How Are Data & Analytics Professionals Mapping COVID Trends With Data?

Amy Topcakan our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 2/25/2021 10:04 AM
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted industries across the globe. There’s no ignoring that simple fact. This disruption (most notably) caused devastating effects in two strands: to our health and to business operations.

As the virus spread, the health and wellbeing of people in society worsened, and businesses felt the strain of projects being placed on hold, and work slowing or completely grinding to a halt. As of the 24th February 2021, the disease has infected more than 112,237,188 people, with 2,487,349 reported deaths.

For Data & Analytics professionals, it soon became evident that they could use their skills to help. Using the mass of data available, professionals and researchers turned to big data analytics tools to track and monitor the virus’s spread, along with a variety of trends. Here’s how:

Genomics and sequencing


Life science is a significant application within Data & Analytics and explores the study of all living things on earth. One particular section of this study looks at the concept of genomic sequencing. 

Genomic sequencing is significant as it allows us looks at the entire genetic code of a virus – in this case, COVID-19. Most importantly, the technique means that researchers and analysts can identify dangerous mutations and track movements of specific variants.

We know that the UK has the most advanced system for tracing covid variants too. Last year, Britain launched one of the world’s largest coronavirus sequencing projects, by investing £20 million in the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium. In a group that included NHS researchers, public health agencies, academic partners and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, they set out to map the genetic code of as many strains of the coronavirus as possible.

And the buy-in paid off. It took the US approximately 72 days to process and share each genetic sequence, compared with 23 days for UK researchers, according to figures compiled by the Broad Institute with data from Gisaid.

Tech giants stepping in


Ultimately, your organisation is more agile than you think it is. Regardless of the size of the business, or the industry in which it operates, the sector’s response in applying analysis and data to track the coronavirus was nothing short of miraculous.

Google introduced a series of features such as popular times and live busyness, COVID-19 alerts in transit, and COVID checkpoints in driving navigation in order to keep their one billion (and growing) app users safe. They also introduced the COVID layer in Maps, a tool that shows critical information about COVID-19 cases in a given area, allowing their customers  to make informed decisions about where to go and what to do.

Apple also released a mobility data trends tool from Apple Maps. This data was shared in order to provide insights to local governments and health authorities so that they could support mapping specific covid trends. These first-hand examples indicate the influence and power of using data to better our understanding of the virus.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, professionals, businesses and industries alike worked in siloes. What we have witnessed since has been very much the opposite, as experts quickly came together to begin mapping out data requirements and supporting the world’s focus to improve the public’s health and get businesses back on their feet. Without Data & Analytics, none of this would be possible.

If you're looking to take the next step in your career or build out a diverse Data & Analytics team, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

How Can Your Career In Big Data Help You To Accelerate Change?

