By Alan Briggs, Elder Research.
In the coming years, scores of businesses, industries, and other organizations are expected to continue to significantly increase their use of analytics to improve their operations and performance,resulting in a rapid rise in the need for top analytics talent. In fact, according to a2013 McKinsey Global Institute report, by 2018 the United States will face a shortage of about 190,000 data scientists and 1.5 million managers and data analysts who can interpret and implement data.
Recognizing this need, numerous universities have launched new, or expanded existing, analytics programs to train the next generation of analytics professionals.
As they graduate and seek jobs, young analytics professionals want and need to stand out from the competition. Often,though, employers may not be able to determine the full analytics skill set of someone who doesn’t have much practical experience. What’s more, universities are striving to make certain their analytics programs stand out to potential students in their own increasingly competitive education marketplace.
The new Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP™) program, which is managed by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), offers a means to help with each of these important fronts.
First, it enables emerging analytics professionals to obtain a competitive advantage over their peers with the distinction of a certification, while affording them the opportunity to build the experience and soft skills necessary for a full CAP certification.Second, it provides employers with a trusted and independent verification of analytics knowledge of someone who is in the early stages of their career, making it easier for hiring managers to identify the best possible analytics talent. Third, universities will be able to tout the numbers of their graduates who have obtained the aCAP, and later the full CAP, as part of their marketing efforts to prospective students, helping those analytics programs further stand out.
Over the past several years, the awareness, interest, and adoption of the full CAP certification has steadily grown. Twenty percent of the Fortune 100 employ at least one analytics professional with a CAP certification. Analytics professionals with a CAP certification are also employed by more than 200 different companies in more than 20 countries worldwide. CAPs serve in military, work in government agencies, and for organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Importantly, aCAP prepares those new to the workforce to join the ranks of those who have already earned the premier global professional certification for analytics professionals, while also ensuring they remain on the cutting edge of the most up-to-date approaches once they are out of school. Together, aCAP and CAP offer a pathway to an even more rewarding career in analytics.
Bio: Alan Briggs, CAP, is a project manager and data scientist with Elder Research, Inc. where he provides leadership and technical oversight on a variety of advanced analytics initiatives for a Department of Defense client. He is actively involved with INFORMS, having served in a variety of leadership roles in his local Chapter, the Subdivisions Council, and the Analytics Body of Knowledge (ABOK), among others.