Children should learn about data management at an early age. Why? This is because data itself is becoming increasingly important towards improving everyday life and the future, making skills in data analysis highly sought-after in most, if not all, industries. Jeff Weiner, famous businessman and former CEO of LinkedIn (now Executive Chairman), believes in the importance of data management, as he himself stated:
“Data really powers everything that we do.”
90% of enterprise analytics and business professionals can vouch for the importance of data, as they believe that data and statistics are essential in improving their businesses. In addition, LinkedIn named the data science career as one of the top 15 in-demand job paths of 2021, as hiring for these roles grew nearly 46% since 2019.
Because of how inherent data analysis is in everyday life, it’s important for children to learn data management as soon as they can. Not only will children understand more about the world around us, but learning about measurement and data will also strengthen important life skills like critical thinking and problem solving, helping them achieve a brighter future later on. Below are the top 3 reasons why children should start learning about data and statistics right away:
1. Children analyze measurement and data all the time
From the start of their infancy, children use data management in order to learn and grow as a human being. Although this development stage is solely for enjoyment or stimulation, they’re able to decipher certain categories of information and organize such data. Just think about a child with a wooden shape puzzle – judging by what they see in front of them, they’re able to use that data to put the pieces where they fit best. Such interaction with that toy is a prime example of children using their data analysis skills, no matter how simple the interaction is. That is why the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends the learning of data and statistics, as they believe children can be taught the basics of data analysis through ways that are considerate to their age and cognitive development.
This is seen in a study by The Open University, where they taught 9-10 year olds how to analyze data and statistics through having them obtain data on solar energy and home energy consumption with an aerial survey and smart meter data. As the activities were tailored to their age group, 58% of students thought that the sessions were ‘well thought-out and useful / well organized’, while the other 42% said the sessions were good but wished they had another session to learn more. The researchers concluded that the students were entirely capable of undertaking such tasks in data analysis, accurately interpreting the data and statistics they acquired with enthusiasm. Therefore, young children can certainly tackle data analysis, as long as they are able to recognize and interpret the material the data will be collected from data management.
2. Analyzing measurement and data builds stronger critical thinking and problem solving
Data management encourages a child’s eagerness for knowledge, motivating them to use their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
It starts off with a question; something that specifies the objective of the child’s data analysis like, “How many of my classmates have pets?”. Then comes the stage of identifying the variation in the information presented, classifying such information and sorting them based on shared traits, like finding out 5 classmates have dogs, 4 classmates have cats, and 3 have no pets. Afterwards, the child must represent the data they’ve collected in a way that answers their question. This can be shown in many ways, like a bar graph or pictogram that visually displays the amount of classmates that have pets, and which ones have a dog or a cat. Throughout this process, they’ve learned to be better at skills like organizing information and comparing concepts among groups, which all hone in on improved problem solving and critical thinking!
In this digital age, children are more able to represent their data and findings online. Data visualizations like pie charts and tally charts can be easily made through Google Charts, which make collecting and representing data easier to do! With such data management tools and an inquisitive mind, a child’s critical thinking and problem solving can be boosted efficiently and effectively, helping them in the long term.
3. Data management will be in higher demand in the future
Having a strong set of data management skills is a definite advantage when it comes to landing a successful and high-paying tech job in the future, as there is a very high demand for data science jobs with a very low supply of qualified workers. This trend is predicted to continue, since management consulting firm Korn Ferry predicts that, by 2030, there will be a global shortage of 85 million tech workers. Due to this prediction, parents should start teaching their children valuable skills in data management to not only open the doors to high-paying jobs (14% average salary increase), but to also help improve the future’s productivity and economy.
With that said, children can most definitely become proficient in analyzing data when taught at a young age. Kirk Borne, one of the most renowned pioneers of data science, advocates teaching data management to children:
“Today, data literacy has become fundamental to every job and should be imparted at the earliest levels of learning, and it should continue through all years of education.”
His statement rings true compared to the high demand for skilled data analysts, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there will be a 27.9 percent demand and rise in employment for data science jobs through 2026. This is due to the fact that data science and statistics are used in almost every industry to improve systems, health, products, services, etc. In fact, it’s estimated that the statistician career will increase by an astounding 35% in job growth (2019-2029), making it one of the fastest growing careers compared to other occupations. Such rapid growth makes data analysis a much-coveted skill when it comes to the workplace.
Data management is an integral part of the workplace and, in essence, life itself. Since children are able to learn about the principles of data management at a young age, the earlier they start, the more successful they can become in their academic journey and beyond.
We at Math Project cultivate a child’s interest in data management, personalizing their sessions in order to foster their learning styles and strength in math skills. Learn more about our dynamic data and statistics curriculum and programs here!
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