Growing number of students choosing data science degrees amid calls to tackle workforce shortage
Students rush to data science degrees as demand for qualified graduates grows, with enrollment increasing by up to 400% at one institution, new figures from Queensland show.
- South East Queensland Universities Introduced New Data Science Degrees
- Experts say the role of data in the success of start-ups has boosted demand
- More needs to be done to encourage greater diversity among students in the field
However, despite the increase in enrollment in the field, the demand for labor still exceeds the number of graduates and skilled workers.
Griffith University introduced data science into two dual undergraduate degrees in 2019. Enrollment has since grown by 400%, a spokesperson said.
“The growth in enrollment in these degrees has been strong, and we have since introduced two more double degrees, as well as numerous data analytics and data science offerings at the postgraduate level,” a spokesperson said. from Griffith University.
University of Queensland Professor Shazia Sadiq said the demand for digital skills in general will increase for the foreseeable future.
“We are seeing an interest from students (…) who are leaving school, even undergraduates. They aspire to that side of things; artificial intelligence is very attractive to young people for various people. reasons, ”she said.
Savvy students “long-lasting careers”
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Faculty of Science Executive Dean Professor Troy Farrell said students understand these skills will protect their future careers.
The university launched its Master of Data Analytics in 2019 with an enrollment of 69 students. This number rose to 139 students in 2020 and 209 students in 2021.
“On top of that, QUT introduced an undergraduate Bachelor of Data Science in 2021 with an enrollment of 41 students,” said Professor Farrell.
“QUT students understand that such skills will ensure the sustainability of their careers, as the ability to understand and derive meaning and knowledge from data is quickly becoming a core competency in most areas of business and in most areas. areas of our economy. “
Dr Evan Shellshear, chief analyst at Brisbane-based tech company Biarri, said the key role data played in the success and growth of internet start-ups was driving demand for data scientists.
“The pressure on wages and the need for people to fill these roles will only increase.”
UQ introduces several diplomas to meet demand
The University of Queensland has also seen “rapid growth” in demand for its undergraduate and postgraduate programs in data science.
“We have seen an increase in enrollment to around 700 students in the five years since the programs have been active,” a spokesperson said.
“UQ has introduced several new degrees to meet this demand, including a master’s degree in data science and a master’s degree in business analysis at the postdoctoral level, and the bachelor’s degree in computer science at the undergraduate level.
“These degrees provide students with the data literacy skills that businesses are embracing to accelerate growth through data-driven transformations.”
At Queensland higher education institutions, the number of offers in information technology fields has increased by 25% in five years, according to the Queensland Tertiary Admission Center.
However, Prof Sadiq said there is still a lot to be done to increase the diversity of students studying in the field.
“We definitely need to get more women interested. It’s very typical of anything STEM-related… which just isn’t acceptable.”