- Professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY) announced it is launching the NextWave Data Science Challenge to help university students from 16 countries use data to work on mobility and smart cities challenges.
- Three winners of the challenge will get a data science badge from the EY Badges program, which rewards professionals learning emerging technologies. Winners from each country will receive a cash prize, a paid internship with an EY member firm and the chance to present to EY leadership in New York City, who will select a global winner.
- "Helping businesses in their transformation journeys in the digital age means we need to give innovative people the opportunities to apply their vision in using technology to help us discover what's possible," EY’s global talent and learning leader John Distefano said in a statement.
As cities and companies look to a smart future, data analytics and artificial intelligence are becoming more in-demand skills. Governments are looking for employees that can work with the reams of data from smart city sensors, while the artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous vehicle (AV) industries are booming around the country; a recent Indeed analysis of jobs posting found that AI and machine learning almost doubled over the past three years. President Donald Trump also recently signed an executive order that, in part, is meant to help the country build an AI workforce.
The EY challenge is a reflection of the importance that data analytics will play going forward, and the push to get students involved early. The challenge will use data from location technology firm Skyhook, and will deal with problems related to mobility and smart cities, although the specifics of the challenge have not been announced.
The challenge also reflects the importance of college campuses and students to the future of smart cities. Universities have become viable testing grounds for new technology and mobility pilots, while a focus on technology is helping to support the workforce that will support smart cities. Distefano said the challenge would help show how "data science devotees, who are just beginning their careers, will bring new thinking to solving complex problems."