Data science and data literacy are critical, as we live in an increasingly data-driven society. Greater data literacy among all students will create more data-savvy graduates, who will meet workforce demand and better position the US to meet challenges, whether they relate to the economy, national security, AI, health, education, or manufacturing.
In addition, we constantly interact with data, both in our personal lives and in the workplace. Investment in data science and literacy education will pay dividends for personal well-being and for building a modern workforce.
We constantly interact with data:
- We read news articles reporting the results of medical studies, surveys, and political polling
- We watch sports and track the stats of our favorite players and fantasy sports teams
- We encounter data-based claims on social media
- We follow the performance of the stock market and cryptocurrency
- Our medications are tested in randomized controlled trials to assess their efficacy and safety
- The content suggestions we see on Netflix, Spotify, social media, and targeted advertising are generated using data
- Data are used to inform policy decisions across different levels of government
- In each of these cases, we do not necessarily see the underlying data, but we are still affected by them
- We generate data when we buy things, search the web, tweet or post on Facebook, and even when we move about
- We participate in surveys and medical studies
- Information such as our medical and credit histories are part of data sets
Data science and data literacy are critical for building a modern workforce:
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there was an over 50% increase in the number of people employed in the "Mathematical Science Occupations" from 2016 to 2021. This category includes data-driven roles such as actuaries, operations research analysts, statisticians, and data scientist
- BLS also projects data scientist and statistician roles to both be among the top 10 fastest growing occupations over the next decade
- Data science and statistics positions are often highly rated on job rankings. For example, they both rate among the top 10 jobs according to U.S. News
- Employers across many industries and fields are expressing an overwhelming need for data skills
- For example, as of November 2, 2022, a search for the word "data" returned 295 out of 912 jobs listed on the 3M careers website, 270 out of 324 jobs for John Deere, and 245 out of 604 jobs for Ford
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