Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has ramped up its number of sponsored learnerships to 500 in 2020. This represents a five-fold increase since the academy opened its doors in January 2018 and is indicative of local demand among South African corporates for data science and analytics skills, which currently far exceeds supply.
Demand for data science skills in South Africa is echoed globally. According to leading job sites Indeed and Dice, the demand for data science skills is growing exponentially.
A January Indeed report reflected a 29% increase data scientist postings year on year and a 344% increase since 2013 - a dramatic upswing. Contrarily, searches by job seekers skilled in data science grew more moderately (14%), suggesting a gap between supply and demand.
Launched just two years ago in Cape Town with 100 interns at its first intake, EDSA has an enviable track record of success, placing 95% of its 2019 programme graduates in corporate positions at an average starting salary of R360,000 a year.
According to EDSA co-founder Shaun Dippnall, the academy’s learnership has found a sweet spot in terms of overall market demand for data science and analytics skills and the need to build relevant digital skills within South Africa’s youth so that they can thrive in the new economy.
President Cyril Ramaphosa affirmed this need at the inaugural Digital Economy Summit held recently. He stated that government is committed to train one million young people in data science and related skills by 2030, to ensure that South Africa has the necessary human capital to meet the demands of the digital economy.
“We are the first African institution to offer a focused, comprehensive and free year-long accredited skills data science programme, which is proven to get its learners job-ready,” he said.
How to apply
To qualify for the fully sponsored one-year programme (including tuition and a stipend), applicants must successfully complete an online application, which probes candidates’ analytical and problem-solving capabilities, as well as attend a data science boot camp and a round of interviews with the team at EDSA.
Applicants should be between 18 and 35 years of age. No prior degree is required, but a quantitative background is useful. Past interns have had varying skills including mathematics, marketing, media, medical and legal backgrounds. A number of learners are matriculants, who would not otherwise be able to afford tertiary education.
The EDSA has campuses in the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town and in 19 Ameshoff in Braamfontein Gauteng, as well as a new data analytics course. Plans are afoot for a third campus to open in Durban in 2020.
Applications are now open for the 12-month Seta Accredited Data Science Programme commencing 2020.
To apply for an intern post in 2020, go to www.explore-datascience.net