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Unlocking potential: Data science for high school students

Learn about Europe and US data science summer programs for teens

June 10, 2024
Data literacy
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We’re excited to invite high school students to join us this summer as we pave the way for the next generation of data evangelists.

This July, young learners can learn about data science in a free one-week virtual summer school held in timezones suitable for high school students in Europe and the US. Students will dive into the world of data through a series of tailored sessions designed to spark innovation and creativity through hands-on learning.

The future (and the present) is all about data

Data comes in many forms: from social media posts and likes to robot vacuums and fitness trackers, everything generates information. To thrive in this increasingly data-driven world, today’s youth must possess fundamental data literacy skills. 

Although education systems around the world aim to meet the growing demands of modern economies, there is still a significant gap between the need for data knowledge and data science education opportunities prior to university. In many cases, young people who want to immerse themselves in the world of data must look to external resources outside of the traditional school system.

At KNIME, we’re committed to providing the next generation with the knowledge and skills needed to take advantage of existing and future opportunities in a world where more and more jobs will eventually require data literacy.

Why should teens learn data science? 

Because data solves real-world problems  

Data literacy and problem solving go hand in hand. Data can reveal problems that we aren’t aware of and find solutions to longstanding challenges. It’s no coincidence that top business leaders are data evangelists. Data driven decision making has transformed industries and will continue to do so.

An example of the power of data to solve problems can be found in today’s hospitals. In the past, healthcare practitioners were forced to rely solely on reactive measures when addressing patients’ needs.

Today, constant monitoring of patient data and predictive analytics translate into insights that allow health practitioners to proactively address risks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, critical staff and medical supplies’ shortages were widespread. Data became an even more invaluable resource, providing insights in real time for everything from hospitalization forecasts, social distancing recommendations, testing, and contact tracing.

This level of progress relies on clinical and healthcare expertise, the ability to innovate, and of course, a mastery of data. 

Because lifelong learning is now the norm 

Data science is changing rapidly with new trends and technologies being introduced every year. In many ways, data reflects the importance of lifelong learning — we are constantly drawing insights and adapting so that we can continue to innovate.

Teens who learn data science skills now have the fortunate opportunity to continue to grow their knowledge as the field rapidly expands.

If the last few years are indicative of what’s to come, it’s likely that future data practitioners will embark on their data science education much earlier than their present counterparts and be required to upskill until the end of their careers.

Because understanding the power of data will foster a culture that values data ethics

Technology permeates every aspect of our lives. As a result, we are required to reexamine topics that have become increasingly  convoluted, such as data ownership and bias.

The rise of AI, its social impact and ongoing conversations surrounding accessibility will undoubtedly continue in the foreseeable future. Although today’s teenagers are digital natives, they may not fully understand the complexities of the technology they use everyday.

In order to foster a culture that values data ethics, we must make sure the next generation understands the power of data, as well as why it’s important to wield this knowledge responsibly and ethically.

This will become even more important as generative AI tools become commonplace, allowing for the creation of videos and images that are increasingly difficult to distinguish from authentic digital content. 

Because data will continue to transform the workforce

Data science is no longer a specialized field reserved for expert practitioners; data literacy is now a fundamental skill, on par with communication and time management.  

A 2021 study found that hiring managers across industries ranked data skills/data literacy as the most in-demand skill, however slightly less than half of the surveyed US universities did not have initiatives dedicated to teaching data skills and data literacy. 

The gap between academic offerings and workforce needs is alarming as it becomes increasingly clear that for all students – whether they plan to pursue a career in STEM, social sciences, humanities or the arts – data literacy will be a critical skill.

High school students can start learning data science with KNIME 

Low-code, no-code data science tools are the perfect way to introduce data science to diverse learners of any age. KNIME Analytics Platform is one such tool. Without the hurdle of learning a programming language, the next generation of data enthusiasts can begin exploring data even earlier with the KNIME, which is open source and free to start using immediately.

The open-source philosophy at KNIME coupled with our collection of free learning resources further underscore our commitment to inclusivity as anyone – regardless of background – can use the platform to delve into the world of data.

Learn more about KNIME’s data science summer program for high school students.