gap.

By 2024, a shortage of 250,000 data scientists is predicted in the United States alone. Data scientists have emerged as one of the hottest careers in the data world today. With digitization on the rise, IoT and cognitive technologies have generated a large number of data sets, thus, making it difficult for an organization to unlock the value of these data.

With the constant rise in data science, those fail to upgrade their skill set may be putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage. No doubt data science is still deemed as one of the best job titles today, but the battles for expert professionals in this field is fierce.

The hiring market for a data science professional has gone into overdrive making the competition even tougher. New online institutions have come up with credible certification programs for professionals to get skilled. Not to forget, organizations are in a hunt to hire candidates with data science and big data analytics skills, as these are the top skills that are going around in the market today. In addition to this, it is also said that typically it takes around 45 days for these job roles to be filled, which is five days longer than the average U.S. market.

Data science

One might come across several definitions for data science, however, a simple definition states that it is an accumulation of data, which is arranged and analyzed in a manner that will have an effect on businesses. According to Google, a data scientist is one who has the ability to analyze and interpret complex data, being able to make use of the statistic of a website and assist in business decision making. Also, one needs to be able to choose and build appropriate algorithms and predictive models that will help analyze data in a viable manner to uncover positive insights from it.

A data scientist job is now a buzzworthy career in the IT industry. It has driven a wider workforce to get skilled in this job role, as most organizations are becoming data-driven. It’s pretty obnoxious being a data professional will widen job opportunities and offer more chances of getting lucrative salary packages today. Similarly, let us look at a few points that define the future of data science to be bright.

  • Data science is still an evolving technology

A career without upskilling often remains redundant. To stay relevant in the industry, it is crucial that professionals get themselves upgraded in the latest technologies. Data science evolves to have an abundance of job opportunities in the coming decade. Since, the supply is low, it is a good call for professionals looking to get skilled in this field.

  • Organizations are still facing a challenge using data that is generated

Research by 2018 Data Security Confidence from Gemalto estimated that 65% of the organizations could not analyze or categorized the data they had stored. However, 89% said they could easily analyze the information prior they have a competitive edge. Being a data science professional, one can help organizations make progress with the data that is being gathered to draw positive insights.

  • In-demand skill-set

Most of the data scientists possess to have the in-demand skill set required by the current industry today. To be specific, since 2013 it is said that there has been a 256% increase in the data science jobs. Skills such as Machine Learning, R and Python programming, Predictive analytics, AI, and Data Visualization are the most common skills that employers seek from the candidates of today.

  • A humongous amount of data growing everyday

There are around 5 billion consumers that interact with the internet on a daily basis, this number is set to increase to 6 billion in 2025, thus, representing three-quarters of the world’s population.

In 2018, 33 zettabytes of data were generated and projected to rise to 133 zettabytes by 2025. The production of data will only keep increasing and data scientists will be the ones standing to guard these enterprises effectively.

  • Advancement in career

According to LinkedIn, data scientist was found to be the most promising career of 2019. The top reason for this job role to be ranked the highest is due to the salary compensation people were being awarded, a range of $130,000. The study also predicts that being a data scientist, there are high chances or earning a promotion giving a career advancement score of 9 out of 10.

Precisely, data science is still a fad job and will not cease until the foreseeable future.

Predictive maintenance in Semiconductor Industry: Part 1

The process in the semiconductor industry is highly complicated and is normally under consistent observation via the monitoring of the signals coming from several sensors. Thus, it is important for the organization to detect the fault in the sensor as quickly as possible. There are existing traditional statistical based techniques however modern semiconductor industries have the ability to produce more data which is beyond the capability of the traditional process.

For this article, we will be using SECOM dataset which is available here.  A lot of work has already done on this dataset by different authors and there are also some articles available online. In this article, we will focus on problem definition, data understanding, and data cleaning.

This article is only the first of three parts, in this article we will discuss the business problem in hand and clean the dataset. In second part we will do feature engineering and in the last article we will build some models and evaluate them.

Problem definition

This data which is collected by these sensors not only contains relevant information but also a lot of noise. The dataset contains readings from 590. Among the 1567 examples, there are only 104 fail cases which means that out target variable is imbalanced. We will look at the distribution of the dataset when we look at the python code.

NOTE: For a detailed description regarding this cases study I highly recommend to read the following research papers:

  •  Kerdprasop, K., & Kerdprasop, N. A Data Mining Approach to Automate Fault Detection Model Development in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Process.
  • Munirathinam, S., & Ramadoss, B. Predictive Models for Equipment Fault Detection in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Process.

Data Understanding and Preparation

Let’s start exploring the dataset now. The first step as always is to import the required libraries.

