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  • The Importance of Teaching Data Analytics, Cybersecurity Skills

    March 05, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions
    A student learns about cyber security and data analytics.

    TAGS: trends and predictions, spotlight, students

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    Data analytics are viewed as important skills, and the vast majority of responding institutions already have courses in place to teach these skills, particularly at the undergraduate level, according to a new report from the NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition (NACE Center).

    Part of the joint research project between the NACE Center and the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF)—which yielded two reports—explores how those directly involved in the promotion and recruitment of college graduates view two skill sets likely to be critical in the future economy: data science and analytics (referred to as “data analytics”) and cybersecurity.

    In the report titled Key Skills for the Future: Data Analytics and Cybersecurity, more than two-thirds of career services respondents believe it’s either “very important” or “extremely important” to teach undergraduate students data analytics skills. (See Figure 1.) That focus is evident in the fact that 75 percent of institutions offer their undergraduate students courses that teach these skills. (See Figure 2.)

    This dovetails with the views of university relations and recruiting professionals responding to the survey who were in general agreement that data analytics skills will be necessary for all management levels of their organizations in the near future.

    Meanwhile, even though career services respondents generally believe that it would be advantageous for their students to be taught cybersecurity skills (42 percent believe it’s either “very important” or “extremely important”), the sentiment is not as strong as it is for developing data analytics skills. In fact, only a slight majority (52 percent) of schools currently offer cybersecurity courses to their undergraduates.

    The NACE Center conducted two surveys among the NACE’s membership: Surveys were sent to 900 university relations and recruiting members and 1,600 college career services members. The surveys were open November 28, 2016, through March 17, 2017; a total of 66 URR members and 220 career services members responded. “Key Skills for the Future: Data Analytics and Cybersecurity” and an accompanying report from BHEF titled “Investing in America’s Data Science Talent: The Case for Action” are available on NACEWeb.

    Figure 1: The Importance of Institutions Teaching Undergraduate Students Data Analytics, Cybersecurity Skills

    Response Data Science and Analytics Cybersecurity
    % of Respondents
    1-Not at all important 2.3% 3.9%
    2 4.5% 10.5%
    3 15.8% 24.3%
    4 30.8% 25.0%
    5-Extremely important 37.1% 17.1%
    I don’t know 9.5% 19.1%
    Source: Key Skills for the Future: Data Analytics and Cybersecurity, NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition and the Business-Higher Education Forum

    Figure 2: Does Your Institution Currently Offer Any Undergraduate Courses?

    Level Yes No I Don’t Know
    % of Respondents
    Data science and analytics 75.3% 13.7% 11.0%
    Cybersecurity 51.6% 27.5% 20.9%
    Source: Key Skills for the Future: Data Analytics and Cybersecurity, NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition and the Business-Higher Education Forum
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