Data & Analytics is fast becoming a core business function across a range of different industries. 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced by humans every day, and it has been predicted that 463 exabytes of data will be generated each day by humans as of 2025. That’s quite a lot of data for organisations to break down. Within Gartner’s top 10 Data & Analytics trends for 2021, there is a specific focus on using data to drive change. In fact, business leaders are beginning to understand the importance of using data and analytics to accelerate digital business initiatives. Instead of being a secondary focus — completed by a separate team — Data & Analytics is shifting to a core function. Yet, due to the complexities of data sets, business leaders could end up missing opportunities to benefit from the wealth of information they have at their fingertips. The opportunity to make such an impact across the discipline is increasingly appealing for Data Engineers and Architects. Here are a just a selection of the benefits that your role in accelerating organisational change could create. Noting the impact In a business world that has (particularly in recent times) experienced continued disruption, creating impact in your industry has never been more important. Leaders of organisations of a range of sizes are looking to data specialists to help them make that long-lasting impression. What is significant here is that organisations need to build-up and make use of their teams to better position them to gather, collate, present and share information – and it needs to be achieved seamlessly too. Business leaders, therefore, need to express the specific aim and objective they are using data for within the organisation and how it’s intended to relate to the broader overarching business plans. Building resilience Key learnings from the past year have taught senior leaders around the globe that being prepared for any potential future disruption is a critical part of an organisation’s strategic plans. Data Engineers play a core role here. Using data to build resilience, instead of just reducing resistance or limiting the challenges it presents, will ensure organisations are well-placed to move into a post-pandemic world that makes use of the abundance of data available to them. Big Data and pulling apart and understanding these large scale and complex data sets will offer a new angle with which to inform resilience-building processes.  Alignment matters An organisation’s ability to collect, organise, analyse and react to data will be the thing that sets them apart from their competitors, in what we expect to become an increasingly competitive market. Business leaders must ensure that their teams are part of the data-driven culture and mindset that an organisation adopts. As this data is used to inform how an organisation interacts with its consumers, operates its processes or reaches new markets, it is incredibly important to ensure that your Data Engineers (and citizen developers) are equipped and aligned with the organisation’s visions. Change is a continuous process, particularly for the business community. Yet, there are some changes that are unpredictable, disruptive and mean that many pre-prepared plans may face a quick exit from discussions. Data professionals have an opportunity to drive the need for change, brought about by the impacts of the pandemic, in a positive and forward-thinking way. In understanding impact, resilience and alignment, this can be truly achieved. Data is an incredibly important tool, so using this in the right way is absolutely critical. If you’re in the world of Data & Analytics and looking to take a step up or find the next member of your team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.

What’s Keeping Women Out Of Data Science?

Data Science, the extraction of data to provide meaningful knowledge and insight, is experiencing a surge in growth within Data & Analytics. It is a fast-growing specialism, and talent in this area is in demand, with there being a 650 per cent increase in data science jobs since 2012. Simply put, pretty soon Data Science is going to play a fundamental role in every industry across the globe. Organisations have to adapt and make use of a range of Data Science tools and techniques or they will simply be forced out of business. LinkedIn recognised in their Emerging Jobs report that the role of a Data Scientist sits in the top three in the US, citing significant advancements in the emphasis on using data for this growth. Comparatively in the UK, this role lands within the top 10 at number seven.  Yet, our research tells us that in the UK, 25 per cent of female professionals work within Data Science, with this number dipping to just 20 per cent in the US. So, how can we support more women to enter the specialism? Encourage access to opportunities  Organisations need to continue to hire highly skilled technical talent to keep up with the growth that we are witnessing in the Data Science specialism. Yet, time and time again, working in Data Science can be seen to be an unattractive career proposition – in particular to women. To counteract this, business leaders need to make the role and rewards of becoming a Data Scientist visible within their organisation. Showcasing the range of projects and campaigns that are available, as well as providing opportunities for women to accelerate their careers and follow a pathway that suits them is critical. Education of STEM roles from a young age In order to see more women moving into roles within Data Science, industry leaders from within STEM fields need to take control and lead the way in educating women on the array of opportunities available. Through supporting, organising or hosting workshops, webinars and conferences, organisations can introduce women at entry-level to what careers in Data Science actually look like. This week for example in the UK, we’re currently in the middle of British Science Week. It is initiatives like these that build upon the education that is needed to promote roles in technical fields. Building up communities In the past year, we’ve all come to rely on our connections to provide insight and support during this period of uncertainty and change. This should be a continued focus moving forwards, building communities, networking and sharing knowledge in order to create an informed, educated and engaged workforce that attracts (and retains) female professionals. Within female-focused networks and groups, organisations can support women in advancing their careers, advocating for themselves and acting as a platform to showcase the opportunities that are available to women looking to move into a role in Data & Analytics. The consequence of ignoring these actions is a lack of diversity. We know that diverse teams perform better, and so welcoming in and making the Data Science specialism an attractive career consideration for women is critical. As the industry continues to advance and demand for skilled professionals grows, there will be plenty of opportunity for top talent to make their mark. If you're looking to take the next step in your career or build out a diverse Data & Analytics team, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

RELATED Jobs

recently viewed jobs