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

There are several ways to import the dataset, you can always download and then import from your working directory. However, I will directly import using the link. There are two datasets: one contains the readings from the sensors and the other one contains our target variable and a timestamp.

# Load dataset
url = "https://archive.ics.uci.edu/ml/machine-learning-databases/secom/secom.data"
names = ["feature" + str(x) for x in range(1, 591)]
secom_var = pd.read_csv(url, sep=" ", names=names, na_values = "NaN") 


url_l = "https://archive.ics.uci.edu/ml/machine-learning-databases/secom/secom_labels.data"
secom_labels = pd.read_csv(url_l,sep=" ",names = ["classification","date"],parse_dates = ["date"],na_values = "NaN")

The first step before doing the analysis would be to merge the dataset and we will us pandas library to merge the datasets in just one line of code.

#Data cleaning
#1. Combined the two datasets
secom_merged = pd.merge(secom_var, secom_labels,left_index=True,right_index=True)

Now let’s check out the distribution of the target variable

secom_merged.target.value_counts().plot(kind = 'bar')

Figure 1: Distribution of Target Variable

From Figure 1 it can be observed that the target variable is imbalanced and it is highly recommended to deal with this problem before the model building phase to avoid bias model. Xgboost is one of the models which can deal with imbalance classes but one needs to spend a lot of time to tune the hyper-parameters to achieve the best from the model.

The dataset in hand contains a lot of null values and the next step would be to analyse these null values and remove the columns having null values more than a certain percentage. This percentage is calculated based on 95th quantile of null values.

#2. Analyzing nulls
secom_rmNa.isnull().sum().sum()
secom_nulls = secom_rmNa.isnull().sum()/len(secom_rmNa)
secom_nulls.describe()
secom_nulls.hist()

Figure 2: Missing percentge in each column

Now we calculate the 95th percentile of the null values.

x = secom_nulls.quantile(0.95)
secom_rmNa = secom_merged[secom_merged.columns[secom_nulls < x]]

Figure 3: Missing percentage after removing columns with more then 45% Na

From figure 3 its visible that there are still missing values in the dataset and can be dealt by using many imputation methods. The most common method is to impute these values by mean, median or mode. There also exist few sophisticated techniques like K-nearest neighbour and interpolation.  We will be applying interpolation technique to our dataset. 

secom_complete = secom_rmNa.interpolate()

To prepare our dataset for analysis we should remove some more unwanted columns like columns with near zero variance. For this we can calulate number of unique values in each column and if there is only one unique value we can delete the column as it holds no information.

df = secom_complete.loc[:,secom_complete.apply(pd.Series.nunique) != 1]

## Let's check the shape of the df
df.shape
(1567, 444)

We have applied few data cleaning techniques and reduced the features from 590 to 444. However, In the next article we will apply some feature engineering techniques and adress problems like the curse of dimensionality and will also try to balance the target variable.

Bleiben Sie dran!!

The 6 most in-demand AI jobs and how to get them

A press release issued in December 2017 by Gartner, Inc explicitly states, 2020 will be a pivotal year in Artificial Intelligence-related employment dynamics. It states AI will become “a positive job motivator”.

However, the Gartner report also sounds some alarm bells. “The number of jobs affected by AI will vary by industry-through 2019, healthcare, the public sector and education will see continuously growing job demand while manufacturing will be hit the hardest. Starting in 2020, AI-related job creation will cross into positive territory, reaching two million net-new jobs in 2025,” the press release adds.

This phenomenon is expected to strike worldwide, as a report carried by a leading Indian financial daily, The Hindu BusinessLine states. “The year 2018 will see a sharp increase in demand for professionals with skills in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, even as people with capabilities in Big Data and Analytics will continue to be the most sought after by companies across sectors, say sources in the recruitment industry,” this news article says.

Before we proceed, let us understand what exactly does Artificial Intelligence or AI mean.

Understanding Artificial Intelligence

Encyclopedia Britannica explains AI as: “The ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with human beings.” Classic examples of AI are computer games that can be played solo on a computer. Of these, one can be a human while the other is the reasoning, analytical and other intellectual property a computer. Chess is one example of such a game. While playing Chess with a computer, AI will analyze your moves. It will predict and reason why you made them and respond accordingly.

Similarly, AI imitates functions of the human brain to a very great extent. Of course, AI can never match the prowess of humans but it can come fairly close.

What this means?

This means that AI technology will advance exponentially. The main objective for developing AI will not aim at reducing dependence on humans that can result in loss of jobs or mass retrenchment of employees. Having a large population of unemployed people is harmful to economy of any country. Secondly, people without money will not be able to utilize most functions that are performed through AI, which will render the technology useless.

