Data science growth areas 2020

The past decade has seen immense growth in data and its application to the world of work. In line with this, the need for data scientists and analysts who can effectively extract valuable insights from information has expanded. The boom in Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence means demand is peaking for these specialists globally, especially across Australia and New Zealand.

Whilst demand for these experts is booming across all industries, there are a few in particular where growth is significant. Let’s explore:

1.Health/Big Pharma

Big Data is seeing significant growth in the Health & Big Pharma industries. Big Pharma is working in conjunction with AI to synthesise large data stores, providing scientists with information to work towards a treatment for COVID-19. The use of AI in data analysis is not a foreign concept to this industry. In 2019, several pharmaceutical companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson joined forces to contribute data to an AI search for new antibiotics. However, COVID-19 has accelerated AI adoption in this sphere, seeing immense growth globally in the race to a cure.

2.Financial Services

Data is king in the financial sector in 2020. From using technology to extract consumer analytics, to leveraging these insights to provide tailored services, Big Data is having a huge impact on this industry. According to Accenture, one in two consumers want a personalised offering from their financial providers. Within the FinTech space, this is very apparent as neo banks compete for new customers in an already saturated market. 86400, for example, have launched a program titled ‘Energy Switch’, whereby customers email their energy bill to the bank, which will then use an automated system to scan it and gather data. From this, suggestions will be made as to which energy providers can provide them with a better rate, allowing for cost savings and a more holistic customer experience. As we are heading towards an economic crisis, leveraging data to deliver cost-based solutions to customers is what will allow these companies to survive in the new climate. Xinja and Volt are also utilising a significant number of high-end development resources in this sector to allow them to build truly interactive customer portals.


The insurance industry is a significant sector in which we are seeing growth. With Big Data presenting itself as an invaluable asset in this field, insurance companies are seeing the value in leveraging it to enhance all aspects of their operations. From sales, to customer service, and claims systems, data can help. Growth is particularly evident within the life insurance sector. As this industry continues to rationalise and simplify, it becomes increasingly independent and single-product focused. This means that the data collated from customers can be more narrowly-focused and specific, allowing for improved customer targeting and enhanced business decision-making.

4.Higher Education

Big Data is significantly impacting the higher education sector. Universities across Australia and New Zealand are increasingly seeking to hire data professionals to assist in the management, analysis and security of large stores of data.

According to the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, the Australian university attrition rate sits at approximately 15%. Universities seeking to lower this figure can harness past student data as a means of predictive analysis.

Through analysing past students’ academic results and demographic data, universities can identify current students who are most at risk of withdrawing from their course studies. Leveraging this information, higher education institutions can intervene at the right time and support these students, ultimately improving business performance.

Further, in the age of COVID-19, universities have made the switch to online learning. Delivering teaching on collaborative online platforms and internal university systems has increased cyber security concerns, therefore, the need for data analysts skilled in cyber security is increasing. Identifying internal and external risks, these analysts can provide higher education institutions with actionable solutions to mitigate network threats.


As a struggling sector in Australia and New Zealand, the retail business model benefits greatly from data, so it’s no surprise that growth in this sector is significant. In light of recent government regulations pertaining to COVID-19, many brick and mortar retailers have been forced to temporarily shut their doors, bringing e-Commerce to centre-stage. If companies are to stay afloat during this time, they need to be leveraging data to deliver a customer-centric approach to retail.

Through data collection and analysis, customer recommendations and targeted offers can be delivered to the increasingly selective, savvy and price-conscious consumer. Knowing what your customer wants and actually being able to deliver it in a targeted and personalised way, is not only revolutionising this sector, but is also necessary if you are to remain viable.

If you would like to uncover more data insights, check out our 2020 Data Science & Analytics Market Snapshot. 

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