Today, we are living at a time when the generation and consumption of vast amounts of information have become a part of our everyday lives, all over the world. It is not only we, cell-phone-wielding humans, who are creating data and information, but also, billions of devices that pervade all aspects of our lives. This includes everything from industrial equipment, to medical devices, household appliances, ATM and POS machines, weather monitoring devices, ubiquitous CCTV cameras, biometric devices, and more. In fact, on an average, we create as much as 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, every day, with 90 per cent of the existing data in the world having been generated within only the last three years.
All of this has led to the creation of a rich storehouse of information, waiting to be churned to extract useful insights, not only about machines and systems but also about humans and their behaviour. Such information can only increase in the future, especially with the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, and other advanced technology. In fact, projections by renowned American technology conglomerate Cisco estimate that there will be as many as 28.5 billion networked devices by 2022, up from 18 billion in 2017. Each of these devices will be generating and utilising vast quantities of data at every moment, creating more and more information in the world.
These insights can help Governments and Businesses formulate policies, make effective decisions, and create and offer useful products and applications that improve and enrich human experience, be it related to health, day-to-day living, or travel and hospitality, to name a few. We are already witnessing an influx of smart products and services based on data and information. For instance, today, we make use of smart apps on our cell phones, responsive call centres, smart household and office appliances, and even intelligent robots, while regularly taking for granted mundane events like the automatic detection and identification of friends and family from photos that we upload to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram!
Machine Learning experts and Data Scientists have been tirelessly working towards laying the mathematical foundations and creating the requisite programmatic tools that enable people with great application ideas to create solutions and products.
In the near future, the rate of data generation is only going to increase at an exponential rate. As a result, it will also lead to a growth in the number of applications in which such data can be advantageously used. Thus, the need of the hour will be people who understand how such data can be churned using these mathematical and programmatic tools to solve specific problems. This is where Data Scientists come in, along with the field of Data Science, as a whole.
In fact, IBM estimates that by 2020, the demand for Data Science and Analytics related jobs will grow by close to 364,000, to be roughly 2,720,000. A report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the other hand, states that there will be as many as 11.5 million data science job openings by 2026. The number of Data Science enabled people, however, will be comparatively lower, creating a huge gap between the demand and supply. Thus, it is evident that the world is rapidly waking up to the need for Data Science professionals, making this the perfect time to pursue a future in it. Not only will such professionals witness the shift towards a world driven by data science, but they will also be able to leverage it to create a greener, more rewarding pastures in the future.
-- Dr Vinay Kulkarni, Director, Faculty and Mentor, Aegis School of Business and Telecommunications...