Presented By
O’Reilly + Cloudera
Make Data Work
29 April–2 May 2019
London, UK
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Data-driven digital transformation and jobs: The new software hierarchy and ML

Robert Cohen (Economic Strategy Institute)
14:5515:35 Thursday, 2 May 2019
Culture and organization, Strata Business Summit
Location: Capital Suite 12
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Who is this presentation for?

  • CxOs, software developers, ML and AI experts, and those interested in how digital transformation will affect their jobs and their firms



What you'll learn

  • Discover how ML and AI are beginning to affect the economy and the workforce of the future
  • Explore the new skills and jobs driving digital transformation and how likely they are to affect the future of the economy
  • Learn how the emergence of new software skills and tools will affect competitiveness and business success of firms


Robert Cohen discusses the skills that employers are seeking from employees in digital jobs, linked to the new software hierarchy driving digital transformation. Robert describes this software hierarchy as one that ranges from DevOps, CI/CD, and microservices to Kubernetes and Istio. This hierarchy is used to define the jobs that are central to data-driven digital transformation.

Istio-linked positions, based upon case studies and an analysis of job postings, require a complex set of skills because they insure that AI and ML models run and scale efficiently. These “extended skills” are described by senior managers as knowing the details of technologies within all the layers of the software hierarchy. They occur because these jobs manage not only data platforms but also data infrastructure.

Robert outlines the main steps in this analysis. First, he examines the competencies with new software and tools that enterprises want when they hire professionals for the software part of their digital ecosystems. These ecosystems create the software that runs AI and ML models. Second, he explores the growth of positions that possess the key skills and tools at each level in the software hierarchy. Based on an analysis of firm cases, he describes the new groups of skills, not single skills, that will improve enterprises’ productivity. Third, he details the relationship between the software hierarchy and a similar hierarchy of data-analysis skills, paying special attention to new ML engines that can automate some of the higher-level functions in the machine learning hierarchy. These include Amazon’s SageMaker, Salesforce’s Einstein, SAP’s Leonardo, SparkCognition’s Darwin, and’s ML solutions. Fourth, he provides roadmaps offering several different scenarios for the growth of the skills he’s identified in the software hierarchy and the related data analysis hierarchy. Finally, he examines some of the growth forecasts for ML-related positions based on his analysis of emerging new jobs and skills and examines their economic impact.

Join in to gain a new view of digital transformation and how it will affect work in the future.

Photo of Robert Cohen

Robert Cohen

Economic Strategy Institute

Robert Cohen is a senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, where he is directing a new study to examine the economic and business impacts of machine learning and AI on firms and the U.S. economy.