UQ and SAS collaborate to train data scientists for a thriving digital economy

10 Dec 2020

The University of Queensland’s collaboration with digital analytics company SAS is providing technology students with the industry skills and connections needed to be successful in the booming field of data science and machine learning.

Since 2018, SAS Academy has provided UQ’s Master of Data Science students, as well as students from other tech-based UQ programs, with in-depth training and professional certifications, covering SAS, R and Python, at discounted rates and for UQ course credit.

UQ’s Associate Professor in Data Science Gianluca Demartini said it was important for students to value-add to their university qualifications by also gaining industry certifications like these.

“It’s particularly valuable for Master of Data Science students to learn how to use data science tools that are industry standard and complement their solid academic and technical skillsets that they learn at university,” said Associate Professor Demartini.

“This partnership with SAS allows us to deliver industry-ready graduates who are more employable and who may benefit from accelerated career pathways.”

UQ Master of Computer Science (Management) graduate and data science consultant Gagandeep Singh said his UQ degree, and the additional skills he gained through SAS Academy, gave him the confidence boost he needed to take on new clients and run a successful business.

“Gaining this confidence was a turning point for me, and developing a strong professional network while I studied helped with this,” said Mr Singh.

“I learned to use new tools such as SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Viya, SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Studio and SAS Data Management.

“Learning these techniques in one tool really makes it easy to implement the same concept in another tool such as Power BI or Tableau.”

According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, the shortage of data scientists and analysts could reach 250,000 by 2024.

SAS Head of Academic Outreach, Ian Edwards said one of the biggest challenges facing industry was the need to find early-career talent.

“The SAS Global Academic Programs exists to partner with universities including UQ, to support the growth of the next generation of data scientists and engineers to enter the workplace and close the analytics skills gap,” said Mr Edwards.

Associate Professor Demartini believes the right people to pursue this rapidly growing field are those with a deep passion for grappling with the complexity of data analysis: someone who never stops learning.

“Data scientists are able to answer the question ‘What happened and why?’, and so critically – ‘What could happen next and so what should we do?’,” he said.

“They are able to effectively communicate and bridge the discussion between technical and data topics with business and outcomes-focused themes.

“The ongoing evolution of artificial intelligence and machine learning is and will continue to significantly impact the domain of data science and how business and industry develops its analytics culture and capability to best leverage these new capabilities.

“The development of data science and AI will continue to transform our world with unprecedented speed and with the increasing amounts of data being produced and the needs of industry to analyse this data to make critical business decisions, data scientists are going to be pivotal to organisations across all industries.”

For more information about the UQ Master of Data Science, visit the UQ Future Students website, or to find out about the training available through the SAS Academy, please visit the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

SAS also supports a generous cash prize for high-achieving data science students, read more about the SAS Merit Prize for Data Science.