Should we use data analytics to predict and shape our children’s future?

By Emmet Dowling, SAS Ireland

What did you want to be when you grew up? In my household, which is mainly run by people under the age of 10, the ambitions fluctuate between being “a princess”, a marine biologist, and anything in between.

But with science and technology changing the job market at a staggering pace, there’s a good chance that in 10 years they’ll be starting careers that don’t even exist yet. And, in a global economy, they won’t be just competing against their classmates, or the county, for jobs or university places. They’ll be up against candidates from all over the world.

So how can we best prepare our kids for their future and give them the best chance in life?

Would it be right and proper to use analytics to crunch the numbers and predict what our children will be best at and where their skills will be needed?

Certainly the tools are there. For example, SAS® EVAAS is used in the US to predict how a student will perform at various academic milestones and to track their progress to ensure they are supported and resourced to reach their potential.

A similar big data analytics approach could be applied to predicting what kinds of skills will be most in demand – tech or otherwise – and which students are best suited to fill those roles.

But it raises a lot of questions. At what age do we start? Children can lean towards certain subjects early in education. When is the appropriate time to use analytics help find the engineers, analysts and innovators of tomorrow?

And how do you lay the foundations for jobs that do not exist yet? Employers already report problems finding candidates with the right skills for today’s demands; it seems critical we start to use the tools we have now to be better prepared for the future.

SAS already works with academia and businesses to provide the tools to bridge the skills gap. But are we doing enough? Should we be using data analytics to predict the future for our children? Should we let what we find shape their education?

 

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Employers already report problems finding candidates with the right skills for today’s demands; it seems critical we start to use the tools we have now to be better prepared for the future.

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