A Fact-Driven World Needs More Than Just Adults

The data and analytics industry faces two persistent problems: low diversity and a talent gap. That’s why ThoughtSpot partnered with Varsity Tutors to offer two virtual classes for students in grades 6 to 12. 

Solving the low diversity has never been more critical as data fuels AI that can lead to bias at scale. In the U.S., less than 26% of tech workers are female, less than 3% African American and 2% Latino. The data and analytics sector, in particular, is often considered more diverse, yet recruiting firm Harnham’s latest survey shows this to be 25% female; diversity by ethnicity was not provided. Sparking an interest in data and analytics is key to building a more diverse pipeline of talent in our field and an essential ingredient for reducing the risk of AI bias. Further, the majority of business people are afraid of data, even though it is increasingly core to every job.

Cindi Howson and six others speaking on a Zoom call.

Data In Our Everyday World - November 4, 2020

The first session, now available on-demand, focuses on data in our everyday lives and where it comes from. Paola Johnson kicked the class off with fun facts about the students taking the class, followed by Kirk Borne from Booz Allen Hamilton on using data to predict killer asteroids, Megan Howson from Monterey Bay Whale Watch & Skype with a Scientist to track dolphins and whales, Austin Gallagher of Beneath the Waves on sharks, and a special guest on data in professional football. 

I spoke about how data is used to make the world a better place through groups like DataKind, Data for Black Lives, Litterati, and Outta the Cage. I was thrilled to see these students share on Instagram their plans to use data to reduce poverty.  

Three smiling kids in front of a slide that says how would you use data to make the world a better place.

How would you use data to make the world a better place? We would use data to identify poverty and find associations. 

With the World Economic Forum showing how the top three jobs increasing in demand are all data related, we made the case for how data is now part of every career. I also loved hearing what these students and our instructors wanted to be when they grew up!  They are dreaming big! 


Top three jobs increasing in demand.

Data In Our Everyday World - November 4, 2020<br> 

The second class, Wednesday, December 16th, let’s students work with fun data hands-on using the most intuitive tool on the market, ThoughtSpot. Students will learn how to search data about their names, the year they were born, and football using technology as easy to use as Google, visualize their findings, and share these insights. 

My ask of you - be that extra coach for these young students! Spread the word in your local school, tech clubs, or with the teen’s in your world. Watch for updates in this blog and in our community forum for an instructor’s guide for you to provide support live or on-demand that week.

To register or share with your friends & family, visit the class page on the Varsity Tutors website. Together, we can light a spark and solve these persistent problems.

The inspiration for this class came in June, following the death of George Floyd, as I describe in this LinkedIn post. I thank Varsity Tutors, our guest instructors, and the ThoughtSpot team, particularly Paola Johnson, Sahar Ghafari, and Jordan Suffin for making it a reality.