How The UK Government Is Overcoming A Lack Of Data Scientists

We interview Calvin Dudek, Head of Data Science Research at the Department for Work & Pensions


Calvin Dudek is Head of Data Science Research at the Department for Work & Pensions. Graduating from UCL with an MSc in Web Science and Big Data Analytics in 2015, Calvin's experience has seen him take up positions at companies including Google, where he won a number of awards for innovation and entrepreneurship during his time at the firm.

We sat down with him ahead of his presentation at the Big Data & Analytics Innovation Summit, taking place in London this November 16-17.

How did you get started in analytics?

I always liked math and logic. During my undergraduate, I did a lot of reporting and automation work in excel as part of my student jobs. Then my first job after uni was at Google where everything is data driven and where you have tons of data available to play with. Today, we're living in a time where data is ubiquitous. The winners in this game will be the people and companies that can make most of their own and publically available data.

Are there any recent innovations or technologies that you see as a game changer for analytics professionals?

One of the real breakthroughs was the release of the open source big data platform, Apache Spark. It's a big step up from Hadoop and makes large scale machine learning and near real-time analytics doable for everyone. Databricks recently released a community edition which makes it easy for beginners to learn Spark without all the pain of setting up their own Spark cluster, which is ideal for students and people who want to get their hands on it.

What are the unique challenges facing you in your current role that you are looking to solve with analytics?

We're at a turning point for IT at the Government. All departments are investing into new infrastructure and tools for data science and analytics. The biggest challenge is getting the right talent. There is more demand for data scientists than there are available. In order to overcome that we are hiring senior people externally and skill up people who are interested in becoming a data scientist and have a related background e.g. statisticians, scientists, physicist, computer scientist, etc. We're now seeing our first positive results from this transformation.

What will you be discussing in your presentation?

I will be looking at the future of work, and how data, robotics, and AI will change our work-life.

You can hear from Calvin, along with other experts in data analytics, at the Big Data & Analytics Innovation Summit. View the full agenda here.

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