IoA Analyst Competency Framework Launch

  • Published: 23 June 2022

The Institute of Analytics (IoA) launched The IoA Analyst Competency Framework

London: Contemplated with the intention to enable professionals to become data leaders of tomorrow; IoA launched the IoA Analyst Competency Framework on the 22nd of June 2022 at Westminster Palace. The event was presided by representation of several leading organisations looking for introduction of the Framework into their organisational structure and curricula. The launch in Committee Room 12 was hosted by Martyn Day, MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

The framework lays out a training programme to support organisations in upskilling their existing staff to become more data literate, and to offer structured guidance for graduate trainees. With over 7 years of professional preparation in 4 key skill areas, the Framework offers a way forward for organisations to take advantage of the opportunities data analytics presents.

The four training themes place different emphasis on four broad skill areas. There is a necessary emphasis on developing the coding, data manipulation and analysis skills in our Knowledge and Analytics section, which are the skills that set IoA members apart from other professionals, and gives them a balance of depth of experience and breadth of experience in data manipulation that they might not get from work experience alone. As more decisions are delegated to machines, IoA wants to ensure that its members know what it means to operate in an ethical and professional way through Governance and Professionalism training. IoA wants its members to make their work explainable through communications training. Finally, because of the role data leaders are likely to play in the future, IoA also structures training to prepare them to lead complex projects through Leadership and Personal Effectiveness.

Talking at the event Dr. Clare Walsh, Head of Education at IoA said that, "Just as we had to become digitally literate in the 1990s, the new challenge for the 2020s is to become data literate, and the Analyst Competency Framework lays out a pathway to achieve that." She added that Data analytics are becoming more accessible to every organisation, and those that delay using evidence-based insights risk finding themselves at a disadvantage. Adding to her statement she said "We need a new workforce, equipped to build analytics pipelines and work with decisions reached by humans and machines, as it's not a skill that we all need, not just computer experts. That's why we have been working on the Analyst Competency Framework, to lay out the steps to becoming data literate, whether you are already established in a career with minimal analytics training, or for those taking a fast-track route through university training, we have a career progression plan for you.

Speaking about the Framework adapted by IoA, Dr. Walsh stated "The bulk of our framework is focused on the technical skills that set our analyst members apart from other professionals, but we know that they also need to understand the governance issues. Machines can make poor decisions just as humans can. All analysts need to communicate potential ethics and practical problems with a broader team, and be able to translate complex technical processes into something everyone can understand. Our work has to be transparent and explainable and our Framework lays out how to achieve these goals. It also forms the blueprint of our training programmes, while allowing some flexibility."

When asked about the drawbacks we are looking at here, she mentioned that "One of the problems we face in training analytics professionals is that the technology and laws around data and AI use change every month in this fast-moving field. By agreeing with employers on the overarching skills that analysts need, we can update our training immediately when a law changes, or a new algorithm is released. Employers will still know what to expect from analysts at different levels as the overarching skills that applicants bring to their work will still be the main goal. We intend to use this framework to support employers in upskilling their staff, and to help individuals to progress in their career.