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  • Writer's pictureLisa Dupras

AI Data Literacy: The Essential Skill for Career Advancement

Updated: Jul 3

In our modern data-driven world, the value of data literacy is unmistakable. Data invades every aspect of our lives, influencing industries and directing decision-making processes. As data becomes increasingly complex, the demand for data literacy extends to workers across all job roles, including those jobs influenced by the growth of AI. This blog examines the essential role of data literacy, its significance in diverse professions, and how it can empower your career, particularly in an AI-driven environment.


Why is Data Literacy Important?

The Importance of Data Literacy for IT Career Advancement

graphs for data literacy
  • Data is Everywhere! - In our modern world, data permeates every industry. Businesses of all types rely on data for informed decision-making. Workers who lack data literacy risk becoming obsolete in their careers.

  • Rising Complexity of Data - The volume and complexity of data collected by businesses are expanding at an unprecedented rate. Workers must develop the ability to comprehend and interpret intricate data sets to stay relevant in today's workforce.

  • Data Integration Across Job Roles - Historically, data analysis was predominantly the realm of data scientists and analysts. However, the evolving landscape now demands that all employees possess data analysis skills to contribute to effective decision-making.

  • Essential Skillset - Data literacy is becoming a fundamental skillset in the contemporary job market. Employers actively seek candidates who can navigate and work with data, and those lacking these skills may encounter challenges securing and retaining employment.

  • High Demand for Data Analysis - The demand for professionals skilled in data analysis is rising among industries. This heightened demand stems from the widespread adoption of data-driven practices by businesses of all sizes.

  • The Rise of AI - Companies are using AI for rebuilding processes, automating tasks, and decision-making. Data literate employees must understand and ensure the related information is clean and useable.

Workers who embrace data literacy will position themselves for success (and higher salaries!) in the evolving job market.


Many Jobs Now Require Data Analysis Skills

Customer Service Representative posted jobs (which require a high school degree, some experience, and pay $40k-$60k/year) were pulled from LinkedIn. The job postings had the following data-related requirements:

Financial Report
  • Will review reports, create and keep records, and problem-solve reporting variances/exceptions to determine cause and correction solutions.

  • Promotes dealer/customer satisfaction and achieves cycle time reduction through team-based problem-solving.

  • Strong skills in spreadsheets and database use. Prior experience with a customer database/CRM and ERP, including accurate entry and report writing preferred.

  • Assist customers with inquiries, including tracing shipments, rate quotes, tariff discrepancies, and billing and invoicing questions.

These are just a few examples of how data literacy is a growing requirement, even for entry-level jobs. As the world becomes more data-driven, job responsibilities will change, and workers will be expected to perform increasingly complex analytical and problem-solving skills.

How AI is Changing Careers

The Impact of AI on Data Literacy

  • Automation of Routine Tasks - Employees who traditionally performed manual tasks may find their roles evolving to oversee AI systems or working in collaboration with AI tools. To do this effectively, they need to understand the data inputs and outputs used by these AI systems.

  • Data Runs AI - AI algorithms rely heavily on high-quality data for training and decision-making. Data-literate employees can help ensure that their company data is accurate.

  • Data-Driven Efficiency - Many AI applications, such as chatbots, are designed to improve efficiency and customer service. Understanding the data and information behind these tools will assist in their job performance.

  • Career Advancement - In a job market where data literacy and AI awareness are increasingly valued, employees who invest in developing these skills position themselves for career advancement. They become more adaptable and valuable assets to their organizations.

  • Future-Proof Your Career with Data Literacy - As the use of AI advances, more job roles will likely involve some level of interaction with AI systems. Developing data literacy skills ensures that employees prepare for potential job role changes.

A data-literate worker is empowered to work effectively with AI, make informed decisions, and contribute to data quality. It helps to improve their prospects and future-proofs their roles in an increasingly data-driven world.

How to Become a Data Literate Professional?

Enhancing data literacy requires understanding data concepts, cleaning it, mastering data manipulation techniques, learning how to evaluate data for problem-solving, and applying this knowledge effectively to our roles. The first crucial step to data literacy is creating a learning plan or roadmap. Here are some actionable ideas to bolster your data literacy:

  • Master Excel or Google Sheets to an intermediate level and then practice using it to solve real-life work problems.

  • Create a list of how data impacts your job, influencing decision-making and problem-solving. Brainstorm how you can use data to solve your work problems.

  • Take a data literacy course from a college or university.

  • Read books and articles to learn about basic data concepts.

  • Put a plan together to learn the data analytics tools your employer supports.

  • Network with fellow data-literate professionals through meetups at work

  • Practice regularly to enhance your data understanding and interpretation.

  • Seek guidance from co-workers who are data literate.

  • Volunteer for data-related projects within your company or for a non-profit agency.

  • Attend data literacy-focused meetups.

  • Volunteer to open-source data projects for a hands-on learning experience.

The key is to stay persistent and continue to identify your learning needs. The more you understand and apply data concepts, the more valuable you become to your employer, the more doors of opportunity swing open for you!

Data Literacy Resources

Your Employer - Many companies have learning departments that offer coursework, classes, or free training. Online Learning Platforms - DataCamp, Udemy, Coursera, edX, Khan Academy, LinkedIn Learning, MIT Open Course Ware, and YouTube offer courses and tutorials. Books - Consider reading "Data Literacy: A User's Guide" by David Herzog or Data Analytics Advantage: A Beginner's Guide to Data Literacy, Practical Approach to Understanding and Using Data" (it's free!) Local and Community Resources - Look for workshops, meetups, user groups, and online forums for discussions. Data Visualization Tools - Explore resources and tutorials for tools like Tableau and Power BI. Certification Programs - Consider enrolling in the Google Data Analytics Data Literacy

Professional Certificate, available through multiple online platforms. Government and Non-profit Organizations - Some government agencies and non-profit organizations offer resources and courses on data literacy, often focusing on data ethics.

The Future of Data Literacy

The demand for data literacy is sure to keep growing. As businesses become more data-driven, they will need workers who can understand and interpret information. Data literacy is a skill that will be essential for success in the workforce. There are many resources available to help you learn the skills you need. So, what are you waiting for? Start learning today!


Let's Connect!

Have you thought about how you need to improve your data IQ? Do you see a clear path or do you need help? I specialize in mid-career IT professionals who need help with their career strategies and resumes.


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