Open data warriors needed.
The goal of open data training targeting the public sector is to equip front-line public sector warriors with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle current and future challenges, where appropriate, with a data forward approach.
February 27, 2017
For many open data warriors the journey starts with open data workshops and training programmes.
In 2015/2016 Scotland piloted a pioneering open data training series for all public sector organisations. This workshop series was globally the first of its kind, carried out on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Although the pilot series came to an end in September 2016, the job is far from complete. When it comes to open data training, we say more is more!
The goal of targeting the public sector with open data training is to equip front-line public sector warriors with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle current and future challenges, where appropriate, with a data forward approach. The vision is to enable public sector organisations to take advantage and to fully utilise and unlock the value of their data, both open and closed.
The need for more data and open data training, skills and knowledge, especially in the public sector, is real.
NESTA’s recent policy recommendations in their Wise Council report state that the Government Digital Service (GDS) should allocate £4m, which is less than 1% of its £450m budget, to embed data scientists in local councils to help sift their data goldmines and improve services.
A range of innovative approaches to data use by councils in the UK and abroad by the Wise Council Report
The hope is that an embedded data science programme could make it easier to:
In a new report - Understanding, Demystifying and Addressing the UK’s Big Data Skills Gap - techUK has identified big data and data analytics as a key element to the future of the UK’s Digital Economy. In what is called ‘the big data revolution’, they expect big data to create 157,000 additional jobs and add £241 billion to UK GDP by 2020. Some of which will, undoubtedly be in the public sector.
Total market size (high bound), split in direct and indirect size for EU28+in billions, 2016-2020 (Source:)
Public sector is the first re-user of its’ own data - the direct market size of open data is expected to be 55.3bn EUR for the EU 28+. Between 2016 and 2020, the market size is expected to increase to a value of 75.7bn EUR in 2020. Public administration is by far the sector that will gain the most from opening up data, with a value of 22bn EUR in 2020. (Source)
Direct market size of Open Data per market sector for EU28+ in millions, 2020 (Source)
The overall benefit and impact of open data training courses, and programmes is that they empower front-line public sector teams to use and reuse their own data, while at the same time furthering data publication within these organisations.
We believe that with the skills and a greater understanding of the power of data science and data analytics comes better data stewardship, a greater push from public sector organisations to exploit the benefits of data thus giving an impetus to open data publishing as well.
IDA (Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on data science and analytics in 2015 and the class attracted more than 350 registrations from both the private and public sector within a month.
New York (face2face): in 2015, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) hired data analysts to teach public servants how to use New York City open data. In doing so, they trained employees to consume their own data and use it make decisions and taught them how to be responsible data stewards when publishing open data for others’ consumption.
Australian government launched APS (Australian Public Service) Program to address data skills shortage in the public sector.
Chicago University’s Data Science for Social Good programme pairs data science fellows from around the world with social sector organisations. They work in teams of three or four to tackle data-intensive, high impact problems in education, public safety and health, criminal justice, city operations, environmental issues and social services.
Benefits of basic (open) data science skills in the public sector:
The aim of our current and future courses is to address the open data skills gap that currently exists in the public, private and 3rd sector and, at the same time, foster the open data ecosystem across both Scotland and the UK.
If offline workshops are not your thing, there are a number of online courses and books, with various levels of interaction and engagement you can choose from.
Looking for something around data science? Here is a list of a 100 free DataScience books.