Demand Rises for Data Scientists, AI Talents

Digital talents in data science and artificial intelligence, or AI, are seeing a spike in demand as more industries adopt technology.

A report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) demonstrates technology adoption by industries in Indonesia has affected the future of jobs.

“The report indicates an increasing demand for talents in data science and analytics, AI, machine learning, big data analytics, internet of things [IoT], and digital marketing,” Nadia Alatas, the winner of Women in ICT – Channel Asia Award 2020, said in a recent statement.

E-commerce Tokopedia also echoed the importance of AI talents and data scientists in this modern age. Following the coronavirus outbreak, the marketplace saw a massive increase in active users, which had jumped from 90 million at the beginning of the pandemic to 100 million as of May 2021.

“This increase is directly proportional to the rising demand for digital talents, including in data science and AI,” Tokopedia’s head of data analytics – business intelligence Charlie Tjandra.

According to Rio Novrianti, the general manager of IoT business operation and analytics at the cellular operator Telkomsel, the combination of data science and AI with IoT will strengthen automation and analytics. Thus, Telkomsel is working alongside data science company Cybertrend —which Nadia is also a founder of— to combine IoT with data science.

“Along with Cybertrend, we implement data science and machine learning in one of Indonesia’s mining giants. It is applied in the logistics aspect with the integration of IoT, to predict the road maintenance and safety for heavy vehicles, predict the sparepart supply, optimize fuel and wheels, and lower the number of accidents,” Rio said.

While data scientists and AI talents are in demand, there is a job-skills mismatch among university graduates and the job market, according to Nadia. She then called for universities to close the skills gap by designing a curriculum that equips students with actual skills that the industry needs. She urged university graduates or those who are already part of the workforce to upskill and reskill to boost their chances in the modern industry.

The skills gap also prompted this 2021 Women in ICT finalist to establish data science and AI training institution Data Academy.

“Data Academy offers training, certifications, standardizations, and assists universities to design a curriculum and research on data science and AI. We also provide internships and recruitments,” Nadia said.

Data Academy is also working closely with universities to foster data science and AI talents, she added.

More universities are also increasingly more aware of its importance, including Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar).

“Almost all sectors use data science and AI. [So,] we introduce this technology and increase the [students’] skills as part of a training program in collaboration with learning institutions,” Erwina, head of the Mathematics study program, said.

“We hope that [students] do not only gain knowledge, but also experience in its application. It is also important to prepare a certification to be recognized by the industry once they finish their studies,” she added.