What Are Data Professionals Planning to Learn This Year? Python, Deep Learning, Yes. But Also...
June 21, 2018 by Guest Author

Amey Varangaonkar| Packt Publishing

One thing that every data professional absolutely dreads is the day their skills are no longer relevant in the market.

In an ever-changing tech landscape, one must be constantly on the lookout for the most relevant, industrially-accepted tools and frameworks. This is applicable everywhere – from application and web developers to cybersecurity professionals.

Not even the data professionals are excluded from this, as new ways and means to extract actionable insights from raw data are being found out almost every day. Gone are the days when data pros stuck to a single language and a framework to work with their data. Frameworks are more flexible now, with multiple dependencies across various tools and languages. Not just that, new domains are being identified where these frameworks can be applied, and how they can be applied varies massively as well.

A whole new arena of possibilities has opened up, and with that new set of skills and toolkits to work on these domains have also been unlocked.

What’s the next big thing for data professionals?

Packt Publishing recently polled thousands of data professionals as part of their Skill-Up program, resulting in thought-provoking insights into current professional view on the future of data science.

We asked them what they were planning to learn in the next 12 months. The following word cloud is the result of their responses, weighted by frequency of the tools they chose:

Programs data professionals will learn

Fig 1: What data professionals are planning on learning in the next 12 months

Unsurprisingly, Python comes out on top as the language many data pros want to learn in the coming months. With its general-purpose nature and innumerable applications across various use-cases, Python’s sky-rocketing popularity is the reason everybody wants to learn it.
Machine learning and AI are finding significant applications in the web development domain today. They are revolutionizing the customers’ digital experience through conversational UIs or chatbots. Not just that, smart machine learning algorithms are being used to personalize websites and their UX. With all these reasons, who wouldn’t want to learn JavaScript, as an important tool to have in their data science toolkit? Add to that the trending web dev framework Angular, and you have all the tools to build smart, responsive front-end web applications.
We also saw data professionals taking active interest in the mobile and cloud domains as well. They aim to learn Kotlin and combine its power with the data science tools for developing smarter and more intelligent Android apps. When it comes to the cloud, Microsoft’s Azure platform has introduced many built-in machine learning capabilities, as well as a workbench for data scientists to develop effective, enterprise-grade models. Data professionals also prefer Docker containers to run their applications seamlessly, and hence its learning need seems to be quite high.

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With Crypto’s popularity off the roof (sadly, we can’t say the same about Bitcoin’s price), data pros see Blockchain as a valuable skill. Building secure, decentralized apps is on the agenda for many, perhaps.

Cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence are some of the other domains that the data pros find interesting, and feel worth skilling up in.

Work-related skills that data pros want to learn

We also asked the data professionals what skills the data pros wanted to learn in the near future that could help them with their daily jobs more effectively. The following word cloud of their responses paints a pretty clear picture:

Skills data professionals want to learn

Fig 2: Valuable skills data professionals want to learn for their everyday work

As Machine learning and AI go mainstream, so do their applications in mainstream domains – often resulting in complex problems. Well, there’s deep learning and specifically neural networks to tackle these problems, and these are exactly the skills data pros want to master in order to excel at their work.

So, there it is! What are the tools, languages or frameworks that you are planning to learn in the coming months? Do you agree with the results of the poll? Do let us know.

Amey Varangaonkar
Data Science Enthusiast. A massive science fiction and Manchester United fan. Loves to read, write and listen to music.