Twenty percent of U.S. four-year institutions now offer analytics programs, while just 2 percent of two-year institutions offer such programs, according to new research from data company Tableau.

The increase in programs comes from a push to expand analytics offerings to ensure more students are prepared to work with data in their careers.

The report, The State of Data Education in 2016, notes that universities also are offering interdisciplinary education in analytics by embedding basic data literacy into other fields–a move that reflects data’s growing importance across all industries.

“Data literacy is now a baseline expectation in jobs of all kinds,” said Christian Chabot, co-founder and chairman of Tableau, in a statement. “Perhaps the greatest challenge we face as an industry is training and nurturing the next generation of data talent. These are the people who will go on to change schools, doctor’s offices, businesses, governments, and more, thanks to data.”

Skilled technology and data workers are always in demand, but despite this demand, a shortage persists–in fact, analysts have for several years predicted shortages of more than 1 million workers by 2018.

This shortage is another motivating factor for universities, and administrators say they are working to close the gap.

“We will continue to invest in analytics-focused programs, and expect that other universities will do the same,” said Dr. Michael Hasler, senior lecturer and MS in Business Analytics Program Director at the University of Texas at Austin Red McCombs School of Business. “Students entering the workforce today are at a disadvantage if they do not possess at least basic data skills. Our investments in analytics programs are a direct response to the needs from industry to hire people with basic and advanced data skills alike.”

(Next page: 5 ways data analytics programs are changing)


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