Massive uptake of data science courses in Africa


SAS Chief Executive Officer, Jim Goodnight

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MORE than 400 individuals from around Africa have shown interest in data science skills courses made available for free by a global analytics company amid the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The decision by SAS to make the courses free during the peak of the pandemic recognises the importance of these skills current and relevant.

Jim Goodnight, the SAS Chief Executive Officer, made the decision to make the courses free to access until the end of June.

As the demand for qualified data scientists continues to grow both internationally and in South Africa, SAS’ Academy for Data Science is offering interested people and organisations globally the chance to invest in education and develop these skills.

Recent research indicates that demand for data scientists is booming. It is projected to increase in the next decade as companies move towards digital transformation, and big data, machine learning.

This is also as data analytics become entrenched in businesses globally.

“A lot of people are seeing the opportunities in building a career around data science. The response to the online learning has been great,” said Adesh Nathalal, Education Manager at SAS.

Meanwhile, as part of its commitment to ongoing skills development for data and analytics professionals and interested parties, SAS is running an ongoing webinar series that is presented at no charge to participants.

At a recent webinar, an attendee, Shannon Starkey, received a SAS Academy for Data Science licence to the value of R60 000 (US$3 510).

Starkey is a Senior Data Analyst for e-commerce retailer, NetFlorist.

The licence encompasses Data Curation, Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.

Each normally costs R20 000 to attend, or R50 000 for those wishing to complete all courses in a calendar year.

The SAS Academy for Data Science started the course as an in-person three-month intensive on-site programme at the SAS headquarters in America.

Since 2018, to make the programme globally available, the courses have been re-engineered for online learning.

The comprehensive course has either a six-month or a 12-month completion window, with either four or two hours a week required respectively to complete the course.

– CAJ News