3 Reasons Why Gen Z Should Learn Data Skills

updated on 15 February 2024

Generation Z,  those of you born after 1997, are the most diverse, tech-savvy and socially conscious generation in history. 

They have grown up with the internet, social media and mobile devices, and they are not afraid to use them to express their opinions, interests and passions.

But what about their data skills?

First, let's understand the term "Data skills", these are the ability to collect, analyse, interpret and communicate data in order to solve problems, make decisions and create value.

In a digitally driven world, data skills are essential for many careers, you'll probably think of the fields of data science, data analytics, data engineering and business intelligence first.

But data is everywhere and used by everyone:

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ป Marketing roles and social media account roles rely on data for insights and how well a reach, interaction, traction, engagement etc a post or campaign is getting, and where to focus efforts next.

๐Ÿค Those working in sales rely on customer account data and new customer acquisition data to make informed decisions and sales pitches.

๐Ÿ† The world of sport utilises an incredible amount of data; athletes, coaches, nutritionists, physio's, conditioning coaches and analysts use multiple data sources to improve performance and get the edge to win.  

๐Ÿ‘ฎโ€โ™‚๏ธ The police force use data and data science to solve crimes, identify suspects, and prevent criminal activities. Identifying trends through multiple data sets helps anticipate where crime could happen and they can intervene and prevent.

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŒพEven, farmers are use data and data science to decide how much water, fertilizer, and other inputs are needed to grow and harvest the best crop.

You are a data ninja, too!

Data isn't this overwhelming maths driven big bank of numbers and graphs that some people assume.

In fact, you are a data expert. You calculate and make decisions every single day and in  ways you may never even considered:

๐Ÿช Cooking. When you follow a recipe, you are using data to measure the ingredients, set the temperature and time, and check the results. Often you'll use data sets to compare different meals, find new ones, or modify them according to what you like, (double cheese and no pickle for me please!)

 ๐Ÿ›๏ธShopping. When you shop online or in-store, we are using data to compare prices, features and reviews of different products. Some use data to track spending, budget, and savings, mostly through our banking apps. Platforms like Amazon use data to recommend products, offer discounts, and personalise your experience too.

๐Ÿฟ Entertainment: When you watch a film, listen to music, or play a game, you are using data to choose what you like, rate it, and share it with others. Often we also use data to discover new content, follow our favourite artists or creators, or create our own. Instagram, YouTube, and Netflix etc. use data to suggest content, optimize quality, and analyse trends.

๐Ÿฉบ Health: Most of us exercise, eat, sleep, or monitor our health, we are using data to track our progress, goals, and well-being (My smart watch literally tracks it all for me!). Most of us use apps to use data to measure our vital signs, provide feedback, and alert us of any issues. 

So, with all that in mind, here's my 3 reasons why learning data skills is a great career move.

Reason 1: Data skills are in high demand and offer great career opportunities

Data is everywhere and it is growing exponentially, itโ€™s not just numbers and text, but also images, videos, audio, geospatial and sensor data. All this data needs to be processed, analysed and turned into insights that can help businesses, governments and individuals make better decisions and improve their performance. This is where having data skills can come in very handy.

๐Ÿ”ญ Data skills are among the most sought-after skills in the UK and around the world. According to a report by Nesta, there were over 600,000 online job postings for data-related roles in the UK in 2019, which accounted for 8% of all online job postings.

๐Ÿ“ˆ The demand for data skills has tripled in the past 5 years and it is expected to continue to grow as more sectors adopt data-driven approaches. 

๐Ÿ’ท Data professionals are well-paid, with an average salary of ยฃ40,000, which is higher than the national average of ยฃ30,000.

Reason 2: Data skills are transferable and adaptable

๐Ÿง  Data skills are transferable across different domains and contexts, as they involve core competencies such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and communication, you'll gain an understanding of complex thinking, identify patterns and trends, test hypotheses and generate new ideas.

๐Ÿ’ฅ Working with data improves your communication, because you'll be using visualisations, stories and narratives to convey their findings and recommendations.

๐ŸƒKeep up with the fast-paced and ever-changing world of data and technology helps you embrace and adapt well with new opportunities and challenges.

Reason 3: Data skills are fun and rewarding

Data skills can unleash your curiosity and creativity, as you explore different datasets, ask interesting questions and discover new insights, you can work on projects that align with your values and interests, giving you a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Many online courses, platforms and resources teach data skills in an interactive and fun way, check out:

DataCamp offers online courses on data science topics such as Python, R, SQL, machine learning and statistics

Kaggle is an online community of data enthusiasts that hosts competitions, datasets and notebooks for data analysis and machine learning.

Tableau Public is a free software that allows users to create and share stunning data visualisations.

Makeover Monday is a weekly social media challenge that invites users to improve a given data visualisation.

Generation UK is a non-profit organisation that provides free training programmes on data analytics and other digital skills for young people who are unemployed or underemployed.

If you are a member of Generation Z, or know someone who is, I encourage you to learn data skills, they not just for the future, but for the present. 

๐Ÿ˜ŽโœŒ๏ธ You've got this!

Gem Hallett, miFuture Founder

www.miFuture.co.uk | @miFutureSkills

Read more