Data scientists are in short supply. But so too are managers that understand data science and machine learning enough to spot the opportunities for using these disciplines to optimize their businesses.
McKinsey Global Institute has projected that by 2018, the U.S. alone will face a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts with the necessary analytics and data science expertise to fill demand.
The business side of machine learning
To combat this problem, Data science automation specialist DataRobot announced today that it has updated its DataRobot University curriculum with Data Science for Executives, a half-day offering that teaches executives interested in the benefits of advanced data science how to identify opportunities to optimize their business using machine learning.
"If you look at the success of future companies, we think it's dependent on three things," says Jeremy Achin, co-founder and CEO of DataRobot. "One, the ability for people in the company to spot opportunities where they can use machine learning to optimize the business. This is really at the heart of the DataRobot University Data Science for Executives program. Two, the ability to execute on those projects. It's one thing to be able to find all these opportunities, but you have to be able to execute. Many companies have a backlog of projects they want to solve with data science and machine learning, but there's a shortage of data scientists. The third thing is accuracy. You have to be able to measure a company's ability to use machine learning to optimize their business."
Achin notes that over the past several years, the elements required to capitalize on machine learning have changed. The only requirements needed to use machine learning now, he says, are knowledge of the business problem and knowledge of the data. Tools like DataRobot's automated machine learning platform, he says, mean that centralized data science teams aren't essential.
"We automate all the programming," he says. "They don't have to learn a new program or statistics. They don't have to learn the algorithms. It's all about the domain knowledge."
By data scientists, for data scientists
The course offerings, taught and designed by expert data scientists, cover a wide range of topics, including, fundamentally, what sorts of problems machine learning can solve and which sorts of problems aren't well-suited to machine learning. The Data Science for Executives course includes a workshop intended to help each participant uncover three to five use cases for machine learning in their business that they can start working on immediately.
"We're going to teach them enough that their data science organization can't really bullshit them," Achin says. "They'll be able to have a conversation about an important project that they think is key to achieving results next year and challenge the data science team and ask them good questions."
DataRobot will offer an abbreviated Data Science for Executives session at Hadoop World + Strata in New York City later this week, and will host regularly scheduled classes in a number of cities, but most courses will be taught through private sessions for corporate clients seeking education for their executive teams.
Other DataRobot University offerings include the following:
- DataRobot Essentials. Provides expert advice on best practices throughout the machine learning life cycle, with hands-on examples using the DataRobot platform.
- Advanced DataRobot with Python. Advanced training including use of Python with DataRobot and the DataRobot Application Programming Interface.
- DataRobot Custom Client Training. On-site training customized to an organization's specific data environment, team and predictive analytics projects.
- Data Science Team Development. A real-world, project-based curriculum to help teams learn what the world's best data scientists know.
"DataRobot has attracted some of the world's best data scientists, and their insights are at the core of the DataRobot University curriculum," Sylvain Jaume, Ph.D. in Data Science and Business Analytics, said in a statement today. "By emphasizing the key skills data scientists really need, DataRobot shifts the focus of machine learning practice from algorithmic details to rapid, effective and widespread application."