The world is changing and moving, jobs are changing. A lot is happening all at once. A few years back, data was rare information, these days its easier, data is everywhere and there is a need for more data analysts. There is also a need for everyone to have knowledge of data as data analysis is now a part of every job. Deji tells us of his journey as a data analyst, skills needed for data analysis and so much more.
What does Deji Faniyan do?
I collect and extract actionable insights from data, these insights help clients make informed decisions. Part of my past work #BBNaija Report, over 11million tweets were collected and analyzed: http://bit.ly/2VlYH0z. Also, #SexForGrades report. My team and I collected and analyzed over 480000 tweets Analysis of the conversation: http://bit.ly/31I9zr7
The Big Questions
We asked Deji about the relevance of data, the impact of data on the future of work and how everyone can get knowledge of data.
1. You work a lot with data as you have shared. What are your thoughts on people acquiring data skills?
I strongly advise every young person out there to skill up, learn excel there is a lot it can offer, skills are what today’s labour market is all about not just degrees, we have a lot of young people looking jobs. My heart bleeds when I meet them.
Writing communication skill is a big thing in the data science industry. Report has to be written by someone. The need for persons with multi-skills will continue to increase at an astronomical rate.
Learn any software that can analyze data but remember that they are tools. You also have to prove you can use them. Do projects and create a portfolio for yourself.
2. What jobs do you think will be impacted by progression in the data science space?
I think most of all the jobs that require repetition, e.g data entry officers, receptionist, telemarketers maybe drivers someday in Nigeria. Jobs that involve regularly repeating things over and over again. A good illustration is the washing machine analysis.
3. Can you briefly explain this washing machine analysis?
Yes. Washing a cloth happens with a continuous and regular pattern of behaviour. So this data was collected, analysed and used to build a machine that spins clothes in different directions creating pressure and almost the same regular pattern of behaviour from a human hand that gives the same or better results in good time.
4. Nice! Are you of the school of thought that humans will be rendered jobless due to this data revolution?
Every industrial revolution that happened had a particular trend in common. Creation of new jobs and disappearing of some old or existing ones. There will always be jobs, the issue is can we get people to fit into it?
Today’s jobs require that people be multi-skilled. How much more the new waves coming with the 4th industrial revolution. This will require that we all bring a different experience to the table.
The jobs of the future will require certification in different fields. Let me explain properly. The first and second industrial revolution happened at different timelines in different economies.
Industrialization happened in the US 1870–1916 while in China it did not start until 1953. People needed to be able to read and write to get a “good job” in factories. As managers while unskilled were to pack products.
When big machines came that could do the jobs of 20 persons, people were laid off and there was a need for new roles like Quality Assurance but they needed some form of education. Cars came and drivers were needed, horse riders had to learn how to drive.
Here in Nigeria, we are just now “experiencing” the third industrial revolution in the last decade, access to personal computers internet, mobile phones. And most especially internet data is getting cheaper and accessible.
With all of this being said we all are creating data at an exponential rate so the need for data analysis is also growing at an exponential rate & we are playing catch up here so we have to double up. So, some jobs will disappear & new jobs will be created.
30 years ago in Nigeria did we have Front-end Developer as a job?
5. That’s an interesting point of view. Quite insightful. Are there any special skills needed for data analysis?
No. Just an inquisitive mind that can ask questions and learn new tools such as Power Bi, SQL, R, Python, Azure etc. Education is no longer what it used to be.
6. Given the associated complexities of gaining data intelligence, where can beginners start from?
Excel/Power Bi is a Good place to start with and then progress. Data Science is a journey. You start from where you are most comfortable with. I have also seen young people start from programming it all depends on you and where you are.
The more experience and alternate skill you bring to data science the better. Your domain knowledge is the edge that would make you stand out. Bring your writing skills, design, social media. It is a field applicable to all other fields.
7. Any final words of advice?
The best way to predict the future is to prepare for it. We all have to start realigning our strategies for the Fourth Industrial revolution. This revolution is on its way. It’s coming in daily doses. You can also read #DearAnalyst for more insights.