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Big Data can earn the UK big money - but the government needs to act

Big Data can bring the UK economy £241 billion, and open another 157,000 jobs by 2020, according to techUK, the voice of the tech industry.  However, techUK has called upon the UK government to act fast, because the obvious skills gap the country is faced with is hindering this growth. 

“Under the current assumptions, we risk taking a very blinkered approach to this challenge,” said Jeremy Lilley programme manager cloud, big data and analytics at techUK.  

“But this is a complex issue that requires a sophisticated solution. We need a comprehensive approach that recognises the variety of skills required across the big data supply chain or face the possibility of being left with an unbalanced talent pool that is unable to deliver the services we need, and prevent the UK from remaining a world leader in big data.” 

Among techUK members, almost two thirds (62 per cent) will require more Big Data specialists, mostly Data Analysts, Data Infrastructure Engineers and Solutions Architects. 

It gave a few pointers to the government, on how to solve the skills gap: 

  • Data Analysts, Data Infrastructure Engineers and Solution Architects should feature prominently on any future Government preferred shortage occupation list, joining Data Scientists.
  • The UK’s existing tech workforce should be upskilled.
  • The Department for Education must work to ensure there is more uptake of higher-level apprenticeships from a younger age with the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Programming and Analytics should be introduced earlier in the school curriculum.
  • Industry and government must do more to promote the value and importance of Big Data and Data Analytics.

Image source: Shuttterstock/Bruce Rolff