The digital revolution is here, and if Kenya is to make notable strides in the space, then data science skills have to be at the heart of that mission. Simply put, without data, then there is no digital growth. In the ever-growing digital economy, data has proved its immense usefulness for the use and growth of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and analytics that convert digital data into valuable business, and in the end, influence social impacts. These impacts are what Zuka, an industry-driven higher education in Data Science institution aims to achieve in its quest to stress the importance of the program.
According to statistics, near 72 percent of job applicants in Kenya are unskilled and unemployable due to lack of relevant skills that highlight the disconnect between industry and education. At the same time, there is a 56 percent jump in data-related roles in the several markets across the globe, including Kenya.
Tech corporation IBM has also reported that the demand for data scientists will increase 28 percent by 2020. In the same light, LinkedIn reported a 12 times growth in data-science roles in 2018.
These metrics imply that data will continue to transform the economy, increase efficiency and create new opportunities for innovation. Kenya is a strong position to leverage the rewards of our increasingly data-rich lives. However, despite advances in both the perception of data as a resource for organizations and the exponential support for digital skills by several tech firms and ICT hubs in the country, it is apparent that Kenya’s potential is not yet being met. This is where Zuka or Zukademy comes in, with a mission to be a leader in Data Science talent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Zuka’s Founder and Director Victor Mutunga, the institution will primarily focus on data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), and will also start offering classes based on a syllabus that’s centered on industry needs and standards, as well as personalized career services by a certain employment firm. In addition, Mr Mutunga says that Zuka entails project presentation to a pool of mentor and employers at the end, as well as in-class groups that will simulate a work environment.
Zukademy’s 12-week Foundation program is tailored for University students, recent graduates and young professionals seeking to gain foundational skills in Data Science. It will also make room for corporate-focused programs that include short courses and workshops (masterclasses, executive and corporate training tailored for a variety of groups, with specialization in specific subjects such as data software and tools).
Other than a Career Development firm, Zuka will work with TOLLBRIDGE that creates educational programs and curriculums, as well as Nairobi Garage to co-work, connect and create.
Zuka aims to raise awareness of the value of data science in Kenya, its career opportunities for young people, and develop links between ICT businesses through its programs and classes that will be announced at a later date. At the same time, Zuka understands that there is a great deal of progress to be made in the data science area. There is, therefore, a need to participate in educating the aforementioned demographics so that the landscape is understood thoroughly to ensure there it the right supply of skills available to meet demand from companies now, and in the coming days.