SAS Divas and Dudes in Data Science sparks passion among high school students

As part of its ongoing commitment to help South Africa develop the skills needed to meet the high demand for data science talent, global analytics leader SAS, in collaboration with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Statistical Sciences, hosted a Divas and Dudes in Data Science online event for 11th grade math learners on October 28, 2022.

The event was designed to introduce these learners to the exciting world of analytics and data science as possible career choices. Divas and Dudes in Data Science is a platform for learners to virtually meet analysts and data scientists who share their insights with learners on what data science careers entail and how best to pursue a career in this domain.

Dr. Humphrey Brydon, head of the department of statistics and demographic studies at UWC, discussed the academic path for students who want to become data scientists. The event also saw keynote speaker Dr Julia Keddie take learners on a journey of what a career in the field looks like drawing on her 20 years of industry experience as an analyst. and data scientist. Finally, speaker Dr. Rechelle Jacobs explained how she became a data scientist and academic. Dr. Jacobs has 15 years of experience and completed his doctorate in September.

“Data science is an interdisciplinary field that solves complex problems using advanced analytics. UWC has developed its MSc in Statistical Science majoring in Data Science with industry partnerships to provide our students with the ideal combination of theoretical and practical skills to pursue a career as a data scientist. Divas and Dudes in Data Science is a crucial platform to showcase the potential of data science and spark the passion of high school learners as we work with SAS to address this critical skills shortage not only in South Africa. South, but also beyond the country’s borders,” said Professor Rénette Blignaut, Head of the Data Science Masters Program at UWC.

Data literacy is a powerful skill not only for today’s workplace, but also for the emerging and expanding digital economy. The amount of potentially useful data being generated is growing exponentially, with global data creation expected to reach over 180 zettabytes over the next three years. Data is essential for advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) that are shaping the digital age. This means that data skills have become the epitome of how people live, work and play today, tomorrow and into the future.

“Solving real-world problems is what drives business innovation and impact. Organizations become data-driven by design, but they need the right skills to unlock their true potential. That’s why the work UWC is doing to create a passion for data in high school students is so important. Divas and Dudes in Data Science sheds light on what it takes to become a data scientist and the difference the student can make in the world. We are delighted to be part of initiatives such as these and to provide learners with the specialist software needed to practice,” said André Zitzke, Head of Global Academic Programs Africa for SAS.

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