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Results day: Will the digital skills gap become a gaping chasm?

I remember my results day clearly. I rocked up later than most in a bid to avoid the inevitable comparing of grades, which was a customary affair at my sixth form in Cambridge.

To me, back then, IT was IBM, men in suits and dusty server rooms. Now, it's a different story. It's had something of a rebrand. "Tech" is cool, relevant and touches all of us in some way. Since my last days at sixth form back in 2007 (when MySpace was still breathing), the way in which we communicate and do business has changed dramatically. Digital skills have extended outside of more traditional tech ventures into finance, publishing and retail, and consequently demand for coders, developers, and the like now far exceeds demand.

Had I known this ten years ago, maybe I'd have opted to study something more scientific at school.

Read more: Closing the digital skills gap: How to grow a new generation of IT professionals

This new fervour for tech doesn't seem to have quite filtered through though yet. According to research undertaken by SAS UK & Ireland, alongside e-skills UK, around 70,000 data specialists are required in the UK in the next three years, but Department of Education figures show that there are 192 UK schools with no students studying science or maths at A-Level, and that a further 176 schools have fewer than ten students in any one of these subjects.

"There are lots of intelligent, enthusiastic and creative young adults available to businesses, but often their training is not in the right areas," said Mark Wilkinson, managing director, SAS UK & Ireland.

"The UK's requirements have changed consistently over the years and this has led to higher value being placed on science, maths and technology skills. The current development of the UK's Information Economy has these skills at its core - with one of the key requirements being how we make the most of the UK's growing volumes of data to drive all industries forward.

"To realise an effective information economy, we need to encourage, support and develop those enthusiastic young adults with a preference for science, maths and technology to consider a career in data science."

SAS is actively encouraging big data skills through Curriculum Pathways, an online resource that supports reading, maths and science at school level, and more advanced data skills at university level.

Read more: Digital skills policy requires "systemic approach" says charity

It's a start, for sure, but the real test will be if the education system can keep up with the ever-quickening pace of technological change.