Call for collective action to make Scotland a world leader in data

Graduates of the MSc project at Barras Art and Design. Picture: TSPL
Graduates of the MSc project at Barras Art and Design. Picture: TSPL
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Scotland's data community must act as a collective if the country is to become one of the world's  leading data economies.

That was one the messages that came out of the PATHWAYS event, held in late August. organised to mark the Data Lab MSc students of 2018/19 coming to the end of their programme.

The programme also includes a placement element where students are placed with companies that have data problem to solve.

The MSc. Placement Project is a collaborative effort between Scottish Universities, Scottish Organisations, MBN and The Data Lab, with the aim of developing the next generation of Data Science talent and skills required by industry in Scotland.

READ MORE: MBN hails record data science student placements
The Placement Project allows Students the opportunity to complete a paid three month industrial placement for their dissertation project.

The conference featured speakers from the private and public sector discuss what career options lay ahead for the latest graduates.

Robin Huggins, director of Academy and Client Services at MBN, who helped to coordinate the MSc. Placement Project said: "We have incredible potential as a nation when it comes to data.

"I believe Scotland can be the data capital of the world but it is not going to happen by itself.

"We need to mobilise as and not wait for others to do it for us.

"One of the biggest problems that we have is the STEM skills gap.

"We as a collective need to inspire the next generation visiting any place of learning and speaking to the children who are coming through about the potential and opportunities in our sector."

"There is a lot of work needs done and it starts now."

The MSc Data Lab placement saw over 100 students placed with 84 firms across Scotland.

Gillian Docherty OBE, CEO of The Data Lab, said: “There are huge opportunities for Scotland to become a world-leader in data science, but nurturing future talent in this area is something we as a country must focus on if we are to reach our full potential.

“One of our key priorities at The Data Lab is to build skills and grow talent. One way we do this is through our MSc programme, which has seen hundreds of students placed across a range of Scottish organisations to help those businesses realise and harness the power and value of their data.

“It’s through collaborative initiatives like these that we see knowledge exchange and innovation really take place. These are fundamental, core values the technology community must embody wholeheartedly if we are to maximise on the opportunities data presents in Scotland.”

READ MORE: Hiring for a data job? Think carefully about the job description