The advent and growing popularity of AI can be summarized in words of Bill Gates. According to the founder of Microsoft, AI will have a positive impact on people’s lives. In an interview with Fox Business, he said, people would have more spare time that would eventually lead to happier life. However he cautions, it would be long before AI starts making any significant impact on our daily activities and jobs.

Career in AI

Since AI primarily aims at making human life better, several companies are testing the technology. Global online retailer Amazon is one amongst these. Banks and financial institutions, service providers and several other industries are expected to jump on the AI bandwagon in 2018 and coming years. Hence, this is the right time to aim for a career in AI. Currently, there exists a great demand for AI professionals. Here, we look at the top six employment opportunities in Artificial Intelligence.

Computer Vision Research Engineer

 A Computer Vision Research Engineer’s work includes research and analysis, developing software and tools, and computer vision technologies. The primary role of this job is to ensure customer experience that equals human interaction.

Business Intelligence Engineer

As the job designation implies, the role of a Business Intelligence Engineer is to gather data from multiple functions performed by AI such as marketing and collecting payments. It also involves studying consumer patterns and bridging gaps that AI leaves.

Data Scientist

A posting for Data Scientist on recruitment website Indeed describes Data Scientist in these words: “ A mixture between a statistician, scientist, machine learning expert and engineer: someone who has the passion for building and improving Internet-scale products informed by data. The ideal candidate understands human behavior and knows what to look for in the data.

Research and Development Engineer (AI)

Research & Development Engineers are needed to find ways and means to improve functions performed through Artificial Intelligence. They research voice and text chat conversations conducted by bots or robotic intelligence with real-life persons to ensure there are no glitches. They also develop better solutions to eliminate the gap between human and AI interactions.

Machine Learning Specialist

The job of a Machine Learning Specialist is rather complex. They are required to study patterns such as the large-scale use of data, uploads, common words used in any language and how it can be incorporated into AI functions as well as analyzing and improving existing techniques.

Researchers

Researchers in AI is perhaps the best-paid lot. They are required to research into various aspects of AI in any organization. Their role involves researching usage patterns, AI responses, data analysis, data mining and research, linguistic differences based on demographics and almost every human function that AI is expected to perform.

As with any other field, there are several other designations available in AI. However, these will depend upon your geographic location. The best way to find the demand for any AI job is to look for good recruitment or job posting sites, especially those specific to your region.

In conclusion

Since AI is a technology that is gathering momentum, it will be some years before there is a flood of people who can be hired as fresher or expert in this field. Consequently, the demand for AI professionals is rather high. Median salaries these jobs mentioned above range between US$ 100,000 to US$ 150,000 per year.

However, before leaping into AI, it is advisable to find out what other qualifications are required by employers. As with any job, some companies need AI experts that hold specific engineering degrees combined with additional qualifications in IT and a certificate that states you hold the required AI training. Despite, this is the best time to make a career in the AI sector.

My Desk for Data Science

In my last post I anounced a blog parade about what a data scientist’s workplace might look like.

Here are some photos of my desk and my answers to the questions:

How many monitors do you use (or wish to have)?

I am mostly working at my desk in my office with a tower PC and three monitors.
I definitely need at least three monitors to work productively as a data scientist. Who does not know this: On the left monitor the data model is displayed, on the right monitor the data mapping and in the middle I do my work: programming the analysis scripts.

What hardware do you use? Apple? Dell? Lenovo? Others?

I am note an Apple guy. When I need to work mobile, I like to use ThinkPad notebooks. The ThinkPads are (in my experience) very robust and are therefore particularly good for mobile work. Besides, those notebooks look conservative and so I’m not sad if there comes a scratch on the notebook. However, I do not solve particularly challenging analysis tasks on a notebook, because I need my monitors for that.

Which OS do you use (or prefer)? MacOS, Linux, Windows? Virtual Machines?

As a data scientist, I have to be able to communicate well with my clients and they usually use Microsoft Windows as their operating system. I also use Windows as my main operating system. Of course, all our servers run on Linux Debian, but most of my tasks are done directly on Windows.
For some notebooks, I have set up a dual boot, because sometimes I need to start native Linux, for all other cases I work with virtual machines (Linux Ubuntu or Linux Mint).

What are your favorite databases, programming languages and tools?

I prefer the Microsoft SQL Server (T-SQL), C# and Python (pandas, numpy, scikit-learn). This is my world. But my customers are kings, therefore I am working with Postgre SQL, MongoDB, Neo4J, Tableau, Qlik Sense, Celonis and a lot more. I like to get used to new tools and technologies again and again. This is one of the benefits of being a data scientist.

Which data dou you analyze on your local hardware? Which in server clusters or clouds?

