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Business, technology, data science skills crucial, says Coursera report

SOURCE: Robyn Beck / AFP
IR4.0 has called for a new set of critical skills across the business, technology, and data science.


By U2B Staff 

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The Global Skills Index report for 2020 by Coursera shows a clear indication that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has called for new skills in areas across business, technology, and data science.

According to the report,  over two-thirds of the enrolments by governments, companies, and campuses on the Coursera platform are in courses teaching business, technology, and data science skills.

There is a clear need to prioritise skills in these key areas as businesses compete in an increasingly digital world.

However, business leaders may struggle to identify which skills are important for their businesses to thrive now and in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been pushing businesses to embrace remote work and as a result, digital skills have become essential in helping companies respond to the crisis in the short-term and drive long-term transformation.

Coursera’s report adds that digital skills have become an integral part of business survival during the pandemic, from managing change and driving online services to automate processes that can no longer be done in person.

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The report findings show that European countries dominate in all three skill domains. “The 15 most-skilled countries globally are in Europe, with Switzerland, Russia, and Finland topping the list.”

Unlike its European counterparts, the UK lags behind, ranking 23rd in overall computer science skills and 24th in overall data science skills.

The lack of strong data science skills is having a notable impact. As the UK is increasingly short on talent, and demand for data scientists and data engineers has tripled over the past five years.

Even more alarmingly, 47% of the region’s organisations are currently struggling to fill their data science roles, with 37% also struggling to fill data engineering positions.

Similarly, the United States is also reported to be lagging in some tech areas. This gap can be seen in human-computer interaction, operating systems, and software engineering, all of which are essential skills for digital transformation.

The data also reveals that the United States is only emerging in security engineering, a skill that is top of mind for the nation’s business leaders.

Additionally, it reported that 50% of CEOs in the United States are “extremely concerned” about cyber threats indicating general unreadiness of business to survive in the digital era.

Evidently, among the areas that businesses in the United States should prioritise on in terms of technology are computer networking, operating systems, and software engineering.

In fact, 64% of United States executives believe they will need to retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce between now and 2023 due to advancing automation and digitisation.

As businesses grow their digital capabilities, there is a growing need for skills in cloud computing, internet of things, mobile app development, programming languages, web development, and software development.

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In the Asia Pacific region, similar trends can be seen, where employability depends on strong tech and data skills.

The Coursera report states that the “region’s overall tech and data science skills are lagging, with major skills deficits in math, statistical programming, and software engineering.”

As digital transformation and uncertainty in business create a long-lasting impact around the globe, countries that are best poised to succeed are investing heavily in education and retraining in these three areas.