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Technology

Techpreneur seeks to fill yawning gap in Big Data skills

Timothy Oriedo
Predictive Analytics Lab founder Timothy Oriedo. PHOTO | FAUSTINE NGILA  

Fascinated by the phrase ‘Big Data’, Timothy Oriedo started to find what this technology is all about.

His fascination with Big Data led him to start entertaining the idea of owning a data analytics lab in 2014, a dream he realised when it was registered in May 2017 and fully operational in February 2018.

“I had acquired credibility through being accredited as the pioneer Kenyan Data Scientist by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT) and this gave me the impetus to sail my own boat,” he told Digital Business.

He founded Predictive Analytics Lab, against the backdrop of rising need of data driven business solutions in improving decision making, operations and monetisation of the data.

“Guided by this three needs, we have designed tools to be able to provide impact to businesses across various industries including media, manufacturing, hospitality, telcos and technology startups,” says the mathematics and special education graduate who formed a team of data science experts, developers and researchers to steer his startup to greatness.

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Big Data means a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so voluminous that it cannot be processed using traditional database and software techniques. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution increasingly seeps into Kenya, data analytics is becoming more crucial to the economy.

However, Kenya has not been training data scientists till June this year when Moringa School launched the first ever data science course.

“The awareness on data-driven decision making was still low as there was no one to bring the knowledge to them. Organisations with a high level of awareness of the data skills gap are still unable to supply enough talent to meet the rising demand,” Mr Oriedo says.

Moreover, he noted there is continued reliance on outsourced turnkey data analytics solutions in Kenya, especially software developed in other countries and whose algorithms have not been calibrated to our local context.

Also, foreign data analysts hired by Kenyan corporations do not understand local data sets, and are more likely to give wrong recommendations on product or image improvement. This is where Mr Oriedo fits in through software development, training and consulting.

“I have slightly over 100 clients that I personally train. My fee ranges from Sh7,000 to Sh25,000 per session.”

He conducts bootcamps for general knowledge, master classes which are two-day executive series, certified programs for Digital Finance Institute, Linkedln Learning and MapR and in house training programs privately customised for organisations .

“We are East Africa’s first comprehensive one-stop platform for data science. Our mission is to empower the next generation of business leaders and innovators in data science,” he says.

The biggest challenge is the “trepidation” with which Kenyan corporates approach the data analytics subject. This is further compounded by the lack of a law governing data protection. Mr Oriedo says he avoids touching sensitive client data until a data governance protocol is agreed.

“This will only be attenuated once the Data Protection Bills is ratified into law. We also have a challenge of infrastructure costs, Big Data Analytics happens on distributed computing frameworks which unfortunately are billed per minute,” he says.

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