Data Science Becomes a Crucial Federal IT Skill
Data science is one of the most in-demand skills that federal IT leaders foresee needing in employees over the next two to three years, according to a survey conducted in the third quarter of 2019 by WorkScoop and FedScoop. The survey also found that upskilling (51 percent) and reskilling (44 percent) have proved to be the most successful methods for bridging IT skills gaps.
Meanwhile, chief data officers across the government are gaining more clout thanks to the recently released Federal Data Strategy. Data analysis is also more crucial now than ever as government agencies help confront the coronavirus pandemic and sift through massive amounts of data related to the virus and the response to it.
Under the data reskilling initiative, the first class, which is double the size of the cyber reskilling classes, will take part in classes for eight hours per week for six months and will complete their training online.
Virtual training allows federal workers from outside the Washington, D.C., metro area to apply for the program, Ortega said, according to Federal News Network.
“This is a very good mix to allow full-time employees the ability to learn, to expand their existing data skills, and be able to immediately start to apply that in the work setting,” he said.
“This is definitely an emerging field, and I think from a federal standpoint … we’re going out and looking for the best talent that’s out there,” Ortega added, according to FedScoop. “And at times when we don’t necessarily have the ability to go out and recruit, we’re looking at how we can develop that skill in-house.”
After a break for the holidays, classes will restart in February with two-month capstone projects that are designed to give students more practical learning, Ortega said.
Notably, the capstone projects will be tied to the federal coronavirus response and resulting data agencies have produced, especially data sets from the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the projects will be tailored to the students’ respective agencies.
“Because we know that large datasets were created and established over the last seven and eight months, we’re going to leverage that data,” Ortega said, according to FedScoop. “So we are requiring [subject matter experts] and mentors at each of the agencies to provide some of that assistance and help our trainees go through and actually collect some of those important datasets to be able to leverage in their respective capstone projects.”