Help Wanted: Must Be Curious

Steve MacLaughlin | NTEN.orgnten_logo

Over twenty years ago, I was convinced that law school was my future. Then I learned how to write HTML and design websites, and my career path went in a very different direction. There are moments in time when opportunities arise and you just have to take them. I firmly believe we are witnessing another one of those moments of opportunity for people working in the nonprofit sector.

We live in a time when data and information are changing how we work and are amplifying the results. For nearly two years now, I’ve been researching and writing about how people in the nonprofit sector are using data to drive real change. What I found along the way is explored in the new book Data Driven Nonprofits.

It is clear from talking with lots of nonprofit professionals that understanding and using data is one of the most important skills that you can possess today. And there is little doubt that data literacy and data science are also valuable skills for the future, too.

Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google, once said, “The sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians. People think I’m joking, but who would’ve guessed that computer engineers would’ve been the sexy job of the 1990s?” This is a good prediction, but does it mean we all need to be trained statisticians?

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