How companies are addressing machine learning

From an O’Reilly newsletter:

In a recent O’Reilly survey, we found that the skills gap remains one of the key challenges holding back the adoption of machine learning. The demand for data skills (“the sexiest job of the 21st century”) hasn’t dissipated—LinkedIn recently found that demand for data scientists in the US is “off the charts,” and our survey indicated that the demand for data scientists and data engineers is strong not just in the US but globally.

With the average shelf life of a skill today at less than five years and the cost to replace an employee estimated at between six and nine months of the position’s salary, there’s increasing pressure on tech leaders to retain and upskill rather than replace their employees in order to keep data projects (such as machine learning implementations) on track. We’re also seeing more training programs aimed at executives and decision makers, who need to understand how these new ML technologies can impact their current operations and products.

Beyond investments in narrowing the skills gap, companies are beginning to put processes in place for their data science projects, for example creating analytics centers of excellence that centralize capabilities and share best practices. Some companies are also actively maintaining a portfolio of use cases and opportunities for ML.

Note the average shelf-life of a skill and then ponder why the UK government is not boosting the Open University.

Fathers and sons

I’ve just finished Colm Tóibín’s book about the fathers of Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce. Very interesting but uneven work. Main conclusion is that all three were very strange men. William Wilde was an erratic (but formidable) polymath, John B. Yeats a talented but improvident painter who never finished a painting and never made a living, and John Stanislaus Joyce was a pompous wastrel and a drunk with a fine singing voice. And all three seem to have been terrible husbands. For their part, their talented sons all treated them ambivalently. It’s well known that having a famous father makes it difficult for sons. But being a famous son of an erratic or improvident father clearly has its problems too. Of the three, it was James Joyce who made serious artistic use of his father — there are recognisable aspects of John Stanislaus in Stephen Hero, Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake and Tóibín has been good at spotting and excavating them.