There have been few cases yet, where I analyzed really big data. In cases of analyzing big data we use horizontally scalable systems like Hadoop and Spark. But we also have customers analyzing middle-sized data (more than 10 TB but less than 100 TB) on one big server which is vertically scalable. Most of my customers just want to gather data to answer questions on not so big amounts of data. Everything less than 10TB we can do on a highend workstation.

If you use clouds, do you prefer Azure, AWS, Google oder others?

Microsoft Azure! I am used to tools provided by Microsoft and I think Azure is a well preconfigured cloud solution.

Where do you make your notes/memos/sketches. On paper or digital?

My calender is managed digital, because I just need to know everywhere what appointments I have. But my I prefer to wirte down my thoughts on paper and that´s why I have several paper-notebooks.

Now it is your turn: Join our Blog Parade!

So what does your workplace look like? Show your desk on your blog until 31/12/2017 and we will show a short introduction of your post here on the Data Science Blog!

 

Data Science vs Data Engineering

The job of the Data Scientist is actually a fairly new trend, and yet other job titles are coming to us. “Is this really necessary?”, Some will ask. But the answer is clear: yes!

There are situations, every Data Scientist know: a recruiter calls, speaks about a great new challenge for a Data Scientist as you obviously claim on your LinkedIn profile, but in the discussion of the vacancy it quickly becomes clear that you have almost none of the required skills. This mismatch is mainly due to the fact that under the job of the Data Scientist all possible activity profiles, method and tool knowledge are summarized, which a single person can hardly learn in his life. Many open jobs, which are to be called under the name Data Science, describe rather the professional image of the Data Engineer.


Read this article in German:
“Data Science vs Data Engineering – Wo liegen die Unterschiede?“


What is a Data Engineer?

Data engineering is primarily about collecting or generating data, storing, historicalizing, processing, adapting and submitting data to subsequent instances. A Data Engineer, often also named as Big Data Engineer or Big Data Architect, models scalable database and data flow architectures, develops and improves the IT infrastructure on the hardware and software side, deals with topics such as IT Security , Data Security and Data Protection. A Data Engineer is, as required, a partial administrator of the IT systems and also a software developer, since he or she extends the software landscape with his own components. In addition to the tasks in the field of ETL / Data Warehousing, he also carries out analyzes, for example, to investigate data quality or user access. A Data Engineer mainly works with databases and data warehousing tools.

A Data Engineer is talented as an educated engineer or computer scientist and rather far away from the actual core business of the company. The Data Engineer’s career stages are usually something like:

  1. (Big) Data Architect
  2. BI Architect
  3. Senior Data Engineer
  4. Data Engineer

What makes a Data Scientist?

Although there may be many intersections with the Data Engineer’s field of activity, the Data Scientist can be distinguished by using his working time as much as possible to analyze the available data in an exploratory and targeted manner, to visualize the analysis results and to convert them into a red thread (storytelling). Unlike the Data Engineer, a data scientist rarely sees into a data center, because he picks up data via interfaces provided by the Data Engineer or provides by other resources.

A Data Scientist deals with mathematical models, works mainly with statistical procedures, and applies them to the data to generate knowledge. Common methods of Data Mining, Machine Learning and Predictive Modeling should be known to a Data Scientist. Data Scientists basically work close to the department and need appropriate expertise. Data Scientists use proprietary tools (e.g. Tools by IBM, SAS or Qlik) and program their own analyzes, for example, in Scala, Java, Python, Julia, or R. Using such programming languages and data science libraries (e.g. Mahout, MLlib, Scikit-Learn or TensorFlow) is often considered as advanced data science.

Data Scientists can have diverse academic backgrounds, some are computer scientists or engineers for electrical engineering, others are physicists or mathematicians, not a few have economical backgrounds. Common career levels could be:

  1. Chief Data Scientist
  2. Senior Data Scientist
  3. Data Scientist
  4. Data Analyst oder Junior Data Scientist

Data Scientist vs Data Analyst

I am often asked what the difference between a Data Scientist and a Data Analyst would be, or whether there would be a distinction criterion at all:

In my experience, the term Data Scientist stands for the new challenges for the classical concept of Data Analysts. A Data Analyst performs data analysis like a Data Scientist. More complex topics such as predictive analytics, machine learning or artificial intelligence are topics for a Data Scientist. In other words, a Data Scientist is a Data Analyst++ (one step above the Data Analyst).

And how about being a Business Analyst?

Business Analysts can (but need not) be Data Analysts. In any case, they have a very strong relationship with the core business of the company. Business Analytics is about analyzing business models and business successes. The analysis of business success is usually carried out by IT, and many business analysts are starting a career as Data Analyst now. Dashboards, KPIs and SQL are the tools of a good business analyst, but there might be a lot business analysts, who are just analysing business models by reading the newspaper…