If you want to pick up the skill more employers will be looking for in the future, heed the advice of executives from a global leader in technology.
In an interview with CNBC, both Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet and Jonathan Rosenberg, adviser to CEO Larry Page , say that data analytics will become increasingly important in workplaces.
“I think a basic understanding of data analytics is incredibly important for this next generation of young people,” Schmidt tells CNBC. “That’s the world you’re going into.”
“By data analytics,” the executive chairman says, “I mean a basic knowledge of how statistics works, a basic knowledge of how people make conclusions over big data.”
Focusing more on data analytics will help businesses too, the executives say. Hiring professionals with the right skills and a penchant for bold, creative thinking was a strategy that drove Google’s innovation, Schmidt and Rosenberg write in a recently updated version of their book, “How Google Works.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of roles for individuals with this skills set is expected to grow by 30 percent over the next seven years, well above average.
Data analysts make sense of large amounts of information using statistical tools and techniques. They’re able to pinpoint trends and correlations using programs such as Excel, SAS and SQL and Tableau. They typically study statistics, data science or math.
Schmidt says that being able to use calculus would be a great asset to an employee, but an understanding of how to approach big data would still be very helpful in finding a job.
“My favorite statement that echoes Eric’s,” he says,” is ‘Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it well, the samurai.'”
The quote comes from an internal memo Rosenberg sent to employees in 2009, following the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“Everyone should be able to defend arguments with data,” he writes in the memo. “Information transparency helps people […] determine who is telling the truth.”