Survey to pinpoint shortage of data analytics skills in Canada

As the processing power of IT systems increases so too does the ability of analytics to plumb the depths of masses of data organizations have or can start to assemble. But without skilled business intelligence analysts all that computing power is wasted.

That’s why a private-public sector consortium has started a national project to see if there’s a talent gap here, and if there is how to close it.

The project comes as some studies in the U.S. say that country faces a shortage of over 150,000 people with deep analytical skills.

The first phase of the project starts today with the release of an online survey organizations of all sizes are being asked to fill out.  Based on the results, a one-day Big Data Talent Gap Summit will be held with the hope of creating a white paper industry, colleges and universities and governments can follow.

The consortium includes the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), which represents many of the biggest IT vendors in the country, consulting firm Deloitte, analytics firm SAS, the Toronto Stock Exchange, four universities and the federal government.

This survey is divided into three sections:  Section I asks about the respondent’s organization. Section II asks about its big data and advanced analytics program.  Section III asks us about their big data and advanced analytics needs.

There is some evidence in the most recent 2015 Salary Guide by Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing company, which said one of the highest expected jumps in starting salaries next year is for big data engineers. Their salaries are expected to rise an average of 7.8 per cent next year, an indication of how much demand there is for people with those skills.

“We are seeing a dramatic increase in clients looking for business and information intelligence” skills, David Tighe, manager of Robert Half’s Toronto office, said in an interview this morning. “BI developers, BI managers, data analysts, reporting analysts. These are hot commodities now, and there are not a lot of folks that have the requisite experience to handle it.”

For the purpose the survey big data is defined as highly unstructured data formats and/or volumes of data over 100 terabytes, and data where traditional data processing methods are insufficient to perform meaningful analysis. Advanced analytics is the application of advanced technologies, tools, and processes to data sets.

Organizers believe the survey shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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