Data has revolutionized technology and globally the continuous reinvention of traditional job roles has created the necessity for data analytic skills. Humans have always provided data with their activities and habits but the process of collecting and utilizing these data has been tedious.
iAfrikan interviewed Dolapo Amusat, a data scientist who runs WeTalkSound and WTXtra - an agency that helps record labels and brands build products and create campaigns that help engage their audiences around the world.
Interview with Dolapo Amusat on Data Analytics and job creation
iAfrikan: How did your foray into data analytics begin?
Dolapo Amusat: I joined a startup in Lagos after my NYSC in April 2018, but I soon realized the startup was not as organized as I thought. I had already moved to Lagos permanently so I could not move back to Ibadan, so I invested my time in learning. I took a course on Business analytics on Udacity acquiring soft skills such as SQL, script, Alteryx, and tableau. I did the course for 3 months but by the second month, I was already teaching because of an article I published online. Then I started working with a ride-hailing company as an Operation analyst by September.
What did you do for the company?
My role at the ride-hailing company was operations specialist, I was tasked with improving operations & strategy for Lagos city by basically helping the company understand what the competition is doing, the job required a lot of data analysis, predicting and stuff like that.
I left a while back and now I work for one of the big four tech companies in the world while simultaneously running WeTalkSound an online music community and support platform for creatives in Nigeria and beyond, we also have an agency called WTXtra created over a year ago where we work with different clients, record label, brands by helping them build products, create campaigns, and engage their audiences across the world.
What is the future of data analysis going to be like in Nigeria?
For Nigeria as a whole, the government is yet to get into the data craze. The corporate sector, private sector and others are awakening for instance in the music industry everybody is looking at analytics, charts are coming up, Spotify for artists, Apple Music for artists and that sort of thing, these are companies that give them insights into where streamers are located, how many streams the artist is getting or the gender of people streaming, what is their age range e.t.c so it is getting important as much as music is becoming digitized.
People are pivoting or shifting towards streaming so as a creative you need to understand data analytics. That doesn’t mean people in the music industry need to be data experts, it just means that data will be interpreted into insight for them on many of these platforms so they need someone who understands these insights.
There is still a huge lack of presence of analysts or data analysts in the music industry actually. I am not sure I know many record labels that have in-house data analysts and that is one thing I know would change even though from the government’s point of view a lot might not change. In the music industry it is changing because now that a lot of people are investing on paid ads, it will only make sense to have someone within the label that can analyze the results of these campaigns or can effectively predict how a campaign will go or how much you will need to spend on an Ad.
Also in the context of Afrobeats or Nigerian music, it just means that our audiences are not just only people that are in our immediate environment, so things like touring, shows, who should I feature matter. If my music is already popular in east Africa i can then decide to go and feature someone in that region. Make ads and promote it in that region. All these will require data or insights to answer. It’s clear that analytics will be a big deal in the music industry to be specific.
What should we be looking forward to in data analytics and job creation in Nigeria?
There will be more jobs, even jobs that are not necessarily traditional data analytics role, jobs like finance, marketing, HR now require data analytics skills so there is already a demand for data analysis skills in the private sector but I am not sure it will tally with the amount of workforce that will be available.
One interesting thing though is that the way talent distribution usually works is that there will be a few at the top that is super skilled and is in high demand with personal brands that they have built for themselves and they will have several companies who will reach out to them for partnership or they will work in these companies. The remaining will have to compete with one another to get the few remaining jobs available, the ones at the top will have an excess of opportunities offered to them. There will be more jobs requiring data analytics roles eventually.
You are a creative and a tech bro, how do you think Nigerians can help themselves learn skills that will make them viable for these jobs?
There are so many resources on the internet and to a reasonable extent the knowledge acquired can put you in a position to be globally competitive. Joining a community will make finding the right resources easy because instead of just stumbling your way into learning anything you are likely to find someone who would guide you through your learning journey. Some of these resources or certifications are expensive but you would likely find relatively cheap ones too. Personally, I have used Coursera, Udacity, and Udemy.
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