Explore Data Science Academy debuts online data engineering course

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Shaun Dippnall, co-founder and CEO of the Explore Data Science Academy
Shaun Dippnall, co-founder and CEO of the Explore Data Science Academy

Data science institution, Explore Data Science Academy, has introduced its first online course in data engineering in response to the increasing demand for data engineers in SA.

Billed as Africa’s largest data science academy, the institution was founded in 2017 by data scientists Shaun Dippnall, Dave Strugnell and Aidan Helmbold.

It offers both online courses and classroom tuition aimed at equipping students and working professionals with 'job skills for the future’. The academy is supported by a number of large South African corporates, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is its exclusive machine learning platform provider.

According to the institution, the introduction of the new data engineering programme is fuelled by the growing need for data engineering skills, as a result of cloud providers such as Microsoft and AWS investing in local data centres.

The 12-month course will provide applicants with the specific skillset required to become data engineers – a key role in the successful digital transformation of any business in the digital age.

Spending on public cloud services in SA will nearly triple over five years from 2017 to 2022, according to research from International Data Corporation.

“The use of vast quantities of data by data scientists now requires those with a specialised skillset to organise data and ensure its quality, security and availability to the organisation,” explains Dippnall, CEO of Explore.

“In the digital world of today, data engineering has become a specific job category as the amount of data produced by businesses increases exponentially.”

Course attendees will learn: SQL basics, Python programming, data modelling and cloud computing.

To these will be added specific data architecture skills such as: Big data concepts, data warehousing and lakes and data automation.

According to Dippnall, apart from the skillset, there is a shortage of training courses online that offer both the content and practical application of data engineering skills required in the workplace. This is particularly true of the South African market.

The Dice 2020 Tech Job Report released early last year cited data engineering as the fastest growing job in technology in 2019, with a 50% year-over-year growth in the number of open positions.

“If we track the skills trajectory globally, we can assume a similar growth curve for SA. While we don't have an exact picture on the number of data engineers required to fuel the growth in demand, it is similar to the demand for data scientists,” adds Dippnal.

Data engineers design and build pipelines that transform and transport data into a format so that by the time it reaches the data scientists, it is usable. These pipelines take data from numerous sources and collect them into a single warehouse that presents the data uniformly as a single source.

“Today’s businesses produce new types of data in vast quantities. It is now recognised that companies need both data scientists and data engineers in an advanced analytics team. Naturally, there is frequent collaboration between the two roles, but their skillsets and tools remain different,” he adds.

To find out more about Explore’s data engineering course, visit its Web site.

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