it has developed a data scientist certification and apprenticeship program aimed at addressing a shortage of qualified applicants that has left 151,000 jobs open nationwide.
The effort is aimed at not only providing a new generation of data scientists but also providing a meaningful credential for employers who are searching for and hiring them.
"They will help take the mystery out of the recruiting process, and further elevate the field of data science, bringing clarity and confidence to organizations along the way," said Martin Fleming, IBM chief analytics officer and chief economist, and Seth Dobrin, vice president and chief data officer, IBM Analytics, in a company blog post
Although women are generally under-represented in STEM fields - in the United States, the male-to-female ratio of software engineers is 5 to 1 - the ratio for data scientists is a little better at 3 to 1, per Quora
. A late 2017 Forbes analysis
predicted that number would remain at about the same level in the future, as data science had the lowest representation of women students of any STEM field at 35.3 percent.
IBM (NYSE:IBM), led by president and CEO Ginni Rometty, was recently ranked No. 217 on the Forbes 2019 ranking of best companies for diversity
The IBM certification, developed in conjunction with global technology consortium The Open Group, will standardize the knowledge, skills, and expertise considered essential for data scientists. Students can attain three levels of certification, which will be awarded through experience-based profiles that are assessed by recognized industry experts within the field.
The 24-month data science apprenticeship program is designed for job candidates who may not have a college degree and consists of education, mentorship, and practical experience. Over the course of the apprenticeship, employees will work to meet the requirements to reach the first level of certification, The Open Group Certified Data Scientist.
The program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a professional apprenticeship.
"With the launch of the data scientist certification, we are taking the first step in giving individuals and organizations an industry-wide agreement for the profession, helping businesses identify top talent and ensuring individuals have the opportunity to demonstrate their value," said Andrew Josey, vice president, Standards and Certification at The Open Group.
"Data Scientists work on mission-critical issues within a business, so it's essential that they have the right skills and can apply the appropriate methodologies to solve the business problem at hand," he said.
At the time of the Linkedin Workforce Report, Aug. 2018
, there were more than 151,000 data scientist jobs going unfilled across the United States, with shortages in all major cities and "acute" shortages in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.