SAS STEP: SAS & UCD Professional Academy expand free data skills training programme with data science pathway

●    The digital learning platform was originally launched to boost the UK and Ireland’s digital economies by offering in-demand data skills to thousands affected by the economic fallout from the global pandemic
●     The latest learning pathway will provide the core knowledge and skills required for an entry-level data science role, helping to bridge growing skills gaps through upskilling

Global analytics leader SAS, which supplies advanced data analytics to 90 per cent of the top 100 Fortune companies, today expanded its free SAS STEP Programme in partnership with UCD Professional Academy through the addition of a data science-focused learning pathway. The new module – the third of four learning pathways - provides the core knowledge and skills required for an entry-level data science role.

UCD Professional Academy and SAS launched the SAS STEP Programme in April to help support the labour market following the global pandemic. It provides tailored, best-in-class course content that is available for free and aimed at jobseekers. It is delivered online with both self-paced learning and live classes delivered by UCD Professional Academy lecturers.

Candidates taking part in the new data science course will receive hands-on, industry-leading training through a tailored software portal, allowing users to practice, apply and embed increasingly vital data and analytical skills. The learning pathway provides a grounding in the key

skills of programming, data engineering and manipulation, applied mathematics, statistics, data science innovation, data ethics and data privacy.

Graduates of the programme, which was launched across Ireland and the UK, have already successfully switched careers. James Lancashire, a former youth charity worker whose role was hit by the pandemic, has recently changed jobs with the help of the programme, securing a new role as a Data Management Consultant at data science, AI and machine learning company, Butterfly Data, based in Cardiff.

“At Butterfly we have achieved success by embracing diversity and have a remarkable team with varied backgrounds and transferable skills. James has many of the great qualities that we look for in an employee; but most importantly, through SAS STEP, he has demonstrated the ability to adapt and learn new skills,” said Wayne Chicken, Director, Butterfly Data.

Data science is an essential skill for businesses today, not just in data-specific roles. Leading consultancy Accenture and The Learning & Work Institute have reported that demand for AI, cloud and robotics skills is soaring – 49% of firms surveyed in May said they were affected by a lack of technical skills in AI and data science. Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum predicts that by next year, data scientists and analysts will become the number one emerging job role globally.

Roderick Crawford, Vice President and Country Manager, SAS UK & Ireland, said: “Today’s launch of the data science pathway is an exciting next step for the programme. Data science professionals are increasingly in-demand, which is something we see and hear first-hand from our partners and customers in industry as they look to take advantage of AI and advanced analytics solutions.

“Our primary goal has always been to address the economic challenges this pandemic has brought about for individuals, so it’s hugely inspiring to hear success stories from people like James who have managed to put their new-found data skills to good use in finding new employment.”

Aaron McKenna, Director of the UCD Professional Academy, said: "The UCD Professional Academy is on a mission to help people advance and thrive in their careers. We look forward to continuing to drive the adoption of crucial data skills with our valued partner in SAS and, we hope, positively impact the lives of all who take the programme."

About UCD Professional Academy

UCD is one of the largest, most established centres of learning in Ireland. The UCD Professional Academy extends our heritage of educational excellence to professionals seeking to stay competitive and relevant in the changing workplace.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2021 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.

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